Each spring, parents face one of the biggest decisions they can make for their child’s future: What school environment will their child will spend about 1,000 hours in next year?
Making that decision with confidence starts with knowing what options you have; you may have more school choices than you realize! Understanding these options can help you find a school where your child grows and learns to the best of their ability. Delaware families can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.
Most children in Delaware (and in America) attend traditional public schools. Traditional public schools are free to attend, open to all students, operated by school districts, and funded by federal, state, and local government. Each year, Delaware spends an average of $15,009 per public school pupil.
Delaware has unrestricted open enrollment for public school. What this means is that you can send your child to any public school in Delaware, regardless of where you live or where the school is located. You can take advantage of this valuable option by visiting multiple public schools near you and discovering which is the best fit for your family. Traditional public schools aren’t all the same: They may differ in learning methods and one may just “feel different” than another to you.
Families have another public school choice in charter schools; these are tuition-free public schools that have extra freedom to innovate with earning methods. Sometimes charter schools are compared to sailboats; they not built to serve as many as people as luxury liners are, but it is easier to adjust the sails and change directions with the wind. The innovations charter schools offer can complement traditional public school’s stability. Delaware has more than twenty active charter schools, you can find a list of them here.
Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves, whether that be providing a language immersion program or offering a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system is usually used to determine admittance.
Magnet schools are free public schools that allow kids to narrow in on a specific learning track, such as engineering or the performing arts. At a magnet school, all the subjects are taught through the lenses of that specific track. Delaware has a few magnet schools scattered throughout the state; this could be a great option if there is one near you and your child learns best by focusing in on a subject they are passionate about.
You can also choose private school! Private schools come in all shapes and forms, from schools that help pass on a family’s faith tradition to schools designed for children with special needs. Delaware has more than 25 private schools that parents can choose from.
You probably know that private schools are nonpublic schools that charge tuition. But did you know that, effective in 2018, the federal government allows parents to save for K-12 private school tuition using tax-preferred 529 savings accounts? Unfortunately, in Delaware there are no state-run scholarship options for private schools, but private scholarships may be available.
Whether your child wants to accelerate learning or needs a quieter, anxiety-free environment in which to focus, you may be interested in trying virtual school. Most states have free online school options, but Delaware does not at this time. Paid options are available though.
Delaware parents can also choose homeschooling, the process of parents educating students at home. Homeschooling is permitted in all 50 states. You can find a great how-to about Delaware homeschooling at Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s state page. You can also check out the Department of Education’s homeschooling page or Tri-State Homeschool, Inc.
National School Choice Week 2021 will take place January 24 –30, 2021. We encourage all schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals to join the celebration. Click here for ideas, inspiration, and more information!
Delaware celebrated National School Choice Week 2020 with a record-breaking 154 events and activities across the state. Click the button below to learn more about school choice in Delaware.
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