CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL
Not every school is the best fit for every child. Taking the time to find the best school for your child can make all the difference in his or her academic success.
The best way to find out whether a school is the right place for your child is to visit in person. There's no substitute for seeing the school yourself- you can watch the children, teachers, and get the overall impression of the school. You can ask important questions, see what a typical day is like at a school, and determine if you think the school is a good fit for your child.
Don't know where to start? Do some research - sites like www.greatschools.org and www.privateschoolreview.com. There you can find information about schools in your area: tuition, teacher-to-student ratios, extra-curricular activities, parent reviews and more! Go to our Helpful Links page for more resources.
- Read about the schools you'll be visiting.
- Prepare the questions you will ask when you visit each school - it can help to bring a list with you.
- Talk to other parents of children already at the school.
- Check out the school’s website.
- Observe the school and how the children learn, what the facility looks like, and the general environment.
- Look at standardized test scores.
- What is this school’s educational philosophy or mission?
- How does the school encourage and monitor student progress? What is the approach to student discipline and safety?
- What are highlights of the school's curriculum?
- How is technology used to support teaching and learning?
- What extra opportunities (arts, sports, clubs) are available for students? Is there a cost for these?
- What support is offered to students who have academic or emotional difficulties? What is the cost of these services/programs?
- How does the school keep parents informed about their child, school information, and activities?
- What types of parent involvement opportunities are there?
- What professional development opportunities do teachers have? In what ways do teachers collaborate?
- How does the school help prepare students for their next step (middle school, high school, etc)?
Things To Look For:
- Do classrooms look bright and conducive to learning?
- Do teachers seem passionate about the children/the school?
- Does the principal seem organized, confident, and interested in students, teachers and parents?
- How do students behave as they move from class to class, in the lunch room, and while playing outside?
Widening the Achievement Gap
Research indicates that the gap in standardized test scores between low-income students and their affluent classmates has grown nearly 40% since the 1960s. As the number of low-income children increases, so does the performance gap between them and their peers. Children who are not reading at a proficient level by 3rd grade may never catch up.
Read more about achievement gaps in this National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study: