choosing the best school for your child

Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child


How can you pick the best school for your child? Whether you are choosing a private or public school or homeschooling, whether you are paying tuition, careful planning is important. The following steps have questions for you to consider before selecting a school. Remember, you are looking for a school that will make the educational experience for your child as rewarding as possible.

Here are the 3 steps for selecting a school for your child:-

1- Gather more information about schools

If you were looking to buy a car or home appliances, you talk to friends and family and find information from the Internet or in other published resources. Similarly, when investigating for schools, you may also have to make phone calls to your known ones, collect written material from different schools and looking for reports in your local newspaper to get the right information you need. You can check public school report cards and go to the parent fairs and school open houses.

Curriculum

  • Does the school have special focus on a particular curriculum?
  • Does the school offers the challenging courses such as Advanced Placement, and high school attractive courses?
  • If your child has special learning requirements, does the school have a special curriculum and the necessary supports to appropriately accommodate those needs?
  • Does the school have a durable program of essential academic subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science, arts, and other foreign languages?
  • What courses does the school offers in addition to the core subjects?
  • What indication is there that the school is effectively teaching students to read?
  • Does the school provide enhancement opportunities for all students?
  • Does the school have extra-curricular activities of your choice?
  • Is there an effective English language success program for children who need it?

Approach to learning

  • Is the school staff are able to connect in the language that your child understands?
  • Are children with limited English language skills, the learning disabilities, or some other special needs of learning and performing well on their tests?
  • What is the homework policy of school? Does it match with your expectations for how much homework your child should do at once?
  • Does the school have a specific approach to teaching and learning?
  • If yes, do you think your child will enjoy and learn from this type of approach?
  • Does the school provide opportunities for children to get extra help when they need it from them?
  • How large are the classes?
  • Do you want your child to go to a single sex school (all-boys school or all-girls school) school, or a coeducational school?

Safety

  • Is the school safe for your child?
  • How is the school relationship with the local police?
  • Is there a police officer available on duty during school hours and for extracurricular activities?
  • What kind of information is available on serious crime in the school?
  • How does the school notify parents about emergency closings of school? How does the school connect with parents in other languages?
  • How does the school avoid and handle problems with alcohols, drugs, and tobacco?
  • How does the school prevent and handle the violence, harassment, bullying and other kinds of abusive behavior?
  • What actions does the school take to ensure safety? What security measures are taken in a first place?
  • Does the school have an emergency plans for local and national of kind emergencies?
  • What does the school do to ensure that parents and all school administrators to know the emergency plans?

2- Consider your child and your family

Location of school

  • Does your child want to be in same school with his or her known friends?
  • Do you want your child to go to a school near your home? Near you work area? Near any close relatives?
  • Do you want your child to go to a school within a walking distance of your home to school?
  • Can your child’s talents be developed outside your neighborhood?
  • How far are you willing to have your child to have a school bus?
  • How far are you willing to drive with your child from home to school?
  • Does your child want any special transportation that must be considered while choosing a school?

Your child’s learning style

  • Is your child interested in musical or artistic?
  • Does your child like to learn in group of students?
  • Does your child like to work alone?
  • Does your child learn best from seeing, how the things work?
  • Does your child like to learn through any kind of physical activity?
  • Is your child logical or mathematical?
  • Does your child learn best by reading about how something works?
  • Does your child like and learn best by listening?
  • Does your child like to participate in any kind of discussions?

Your child’s needs

  • Does your child have any kind of special learning needs?
  • Does your child need any environment that adopts creativity?
  • Does your child like or need more challenging work?
  • Does your child need more specific attention?
  • Does your child is interested and need on English language acquisition program?
  • Does your child want a more organized environment?
  • Does your child need a less organized environment?
  • Does your child generally need extra help from anyone or taking more time to complete an assignment?

3- Visit and observe schools

Contact with the schools that you are interested in and make an appointment for a visit. If it is possible, plan your trip to the schools during regular school hours and visit some classes as well. Avoid visiting schools during the first or last week of a term in order to get an accurate sense of how the school operates.

A good way to have your questions answered is to schedule your appointment with the school principal or any senior teacher. If possible, attend an open house programs, attend parents-teachers meeting, or any other school function that would provide you the valuable information about the attitude of school staff, students, and parents.

Reputation of school

  • How is the school observed in the community?
  • How is the school noticed by other parents?
  • Is the school respected by any other schools?
  • Has the school won any awards yet?
  • Do people move towards the community to go to the school?
  • What do the past students of the school say?
  • Have graduates from the school made important assistances to the community and their field of their choice?

Culture

  • Is the school secretary helpful and friendly by nature?
  • Is the school organized and neat & clean?
  • What do the school bulletin boards look like?
  • How does the school communicate with students and parents (by weekly/ by monthly newsletter, e-mail, Web site)?
  • Do the students appear to be polite, happy, and well disciplined?
  • If school staff has a welcoming attitude toward all parents?
  • How are the students with various learning needs (e.g., students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency) are treated?
  • Do the teachers appear to be helpful and friendly?

Principal

  • What is the principal’s philosophy about education in school?
  • What is the principal’s attitude toward discipline in school and education?
  • In what types of extracurricular activities is the principal most interested?
  • What is the principal’s reputation in the school community?
  • Is the principal usually available at the school and available to talk to parents when they need?
  • Does the principal get to know the students well?
  • How often does the principal observe the school teachers?
  • What does the school do to keep the good teachers and improve teacher’s performance?
  • How does the principal able respond to parental concerns/complaints?
  • According to the principal, what are the school’s strengths?
  • According to the principal, what are the school’s weaknesses?
  • According to the principal, where can the school have to improve?

Teachers

  • How do teachers grade students’ work?
  • Do teachers have high expectations for all students to achieve high academic standards?
  • How do teachers inform the students of their own expectations?
  • Do teachers share the course content and objectives with parents from time to time?
  • When and how commonly are teachers available for parent conferences?
  • Do teachers assign homework to students on daily basis? Is it difficult? Frequent? Sufficient?
  • Are the teachers highly qualified to teach in their subject areas that they are specialized (do they know the subjects that they are teaching)?
  • Do teachers have the skills and enough knowledge to observe students with special learning needs?
  • Are specialized staff available to address the special learning needs of a school children (e.g., speech analyst, psychologist or aides)?
  • Do the teachers know all the individual students in their classes?
  • Are teachers willing to provide extra help to the students?
  • What is the school’s policy regarding teacher’s response to parent inquiries and concerns?
  • Do teachers have their websites with individual class notes and other information?