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Eugene 4J offers tours ahead of school choice deadline

EUGENE, Ore. -- The deadline is quickly approaching for school choice applications, so Eugene 4J is offering school tours for parents to see their neighborhood schools as well as other schools they're interested in applying to.

"Doing the circuit basically like a lot of the families," parent Erik Steiner said. "We're trying to figure out what the best option is for our child."

Eugene 4J gets more than a thousand school choice requests every year.

"Sometimes it's that they really like a particular program like language immersion. Maybe that's very important to them. In other cases maybe it's that their after school day care or grandmas house is closer to another school," district spokesperson Kerry Delf said.

For example, at Adams Elementary School it's all about art and the environment:

"Adams is a premier green school so we do a lot around earth day and the ideas of sustainability and recycling. We have a really strong arts program called meet the masters that gets kids exposed to a variety of artists," principal Kevin Gordon said.

There are more than 30 schools in the district, and Delf said every one sees transfers in and transfers out.

"We have a kid with special needs medically so that's a key thing that we're asking about," Steiner said.

He has a first grade daughter, and Adams Elementary is their neighborhood school, but he says he's just looking for the best fit for her.

"There's challenges with that and concerns about the system around that but we do find some of the schools that are out of our neighborhood are appealing so we certainly would be open to it," Steiner said.

He said it just comes down to visiting the schools and asking the right questions: "asking about different educational philosophies, finding out how the different classrooms are working, how well the kids are supported from different learning styles and just trying to learn the best we can."

The application deadline for families who live in the district but want to go to an out of neighborhood school is February 28.

After that, out of district parents can apply between March 1 and April 1.

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