Schools make options known during National School Choice Week

Whether it’s public, private or alternative schooling, this week, the focus is on education options.

As part of National School Choice Week, area schools want parents to have all the information available so they can determine the best fit for their kids.

Since its beginning in 2011, National School Choice Week has been a nonpartisan effort highlighting the different options parents have for their children’s education.

School officials say now is the time for parents to start considering where to send their children in the fall.

“We’re functioning in an environment of competition, whether we like to agree with that or not,” said Randy Nelson, superintendent for the School District of La Crosse.

Nelson said that heightened competition means schools are trying harder than ever to show off their strengths.

“We’re always looking for more opportunities to personalize, customize and provide more unique opportunities for students and also our families.”

He said offering options such as Coulee Montessori Charter School and the project-based 7 Rivers Community High School keeps parents in the La Crosse School District engaged, and more students are open-enrolling in the district than are leaving.

“As good as the La Crosse school system is, it’s nice to have another option out there,” private school Principal Matt Meitner said.

He said First Evangelical Lutheran School in La Crosse was closed Monday because of the weather, but its hallways are usually full of 110 students, grade levels pre-K 3 through eighth.

“I love the kids. I love working with the kids,” Meitner said. “It’s always an adventure every day.”

Meitner, who also teaches fifth and sixth grade, has three boys of his own who attend the private school.

“For us, the option was important because we have a religious background,” he said.

As Meitner geared up for School Choice Week, he said it’s just important parents know the options are out there.

“A lot of people think they’re going to go wherever their school district tells them they’re going, but they have a lot of options available to them that’s out there, too,” he said. “That’s nice to have.”

Public school open enrollment for the upcoming school year begins on Feb.5th and goes through April.

The private school choice program application period starts in February, as well.

Wisconsin families can also choose homeschooling or online schooling. More information on National School Choice Week can be found here.