Questions for a School

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Considering sending your child to a school of choice, private school or other educational option? Arm yourself with these questions to ensure you make the right decision.

The basics

  • Do teachers have high expectations from students?
  • Are students engaged and busy?
  • Do the teachers connect with their students?
  • How does the school’s "report card" check out? (You should be able to find out the following: students’ scores on state tests, broken out by student subgroups; how many students performed at the "basic," "proficient" and "advanced" levels on the tests; and graduation rates.)
  • Does the school have a strong program of core academic subjects, such as English, history, mathematics, science, arts and foreign languages?
  • What courses does the school offer in addition to the core subjects?
  • What evidence is there that the school is effectively teaching students to read?
  • Does the school have a special focus or theme for the curriculum?
  • Does the school offer challenging courses?
  • Does the school provide enrichment opportunities for all students? For gifted or special-needs students?
  • Does the school have extracurricular activities that support what is taught? Can all students participate?
  • If your child has special learning needs, does the school have a curriculum and the necessary supports to appropriately accommodate those needs?
  • What is the homework policy? Does it match your expectations for how much homework your child should do?
  • How large are the classes?
  • What does the school do to help develop character and citizenship?
  • What is the discipline policy? How does the school handle students who misbehave?
  • What measures has the school taken to ensure safety? What security measures are in place?
  • What extracurricular activities does the school offer after school or on weekends?
  • What interscholastic activities are available to students?
  • What intramural activities are available to students?
  • What activities receive the most attention and resources?
  • Do students have access to computers and to the Internet in the classroom and library?
  • Is use of the Internet monitored?
  • Is there a cafeteria, and does the school offer a nutritionally well-balanced lunch program? Breakfast program?
  • Is supervised before- and after-school care offered?
  • Are there tutoring programs?

Questions for private schools

  • What is the tuition?
  • Is there a payment plan?
  • Is there a sliding scale for tuition, based on parish, church affiliation, or family income?
  • What are the other fees and expenses (room and board, uniforms, books, transportation, lab and computer fees, activity fees)?
  • What scholarships and loans are available?
  • Are students or their parents required to be of a particular faith?
  • Does the school have a policy on student participation in religious instruction and worship?
  • Does the school close for religious and federal holidays?
  • Does the school have the same schedule as the local public school?
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