Things to consider when choosing a school -
The variety of choices available today can make this choice seem complicated. Your child probably has more school options to attend than you did while growing up. Many neighbourhoods have local neighbourhood public schools. Knowing where to find out information about these schools can help your family make a good choice. You want to find a school in which your child can learn, grow, and develop their own potential. This all has to happen in a caring, safe environment that will meet much more than your child's basic needs.
Here are some other things to get information while choosing a school for your child:
Ask What Standards and Curriculum the School Follows
This question is particularly important to ask at schools of choice Public schools, across the nation have shifted to more rigorous standards. Standards are the specific skills that are taught at a particular grade level. The curriculum includes the materials and methods used to teach the skills. If you don't have a teaching degree you can still get an idea of how well the school is teaching high standards. Look at the work and assignments that students are doing at the school. In particular, look for assignments that emphasize thinking and analyzing more than just memorization of answers.
Research the School Online First
Researching a school online before your visit will help to answer many standard questions. Once you know about test scores, reported class size, and rankings, you can move on to asking questions during your visit that will help you to really understand the school.
Ask What Transportation Is Available to and From School
Transportation options can vary wildly between different schools and districts. Many schools of choice do not provide busing to students, leaving parents on the hook to carpool, and older students to walk. Public schools may not provide busing to students who live near the school, believing that those students can walk. While some public schools may accept students living outside of their normal boundaries, these students are rarely provided busing. Check to see what transportation is available to your family, and how it would work with your daily schedule. It is a good idea to make sure that you have a backup plan in case your child's main mode of transportation cancels out.
Learn What Extracurricular Activities Are Offered
Check out what activities are offered outside of the regular school day. Extracurricular activities and clubs provide your child with a chance to explore things that aren't part of the regular school day. They can provide a high-interest activity to keep your child motivated to attend school.
Explore the Condition of the Campus
Does the building appear well cared for? Is the playground equipment in good condition? If not, what are the plans to repair or improve the school? The condition of the building combined with the way the people in the school treat the building will let you know if the students and staff respect and care for the school. If a school is older and in need of updating, asking about the efforts being made to repair the building will let you know more than just what the current appearance will tell you.
Ask What School Library Access Is Available
School libraries provide reading choice to school children. School libraries often check out books to their students. In-school librarians often have specific knowledge of what teachers class lessons are, and can even provide more targeted recommendations based on the relationships they are able to build with students. If the school does not have a library, you may find that you will need to spend more time helping your child locate books and resources needed for school reports and projects. Expect to take your child to the city library to find books, or to spend more time at home helping your child find resources on the internet.
Learn What Ways Parents and Family Can Be Involved
Do you see parents volunteering in the classrooms? Is there a parent lounge or other places in the school for parents to meet? Are their bulletin boards to keep parents connected with the latest school news? There are many ways for parents to be involved with their children's education—be on the lookout to see what the involvement is like at a school.
After the Visit
Even if you did not have the chance to check out everything listed, you probably have plenty of information about the school. Remember - you are looking to see how well the school will meet your child's needs. If you feel that the school your child will be attending needs improvement, there are ways you can help. Above all, continue being an involved parent so your child will have the support they need to be successful.