How to Find a Great-Fit School for Your Child

The 7-day program from the founder of GreatSchools

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Here at Raise Ready Kids, we start by asking you what long-term success looks like. Close your eyes for a moment. When your child is 18, what skills and attributes and do you really them to have? Kindness? Math prowess? Curiosity? Knowledge of history and science? A passion for something? We ask you to dig deep and get clear about this because your vision for your child influences everything that comes later in the school choosing process.

At Raise Ready Kids, we also ask you why you want your child to be well-educated. So they can make a lot of money? Contribute to society? Pursue their own dreams? And we ask you to think about your relationship to your child’s future this way: It’s your child who should decide how they’ll use their gifts to make their way and make a difference in the world. Your job as a parent is to help your child develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths they need so they can do or be anything they want.

So our goal on the first day of this seven day program is to get clear about your fundamental goals.

Your child’s school is going to play a critical role in helping to make your vision for your child a reality. So, on Day 2, we begin to talk about schools and how to evaluate them. Once again, we start with fundamentals: What actually is learning and how does it really happen?

Some parents say schools are stuck in a factory model and they're just making kids memorize a lot of useless stuff and teaching to the test. They want something different: they want their kids to do lots of collaborative projects because creativity and social-emotional skills are what matter most.

Others say, yeah, things like creativity and collaboration are important, but what really matters to them is that their kids learns the basics. Reading, writing, history, science, math — kids need this foundational set of knowledge and skills to be able to survive and thrive, they say.

I'm going to help you sort all this out and I’ll give you a hint here about where we land on this. The really good schools are more similar than they seem on the surface. A school may emphasize project-based learning or emphasize basic knowledge and skills, but in reality — if it’s good — it’s braiding together basic academic skills with social-emotional learning and it’s cultivating creativity and curiosity in sophisticated ways that set kids up for success.

On Day 3, we get into the question of match. Here at Raise Ready Kids, we don’t believe there is one best school out there. We’re looking for the right school for your child and family. And so we have to carefully consider what you want and what you care about. We started thinking about that on the first day and now on day 3 we dive into your child’s unique characteristics, things like their activity level and emotionality and pace of learning and what motivates them. We’ll also talk about your family’s practical considerations, issues like transportation and money.

We use something we call the Raise Ready Kids Child and Family Learning Profile to get clear about all this and then we help you understand how your child’s unique characteristics might influence what kind of school would be best for them.

Along the way, we’ll talk about private vs public school and whether paying for a private school could be a good move, or whether private school might even be counterproductive. I see situations where parents are paying twenty, thirty or more thousand dollars per year and their child would be better served in a free public school.

On Day 4, we introduce you to how admissions works in public and private schools. Public schools are usually pretty simple, but privates are more complicated. I’ll show you how to create your initial list of potential schools tapping your network of friends and using websites like GreatSchools.

On Day 5 we're going to figure out how to narrow down your list to a shortlist of schools you’ll want to visit. Hint: The network of friends you have today and the network you're going to build soon is going to be really powerful for you. But you can’t just ask anyone “what are the good schools?” You need to ask specific questions to the right people.

On Day 6, we’re going to teach you how to visit a school. Now you may think that’s pretty easy...you walk in and see if it looks like the kids are learning and...is it a place your child would be happy. I’m going to tell you right now that it’s really hard to learn about some of the most important aspects of schools on a typical tour. There are tricks to sizing up a school quickly. I’m going to teach you a four-part approach that’s going to enable you to learn much more than most parents learn on tours.

Finally, on Day 7, we’re going to help you learn how to apply and get into a great fit school. Most public school situations are straightforward, but there is a lot you can do in the case of private schools to increase your chances of getting in. To put your best foot forward, you have to really understand the schools you're applying to so you can articulate to the admissions office why you're such a great fit and why they should take you.

So, let me ask you to close your eyes again and imagine your child is 18 years old and ready to walk out of your door. They’re responsible, kind, and they’re totally into what their into — whatever that is. They have the knowledge, skills, and character they need to be anything they want...they could be a banker for Goldman Sachs or they could be an artist and, yeah maybe they’ll be starving for the first few years but then they’re sure to find their way! No matter what they want to do with their future, they’re already an amazing human being and already contributing to to the world around them. How amazing that will be...

At Raise Ready Kids, we’re here to help you get there and we can do that in one of three ways, depending on your budget and needs.

Option 1. For $95, I can teach you what you really need to know to guide your family through this process. You’ll get access to my best insights and ideas gathered over 20 years of helping literally millions of parents find great schools for their children. I’ll provide this to you primarily in the form of seven approximately 15-minute audio files that come to you one per day over 7 days. You also get access to three videos that show you how to research schools online.

If you have questions in the first month, you can email me and I’ll help you get pointed in the right direction. I call this option my Teach Me What I Really Need to Know program.

Option 2. For $345, I’ll help you get started with the process. In addition to everything you get with the first option, we’ll have 2 phone calls, about half an hour each. In the first call, I’ll help you think through what kind of child you have, and what the implications are for the type of school you might want to look for. In the second call, I’ll help you create your list of possible schools and we’ll talk about how to narrow that list down.

With option 2, you can email me with questions for three months. I call option 2 my Help Me Get Started program.

