"If you had asked us a few years ago if we ever planned on moving out of Conway, we would have probably said a strong 'No!' My husband works in Conway. Our church is in Conway. All of our friends and community were in Conway. So naturally, when our kids started school, we sent them to the public school in Conway.
We discovered pretty early on that the elementary school where our kids were enrolled was not going to be a good fit long term for our specific needs and desires. We have four kids, two of which were in school at the time. We just couldn’t see our kids excelling for the next ten to fifteen years in that particular school district.
A core value of ours is an education environment that cares for the whole child. As we researched and looked around, we found a different public school in a neighboring town that we felt would be a much better fit. But since we were not in the district, we would have to apply for the lottery for each of our kids every year, with no guarantees that there would be room.
After a lot of prayer and consideration, the only way we felt we could guarantee our kids had the education we wanted for them was that we had to move. Because of the timing, the process was incredibly stressful. Though our house was being built, we didn’t have official residency in Wooster. The Conway school board had to meet with the Wooster school board to deliberate and decide on whether or not we could transfer there.
Fortunately, we were able to put the work into getting our two oldest enrolled in Wooster. Now that we have officially moved, the headache of that process is done. But it took deliberate work from committed parents who had the resources and time to do it. Not everyone who would benefit from a different school has the means to move or the support system to be able to show up to school board meetings.
Our children are now thriving in a way we had only prayed for before moving. There is an integrated support system that cares for the whole child and a culture of fun learning. My husband and I are so grateful that, despite all the hurdles, everything ended up working for us. But we know that is an opportunity that others in Arkansas don’t always have.
And this is why higher flexibility, fewer barriers, and more support for school choice matter in Arkansas. I’m so thankful that they recently passed legislation to improve school choice.
Every child is different. One family may really connect with a certain school, whereas another family might value things differently and be drawn to a school in a different district. In the end, the goal is to educate the whole child and school choice makes it easier for parents to decide how that happens."
Arkansan, mom of four, wife of Seth, and public school parent