GUEST VIEW: Tip your hat for choice in public education

By Daily News • Last Updated 2:43 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Victoria Simon

Victoria Simon

Football players strap on helmets, Jewish men put on yarmulkes, chefs wear tall white hats, cowboys don their Stetsons and hard hats protect construction workers. Hats serve many different purposes including completing specific tasks and cultural symbolism. Most of the time I don’t wear a hat at all during my everyday activities.

The purpose of an elementary school is to learn basic knowledge and skills to reach the next level of education. Choosing to attend a traditional public school is like walking around without a hat. For most students, most of the time, this is a suitable choice. The public schools in Montcalm County have very dedicated teachers who work hard to meet the needs of the students in their classroom. For the students whose needs are not met or whose families desire cultural knowledge or experience in a specific field, it is beneficial to have options.

There are a variety of public and private schools in the United States, including a lot of choice right here in Ionia County. There are traditional public schools, Catholic and other Christian private schools, public charter schools, home school educators and virtual public charter schools. This is very exciting since there are an estimated 49 million students in the United States who do not have a choice on where to attend public school. Just as not every hat fits every occasion, not every school fits the needs of every student. National School Choice Week recently passed. It was a time to acknowledge a parent’s right to choose.

Gov. Snyder has a plan for public education in Michigan to be available to kindergarten through adult students “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” so the choice in Michigan is expected to increase. There are charter schools in Michigan with missions based on Arabic culture, high academic achievement, technology, African culture, character education, strict discipline, the environment and the arts. There are blended learning and virtual learning options for families that want a lot of flexibility in their child’s education.

Threshold Academy in Orleans serves students in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

“The mission of Threshold Academy is the education and social development of children who will most benefit from a nurturing program based on the individual needs of the child.”

This means Threshold Academy is like putting on a warm, snuggly knit cap in the winter. Educators at Threshold work with students who have trouble paying attention or need a lot of repetition and support to learn successfully. Threshold Academy teaches students to be respectful, be responsible, be safe and be learners.

Wherever a family chooses to educate their children, it is important to remember that it is a conscious choice and that there are options, even in this area. Selecting the best school for your child is not the same as choosing a hat for fashion but more like protecting your child or preparing for the future. What do you want for your child? Select the school that fits your child the way you select a hat to meet your needs. Help your children succeed by caring about their education, supporting their teachers, assisting them with their homework and encouraging them to do their best. There is a saying, “So many hats but only one head.” But according to LaPaloma Hats, “With the right hat, nothing else matters.”

With the right school, your child’s future matters.

Victoria Simon is the principal of Threshold Academy. Threshold Academy is an elementary charter school created to serve students in Ionia and Montcalm counties who need a nurturing environment. The school is operated by EightCAP Inc.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.

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