Ramirez: Follow your heart, and you will find the perfect Eagle County school for your family (column) | VailDaily.com

Ramirez: Follow your heart, and you will find the perfect Eagle County school for your family (column)

Carlos Ramirez, Ed.D.
Valley Voices

When it comes to selecting the best school for your children, you, the parents of Eagle County, have so many amazing choices.

Our district has dynamic public, charter and private schools; each offers a personal and unique educational experience for children. That means parents face tough decisions. Selecting the right school for families depends on many factors, but the bottom line is that you should select the school(s) where you feel your children will thrive, feel safe and be happy. But how do you find the right school for you and your family?

Eagle County Schools offer a variety of innovative and successful programs up and down the valley. Would you like your children to be bilingual and biliterate? We have several schools that offer bilingual programs. Would you like your children to be in a vibrant STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) program, with hands-on applications weaved throughout the curriculum? How about a full International Baccalaureate program that teaches children, among other concepts, that there just might be more than one answer to any given problem. What about a program that artfully connects learning with adventure and challenging and meaningful work? This is expeditionary learning. Or how about a program that allows winter sports athletes to pursue their passions for skiing and snowboarding while aspiring to become Olympians?

We have all of these, as well as literacy-focused schools, which promote higher-order thinking and character education. How about high schools that are designed around what students need to be successful, be it a vocation, a trade or dreams of the Ivy League?

The truth is, every school in Eagle County has something amazing to offer, but having variety and choice alone is not necessarily enough to select the best school for your children. So what creates the tipping point?

I firmly believe that 90 percent of all learning is emotional, and that's what your choice comes down to. Odds are, most students will not remember what specific courses they took, what grades they got or how many awards they earned in school. What all students will remember, however, is how their teachers, support staff, administrators and peers made them feel.

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A positive school culture is infectious. When a child feels he or she can do anything, because the school empowers them to do so, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. An empowered mind knows no limit.

As an Eagle County resident, selecting the best school for your family is a wonderful challenge. I encourage you to visit schools, talk with the teachers, administrators and support staff, as well as other parents and students in that school population and soak in the culture of each site you visit.

Follow your heart, and you will find the perfect school for your family.

Carlos Ramirez, Ed.D., is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at carlos.ramirez@eagleschools.net.