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(Site Photos) PacificElementary100Yr.jpgChoosing the Right School for Your Child


No matter what the level, from preschool to college, choosing a school for your child can be a daunting task. Parents have so many questions that often go unanswered.  Is it necessary to put your unborn child on a waiting list if you want to get them into a good preschool? Must you start prepping your child to get into a good college while they are still in elementary school? Which middle or high school is right for your child?


For every family, there are different expectations, different pressures and different answers, but the key to finding the answer that is right for your child and your family is to educate yourself about what to look for and to ask. Below are some tips and questions on how to go about finding the right school for your child.  If you don't yet live in Santa Cruz County but are looking to move here, visit our links to different school districts in the county.

Here are some tips....
1. Know Your Options: Public, charter, parochial, private or home school, emphasis on arts, music, sciences? Traditional? Experiential? Which suits your child's needs?  Visit in person with the principal/director, spend an hour in a classroom, observe transitions, take notes.

2. Know Your Child. Think about the learning environment that your child works best in as well as their learning style. Do they need more or less structure? Does your child need challenging academics, or extra help? Does your child have any special needs, academically, behaviorally or physically? If your child has a learning disability, is gifted, autistic, or has other special need there are schools that offer specific programs. Take into account your child's learning style as well. You can have your child tested if you wish to find out how your child learns best (auditory, tactile, or visual). Sometimes it can be a simple matter of self-reflection. Is your child a lot like you? How do you learn best? If your child is a lot like you, more than likely they will have a similar learning style. Knowing your child's strengths and weaknesses can also help in determining which school is best. You want to choose a school that will build upon your child's strengths and help overcome your child's weaknesses.

3. Research the Schools. Research the schools you're considering ahead of time. Here are a few highlights:

• Curriculum: You should take a look at the curriculum that the school offers to its students. Does it have an integrated program for those core subjects like literature, grammar, spelling, composition, geography, history, math, and science? What enrichment classes are offered in addition: art, music, chess, French, Spanish, Latin, theater.
• Philosophy: Schools have specific teaching philosophies. Learn more about the philosophies of the schools you're interested in. A school's philosophy is all about the approach used for teaching and learning. Does a school involve students in group projects? What about testing and homework policies? How does the school ensure that each child is learning? When you have information you can decide if your child will benefit from that approach. Children generally do well in a school when a family's expectations and beliefs correlate with those of a school. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions. Schools want a good fit too.
• Location: Obviously, geographical location and age of children are important factors. Figure out how far away or close you want the school to be to your home. You should also take into account the fact that your child's neighborhood friends will likely go to schools nearby. Attending the same schools as neighborhood friends is low on the totem pole of importance if you have other more pressing requirements.
• School & Class Size: A school's size should be appropriate for your child's personality. Larger campuses can be intimidating to some children or exhilarating to others. Class sizes should be small with low student-teacher ratios. We've seen studies that show 15 to be optimal. You'll find higher numbers in certain grades of public and private schools. The best choice of school will be one that allows your child to participate and connect with their teachers on a variety of levels.
• Academic Performance: Check out the school's test scores and compare them with other similar schools. Take a look at the school's report card if you're dealing with a public school or ask school personnel for that information when dealing with a private school. School report cards describe characteristics of the school, including the number of children, various test scores, teacher to student ratios, ethnic profiles, poverty levels, and more. Information and report cards on schools can be found from the Department of Education.
• Behavior Policies & Discipline: Ask how the schools handle student behavior and discipline. What happens when a student misbehaves? Does that answer jive with your personal philosophy with respect to discipline techniques? Other behavior related issues include attendance and dress code policies. Find out the school's general behavior policies and decide if they would work for your child. Ask how a school fosters good citizenship.
• Safety: Find out about the policies and procedures that the school utilizes to ensure student safety on campus. How does the school handle problems with substance abuse, abusive behavior, and emergency situations?
• Special Activities: Ask about extracurricular activities for their students, such as after-school sports, photography clubs, gymnastics, rock climbing. Which activities receive the most attention and resources? Are private lessons offered?
• School Facilities & Services: Visit to see a school's facilities (library, computer center, auditoriums, cafeteria, etc.) and the services provided by school personnel (nursing, counseling, after-school care, tutoring, etc.). Some schools will also have a gifted program for students who need a more challenging educational experience.
• Parental Involvement: Children benefit when parents are actively involved in their education. Find out if the schools work with parents. Can parents volunteer? Is there an active and parent organization? If not are you able/willing to volunteer? Schools that support and encourage parental involvement are often strong schools.
• Admissions: It is important that you begin the process of choosing a school as early as possible. Ask about any deadlines for applying to the prospective schools. Understand the admission requirements (test scores, interviews, recommendations, fees, etc.) for each of the schools you're investigating.

