Bromwell PTA is hosting its annual expo-style Middle School Options Night on Wednesday September 13 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Traditional DPS, Charter and Denver-based independent schools will be available to distribute information and answer questions.

Although the event is open to the school, the night is strongly recommended for parents of 3rd – 5th grade students – AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR 4TH GRADE FAMILIES. Here are some points generated from our 4th grade teachers, as well as from parents, about why understanding choices as early as 3rd and 4th grade can be helpful:

Getting acclimated to the options as a 3rd grade parent can help you feel more in control of the middle school choice experience, and it can help you lead your 4th grader’s experience. Fourth grade students will come home with information from the playground about where the siblings of other students are going, and the perceived “pros/cons” of those schools. Some 4th graders will want to start touring schools. There are so many possibilities, it can be more calming to start 4th grade with a narrowed playing field and a better grasp on what your kiddo might be hearing about.

Given how busy the 5th grade fall experience is, 4th grade can be a good time to start a dialogue with your student and to tour some schools. Additionally, it can be very helpful to learn about possible early admission requirements. Certainly at independent schools, but even in DPS public/charter schools, there are situations where tests/auditions are required, and where enrichment courses/tutoring during the summer between 4th and 5th grade can help strengthen applications. (Denver School of the Arts requires that students audition in the fall of their 5th grade year, and submit established portfolios.)

Just a note not to wait until the end of your student’s 4th grade year to look for tours. Historically, many schools stop tours in March, right before testing. If you’re interested in getting a grip on possibilities before your student enters 5th grade, be sure to look at tour schedules now and figure out what will work for your calendar.

Starting Fifth grade with a plan for middle school choice can take a significant amount of stress out of the equation – for you and your student (and any teachers/coaches that might need to help you by providing references etc.). Fall of your student’s 5th grade year is when your family will be in the thick of it. Not only is it a big year academically/emotionally, but DPS choice applications need to be submitted by January. Back that out and, with the holidays, you’ll likely want tour/shadow days completed by November, so that your decision/ranking plan can be mostly structured before the New Year arrives. If you’re applying to independent schools, your timeline is likely to be even tighter. There is a lot to do between September and November. Our hope is that families leave this event with a good understanding of the application requirements for each school, their tour/shadow opportunities, and the application deadlines.

Getting informed now can make the process less stressful and more successful!

Happy Navigating!

Bromwell PTA