Finally, Option 3, the option I call Walk With Me, an option designed primarily for parents who are applying to private schools and want more help. For $995, we’ll have four phone calls, the two we’ve already talked about and 2 more. On the third call, we’ll talk about how to process what you’re learning as you research and visit schools and on the fourth, we’ll work on your private school applications and prepare you for school interviews. With option 3, I also spend time on my own researching schools for you and editing your draft applications. Bottom line is you’ve got me for four hours to support you through the process and do whatever will be most helpful for you. And I’ll be available for email Q&A with you for a full year.

All three of these programs are fully guaranteed. If, for any reason, you don’t like what you're getting or I’m not being helpful to you, just ask me for a refund anytime within the first 30 days of the program. I’ll give you a refund, no questions asked.

I’m confident you won’t want a refund, though, because I know how powerful this information and support is. These programs don’t just give you a lot of practical help getting through the school choosing process; they also change how you think about learning and schools and what will be best for your child. I guarantee you’re going to get perspective and insight that will bolster your ability to guide and support your child toward a bright future.

Click on the “Enroll Now” button above or below to get a summary of these three options and I’ll see you on the other side!

What Parents Are Saying

My oldest will be starting elementary school in the fall of 2018, which means we are in the midst of looking for a school.

After stumbling through the process of selecting a preschool (and needing to switch after two months), we realized that we needed a different approach to selecting an elementary school. Bill helped us understand that choosing a school is a process of matching. There are no shortcuts. We need to consider our daughter’s temperament and learning strengths as well as our goals for her education. I highly recommend this program to any parent trying to figure out what kind of school will best serve their child.

Vidya Sundaram, Alameda, CA

We’re in the process of choosing an elementary school in San Francisco for our 5-year-old. How to Choose a Great-Fit School has been a godsend.

Bill’s advice about applying to private schools was particularly helpful to us. After going through this program, we recognized we needed to learn more about the schools we are most interested in. He helped us present ourselves to the school more effectively than we would have been able to do on our own.

Xue von Brockdorff, San Francisco, CA

Introducing Bill Jackson

Bill Jackson
Bill Jackson

Hi there. I’m Bill Jackson, creator of Raise Ready Kids and the 7-day How to Find a Great-Fit School for Your Child program.

As the founder of GreatSchools, I’ve spent years learning about schools and helping parents choose schools for their children. I’ve seen hundreds of schools from the inside and learned a lot about what makes some schools better than others. This 7-day program is the culmination of everything I’ve learned about choosing K–12 schools.

A little more about me:

  • After graduating from Yale University, I started my career as a teacher in the U.S. and China. I’ve taught at the elementary, middle school, and college levels.
  • I have 2 high school-age children who have attended 6 different public, parochial, and independent private schools. My oldest daughter is a senior headed to the University of Chicago next year.
  • I founded GreatSchools in 1998 and served as CEO for 18 years. GreatSchools is the nation’s leading guide to K–12 schools, reaching about half of American parents each year.

Plan for the 7 Days

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much time does it take to complete this program?
The program is designed to be completed in one week. For 7 days after you enroll, I'll send you an email with a link to between 3 and 7 audio or video lessons, each of which takes from 2 to 10 or more minutes to complete. The typical day takes 20–25 minutes of your time.
Do I have to do this program in one week?
No. When you enroll in the program, you get immediate access to all 34 lessons. If you want, you can tackle all 34 lessons in a single sitting. Or you can take much longer than a week if you need it. The course will remain available to you for at least one year.
Why are most of the lessons in audio format?
Parents are busy. Audio makes it easy for you to listen while driving or doing something else. Three of the lessons really benefit from visuals and are in video form. The program also includes 4 downloadable documents and access to one electronic spreadsheet.
What if I’m choosing a high school?
While the program is best for families choosing elementary or middle schools, it will also be helpful to families choosing high schools. I recommend that parents share selected lessons with their children when choosing high schools.
When should I do this program?
Ideally, I recommend starting the program during the spring, summer, or early fall of the year before your child will be enrolling in their new school. However, depending on your situation, the program may be helpful anytime before you’ve finished the process and know where your child will be going to school.
You provide "email Q&A support." What do you mean by that?
Shoot me your questions about anything related to choosing schools, and I'll do my best to answer at a high level in a brief email. If you need more extensive advice or support, consider one of my premium packages.
What if I don't like the program?
No problem. Every purchase of How to Find a Great-Fit School for Your Child is protected with a no-questions-asked, 30-day money-back guarantee. It's a risk-free investment on your end.
I still have questions. How do I contact you?
Please send me an email at bill@raisereadykids.com

Give me 20 minutes per day for 7 days, and I’ll show you exactly how to find the right school for your child and family.

When you choose a school, you’re choosing a partner who will help you raise your child. I'll help you get beyond the surface and tackle the most important questions:

  • What do you really want from a school? What really matters to your child’s future?
  • How does your child’s temperament influence what kind of school might be best?
  • What kinds of schools are most effective with what kinds of kids?
  • What are the most important questions to ask about schools when assessing their quality?
  • How can you put your best foot forward when applying to a highly competitive private school?

Experts appreciate the principled approach I take to help parents find the right path for their child.

"Working with GreatSchools, I helped thousands of parents find good schools for their children," says Jodi Goldberg, formerly of GreatSchools. "Parents would always come to me asking, which schools are the best? I would always respond: It depends on what you want for your child.

"With this program, Bill enables parents everywhere to go through the school choice process the right way: First get clear on what you want and then go find a school that gives it to you. I heartily recommend it!"

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