Guidance in Education & Learning 
Search: SchoolsColleges

June 23, 2024 Follow TrueSchools on Twitter
Resources / K-12 / Finding & Evaluating Schools for Your Child

Finding & Evaluating Schools for Your Child

By True Schools Staff

Picking the right school for your child is an important and often difficult decision to make. The consequences can have life-long implications, and knowing that can add more pressure to an already difficult task. Below are some questions and ideas to help you identify prospective schools, evaluate each on its merits and staff, and pick the one school that best fits your child's needs and aspirations.

Be Open Minded

Many parents have pre-conceived ideas when they think of public, private, charter or magnet schools. The reality is there are schools of the highest caliber and of the lowest in each of these categories, so try to avoid making any assumptions based on a school's public/private/charter/magnet label. You may be surprised at what you find when you place all the schools available to you on the table.

The Curriculum

Try to find a well-balanced program that will pose academic, physical and social challenges. All of these strands need to be evident throughout the entire school, so make sure you ask the school's principal about the different projects your child can look forward to taking on, how involved he or she will be in the school's community, which sports he or she can take part in, and what the drama and music programs are like. Try to take a look at the displayed artworks, as well, to find out more about the school's curriculum.

The Principal

What is the relationship like between the students and their principal? Do children ignore him/her completely or do they smile whenever they see him/her? Good principals should know each and every child's name, and are also caring and approachable. How many principals has the school had in the past 10 or 20 years. This can say a lot.

Principals are supposed to offer leaderships and inspire children and their peers. Ask yourself if you were inspired after meeting him/her. You can probably be sure your child will feel the same way.

The Teacher-Student Relationships

Take a look around. Are the children enthusiastic and content? Do the teachers just sit there and supervise the children or do they have real relationships with them? How do the teachers showcase the children's work? Are they displayed with real pride, and do they truly highlight each project's essence?

The Student-Teacher Ratio

The best schools usually have 20 or feweer children in each class, plus extra help for certain classes and activities, like special education. Other schools also provide an extra teacher for the first few years of school, so that the ratio is cut down by half. This isn't always a necessity, but it would be a good bonus for students in elementary school or younger.

The School's Support System

What happens at the school when children have learning issues? Do they have an on-site counselor available? How do they treat children who are advancing too fast or are getting left behind in certain areas? Ask what other staff are available, such as teacher's aides, special needs teachers, nurses, and curriculum development coordinators. Find out what they do with children who have learning difficulties. Schools should always have clear plans when it comes to these things and there should be at least a couple of options.

The School's Culture

At the end of the school day, watch the children's families. Would you fit in there? If you want your child to go to school there in the long term, then you have to make sure you get along with the other people there.

School's Policies on Discrimination and Bullying

Bullying and discrimination in schools is a major problem, but lot of parents do not bring it up unless their children are already suffering from one of these issues. Ask for a direct explanation on what the school does about bullying or incidents concerning discrimination. Bullying is often present in schools and the effects can last for a very long time. So, if the school doesn't have a strong support system to address it, you won't be able to deal with it effectively if it happens to your child. So, make sure your school of choice has an effective and clear strategy to address bullying.

The Extra-Curriculars

Many schools have after-school activities such as sports, band, chess, etc. If a school goes through the trouble of making these activities available to students, then that is a good sign.

The School, in General

Schools should help children feel independent and unique, and to inspire them to contribute and learn. Is the school grey and dull? Is every class chaotic? Are the students all the same? Is there cultural diversity present? Remember: many of your child's hopes and dreams start in school. Are the halls full of children's artwork? Are the pieces of art unique and individual? Is there a designated playing area for the children once they finish their work?

If you think you have found the perfect school for your child, ask how you can participate as a parent. After all, being involved with your child's school will help him/her succeed and will help you make sure that he meets his hopes and goals there, too.


Newsletter Signup

Signup to receive periodic tips, ideas and news related to education.
Preschool College
Kindergarten University
Elem School Financial Aid
Middle School SAT/ACT
High School Standardized Testing
All Newsletters
*We respect your privacy and will never share your email.
Providing Guidance in Education & Learning
Colleges & Universites
Financial Aid
Free Classes on Video
K-12 Schools

This website provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.

Copyright © 2011-2024 All rights reserved. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy