The thoughts of rejection enveloped him as a mound of tears soaked his school shirt.  While he breathed between deep sobs, a nurse checked his vital signs. Drenched in sweat as it poured down his body, he writhed in agony face down on her lap.  Alas, the words he spoke to his mom about the toxicity in his school fell away. In fear, Keith lied listless spread out on the cold, harsh industrial floor of the hallway in his school. With anger, he wondered why his mom didn’t believe him. In essence, listening to your children becomes vital to their health and wellbeing, especially when they express their feelings.


Being dismissed by all


First, footsteps of concern squeaked closer. Next, the warmth of bodies encircled him. Lastly, glancing up, Keith felt a safe circle around him. It was testing week in public schools in Louisiana. As always, Keith had another panic attack. This time, it was on the first day of testing.  Hence, he feared the label of unsatisfactory for the third year in a row.


Before fading to black, thoughts raced through Keith’s mind.  He wondered if he would earn better scores this year. Acceptable scores yielded special school rewards.


Eroded confidence inspired change


In elementary school, Keith bounced between the gutters of lowest two ranks on the testing scale. Further down he sunk with no improvement over time.  Although Keith’s mom sought out options for middle school, she had difficulty deciding what to do. But she noticed advertisements for a new school adorned buses all year long.


As the unfamiliarity of charter schools piqued the interest of parents, the hope of something different than traditional schools lifted their expectations of betterment.   The school Keith’s mom chose had book clubs, video game coding classes, and poetry groups along with the standards curriculum. Fun threaded through a long day of learning.  Without much investigating, Keith’s mom enrolled him.


However, once he began attending his new school, things felt oddly familiar to Keith. The emphasis of test scores resurfaced as the pressure for the charter renewal squeezed him.  And, the disappointment of same old same old surrounded Keith every day.


Without any information about school choices, the promise of change lured Keith’s mom to the charter school. Now, broken words reverberated as echoes of the past resurfaced while Keith suffered.  Brokenhearted, Keith’s mom regretted not conducting more research or listening to Keith’s valid complaints.  Once again, Keith’s anxiety skyrocketed, and his depression plunged him deeper down.


Listening to your children validates their feelings.  And, as a result, it also should alert parents to inquire and analyze the situation.



But, how to you evaluate school choices?


7 Decision-Making Steps In Choosing a School




  • Visit the campuses in the day. Tune into the vibe in the school. Are people joyful or miserable? The campus culture sets the tone for the feel of the school. Children sense when faculty is happy or dejected. Hearing what children don’t say amounts to equal importance as listening to your children do say.


  • Go to an open house. Attending open houses give parents information about the structure of the school, staff, and programs offered. When you attend, make sure to have prewritten questions to ask. Also, write down the promises the school makes to parents.


  • Stay involved in the school once a choice is made. Keep the information given at the open house. Follow up on school pledges. Ask questions if what is offered is not implemented.


  • Follow your intuition. If something feels wrong, figure out why. Trust your gut feelings. Listening to you child, and investigate if something is reported at home.


  • Apply for other schools if something isn’t right. If the school misleads or gives false information, find another school. Don’t settle. Your child’s future depends on it.



Remember, your energy and presence to your children creates either trust or mistrust.  Read more about the effects of your energy on your children here:  And, if you know you must change, start now.


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