If your child is approaching school age or you are moving, choosing among local elementary schools is an important part of the process. Not all areas allow for choice, but most allow some flexibility in placement. Picking a good school can make your child a scholar for life. Looking online or in the yellow pages, you will find numerous local elementary schools. Depending on the size of your current or new community, you may find from five to fifty local elementary schools listed. Which one is right for your child? How can you decide where to place him or her? Not all local elementary schools are the same. Some are in new buildings; others appear run-down. But appearances can be deceiving. The question is how the school is rated by the state and what their special programming is. Not all local elementary schools offer music, art or foreign language. Some local elementary schools have many extras such as instrument instruction, extra science activities or a fine arts curriculum. Some local elementary schools offer a dual language instruction program. As you look for a new home or apartment, you will want to consider the placement of the local elementary schools. Online, you can find the school system site and you may find a map of local elementary schools. Some school sites have a place to enter an address and find which local elementary schools you are zoned for. Sometimes there is just one choice. However, some cities are flexible in allowing parents to choose local elementary schools within a certain radius of their home. Magnet schools, for instance, often provide special curriculum that attract students all over the city. These local elementary schools require parents to apply in advance. If you are new in the area and missed the application deadline, ask to apply anyway. Most expect some out-of-town applications to come in during the summer.