4. Stay involved.

     YOU are the most important influence in your child's life. Your attitude toward school affects your child's attitude. Whether your child attends a small, large, private or public school, parent interest and participation can make a big impact. Your child should know that you communicate with his teacher and that you will find out if she is responsible or misbehaves in class. Talk to your child's teacher and let him or her know that you are committed to raising a respectful child with a love of learning. It's a team effort: parents, teacher and child.

     Keep in mind that choosing a school for your child is not a permanent decision. You may decide to start him at one school for all the right reasons only to find that it falls short of your expectations and is not meeting your child's needs.  No school is perfect, but go in with your eyes wide open and work with teachers and directors to find solutions.  Should you reach a conclusion that a school is a poor fit for your child, go back to your original research and start looking at additional schools. The choice of school should be made with your child's best interests in mind.  One last suggestion: be considerate of the other parents for whom a school is working well.


Above Photo: Pacific Schools 100th Anniversary Celebration, Davenport A Great Place to Start!

Resources for Parents

Preschools and Childcare

Schools, Teachers and Tutors

If your school is missing, tell them about us!




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Events for Your Enjoyment!

See full Calendar for Events Details

Sat, 2/28 5:55pm Star & Moon Viewing, The Santa Cruz Astronomy Club invites you to join them at Bonny Doon Airport. Their emphasis is telescope observing, family participation, and public enjoyment of the wonders of the starry night.

Fri & Sat, 2/27 & 28, 7pm, Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Rio, Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks with amazing big-screen stories!


(Icons/Graphics) lzrsg4_JellyBeans.jpgSat, 2/28 10am-5pm, Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Jelly Belly guides will show you a working candy factory where they cook up over 150 different sweet treats! Learn the secrets about how they create the legendary Jelly Belly jelly bean.


Sat, 2/28 2pm Santa Cruz Symphony, Mello Center
Sun, 3/1 2pm Santa Cruz Symphony, Santa Cruz Civic
THE COLORS OF MUSIC How composers "color" a piece of music by using specific instruments or combinations of instruments is explored by the Santa Cruz County Symphony, led by Maestro John Larry Granger.
WALKER, The Rainbow Sign
RODRIGUEZ, A Colorful Symphony
MONCAYO, Huapango
SOUSA, Stars and Stripes Forever

See full Calendar for Events Details!

(Icons/Graphics) MardiGraMask.jpgFri, 2/27, 6-10pm Spirit of Mardi Gras Auction, Delaveaga Parent Teacher Club, Join the PTC and the DeLaveaga community at the Portuguese Hall for this amazing evening of food, music, and fun. All proceeds benefit the students of our school, $30 per person $50 per couple, 216 Evergreen


Fri, 2/27 & Tues 3/3, 6 pm, Parenting School Age Children, Janis Keyser Communications and Positive Discipline for School-age Children, Community TV

Sat, 2/28, 11am, Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walks, On these two-hour natural history excursions you will explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Meet at the Wilder Ranch interpretive center. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes. Binoculars are available to borrow. Walk is canceled if rain.


Sat, 2/28, 101m-5pm, Steinbeck's Birthday, National Steinbeck Center, Featuring two Bay Area children's authors who will spark the imagination of children of all ages: author and illustrator Kathryn Otoshi, whose books include One, Marcello the Movie Mouse, and What Emily Saw and San Francisco based author Lewis Buzbee, author of Steinbeck's Ghost. Performances by community groups will take place throughout the day and cake will be served in honor of Salinas' Nobel Prize winning author! (Admission for this event is on a pay-what-you-can basis.)


Sat, 2/28, 2pm Old Growth Redwood Walks, State Park Henry Cowell State Park, Enjoy one of California's most scenic hikes on this one hour guided walk through the tallest living things on earth, the coastal redwoods. A park docent will share local lore and ecology about this majestic habitat. This trail is also stroller and wheelchair accessible..

Sat, 2/28, 1-2pm, Wool Spinning & Weaving, Santa Cruz Mission, How did an isolated settlement clothe the hundreds of people who lived there? Find out as well look at the cloth industry of Mission Santa Cruz. We will follow the path of wool from the sheep to the shirt and you will have the chance to your hand at a drop spindle and spin your own piece of wool. Rain or Shine.


Sat, 2/28 & 3/1, 10am-6pm, Auditions for Cabrillo Summer Repertory Season productions of "The Wizard of Oz" and "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change"
Fri, 3/6 3-6pm, A special audition for children ages 11 to 13 will take place in the Cabrillo Theater. For complete information go to


Knitters All Levels

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We meet to inspire each other with new ideas and encourage one another to finish the projects we start. This is about the fun and genuine enjoyment you can receive from meeting new people, showing off your skills to people who will appreciate the effort you put into your projects and getting help from others!


Tuesdays, 5-7pm, Fins Coffee on Ocean Street (just North of Marianne's Ice Cream)
1st & 3rd Thursdays, 5-7pm (closing) Kelly's French Bakery in the Swift Street Courtyard
Saturdays 2-4pm, Kelly's French Bakery in the Swift Street Courtyard near Ingalls Street.
Saturdays 4- 6pm, Caffe Bene on Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz.





