Making the right choice

LIHUE — National School Choice Week began on Monday and goes through Friday.

Predicated on raising awareness concerning education and school options for parents, this week is about creating a dialogue between schools.

“Families having the opportunity to do what’s best for their child and finding the best school for their child is something that I understand personally,” said Shannon Graves, head of school at Island School. “And I respect that, from an educator’s point of view and also as a parent. As a parent, we’re always looking for the best fit for our child.”

Shelby Doyle, director of communications and external relations for National School Choice Week, said while choosing a school may be complicated, it’s worth it in the long run if a student is put into the right situation.

“On a personal level, it’s intuitive for parents to want the best education possible for their kids. We all know that education determines a lot of possibilities in the future,” Doyle said. “If you’re educated well, you can succeed. That’s the American success story.”

An annual public awareness effort is conducted in January because it’s the best time to start looking for a new school as most open slots will be filled by the end of the summer, according to Doyle.

“This week is to empower parents. They’re in charge of this process,” Doyle said. “The family is interviewing the school, not the other way around.”

The admission process at Island School, Graves said, is founded upon creating an open dialogue with families.

“We want them to know what they’re getting themselves into,” he said.

Island School is a private institution and is one of the few on Kaua participating in School Choice Week.

“I think the public schools here do an excellent job of educating each child,” he said. “When you’re talking about each school district or DOE school, they’re doing the best they can with the resources they have.”

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