Suki Wessling's Blog: Hunt and Peck


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"Another thing I've been wanting to write about in relation to my articles about alternative treatments for behavior problems is Omega-3.


     Omega-3 is a fat found most commonly in fish, but also in a variety of other sources. Ask your parent or grandparent about something they remember from their childhood, and they are likely to remember the awful taste of codfish liver oil. It was common wisdom in the past that kids needed extra oil in their diets. This is an example where "common wisdom" is actually borne out by scientific research. It turns out that modern kids' diets are not only lacking in oil supplements that have gone out of favor; they are also lacking in...  > > > 


Parent Coach: The Prize of The Parenting Village

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     We just finished a stellar coaching call for February in my program, The Closeness You Crave: How to Raise Responsible Kids Who Connect with You! ( What a joy! One parent said, "This is the village we no longer have!" Yes. Whatever happened to the Villages of long ago? Well, they're being replaced by coaching programs, mother's groups, father's groups, home schooling groups, parent forums. It's a marvelous movement and it inspires again my faith in my species.   > > >


(Icons/Graphics) SchoolHouseRed.jpgSchool Corner


Preview 90 Preschools here.

Is your K-12 school Here?

Public School API Scores


Open Houses

Chartwell &

The New High School

2/28, 6-10pm

SC Montessori

2/28, 10am-12pm


3/3, 10am-12pm

GBK 6-12

3/6 9am

Waldorf Kindergarten

3/7, 10am-12pm


3/12, 9-11am

Village Preschool

3/12 2pm

calendar for details



DeLaVeaga Mardi Gras

Auction Fundraiser

2/27, 6-10pm


Public School Districts

Santa Cruz County

Office of Education

Bonny Doon

Happy Valley

Live Oak



Pajaro Valley

San Lorenzo Valley

Santa Cruz

Scotts Valley



Parents and Teachers
Save time!
Keep up with friends!
Get out of the house!
Have fun!

Think of our

Parent Planner as your

"friend-maker and time-saver".

     As you're looking through the Calendar, click on the planner button beside an event you would like to

share with others.

When you've finished choosing events, click on Parent Planner

[in red bar, top of page] and follow directions to send your selected events to yourself, your spouse and friends.

     If you are a teacher, use the parent planner to inform parents about an event.

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Face the Paint

Face Painting by Light Barrett

Pacific School

A Very fine school

Pre-6,  Davenport

Growing Minds


An Excellent Montessori Preschool

Kids on Broadway

Theater for Thespians


Your Backyard


Help Setting Up Your Garden

Santa Cruz

Soccer Inc.

Soccer Fun for Kids

Consulting to Soccer Organizations

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Flower_Bees.jpgLittle People's


We are So Ready

for Spring!

Buzz on over!

Scotts Valley  243 Mt Hermon Rd

Soquel  2601 Main St

Santa Cruz Soccer

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Spring Fun League
DeLaveaga Park
Ages 7-9
Thurs 3:305:30pm
Sun 12-2pm
4/12 - 6/14

Call Mike




*Spring Break Camps

*Summer Camps & Enrichment Classes

*Parent Perks

Capitola Book Cafe

Author Events


Monday 11am

1475 41st Avenue



Fresh Prep


Pick up

an oven ready dinner!

• Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie
• Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

View entire menu

504 B Front St, SC


When to Choose a Tutor

1)  need to catch up or fill in missed steps,

2)  need to learn how to study and organize 

3) a desire to accelerate learning

What to Look For

Look for a program that offers

1) a sequential, integrated curriculum

2) a proven track record

3) an ability to accommodate individual needs

4) Excellent teachers 


Reading and Math


845 Cedar St, SC

Scotts Valley

Tae Kwon Do

Kicking Good Fun

for Moms, Dads, Kids




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5004 SV Dr, SV


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Scotts Valley

"Bark Park"

(Special Event Page Graphics) ClamChowder_1.jpgClam Chowder...
Learn the Secrets to Making
this Delicious Soup
Blackboard Catering,
This Year's 1st Place Winners
of the Boston Clam Chowder Contest

     Clam chowder is one of America's favorite soups. Now is your chance to learn how to make Blackboard Catering's 5-time award winning chowders.

     This exciting demonstration class will walk you through the basics of soup making, with a focus on Boston style clam chowder and a few variations such as Manhattan Chowder and Southwest Corn Chowder.

     You will learn about homemade stocks, mirepiox, roux and basic chopping techniques, while discussing the importance of balanced flavors and textures of soups and stews. We will enjoy a light snack and beverage during the class and will sit-down to eat our chowders near the end of class.
Clint Hughey and Andy Hawley, Blackboard Catering

Culinary Center of Santa Cruz, 504 Front St, Santa Cruz
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Santa Cruz, CA