I'm looking for thoughts on how to evaluate public schools. In California (where I live), the main numeric evaluation seems to be the API scores. I'm wondering what else is important to look for when deciding what school our kids should go to. Is it possible to visit schools before the kids are enrolled there? Also, a kid's experience can largely be driven by their teacher. How much input can a parent usually have in what teacher their kid gets? And how do you get to know the teachers before going there? Thanks!
I think it is terrific that you are interested in learning more about a school than the test scores! Visiting a school and asking questions are very important ways to learn more about what is a good fit for your child and your family. The more information you have, the more informed decision you can make. Starting to think "outside the box" of test scores may help...for instance, how structured of an environment does your child need? How close to home do you want the school to be?<br />
Education.com has many articles that will help with a school visit, like what to look for when visiting schools, the right questions to ask, etc. Check out the "Types of Schools" section: http://www.education.com/reference/typesofschools/<br />
Usually it is close to impossible to "choose" your child's teachers, however one thing to look for or ask a school is how long the teachers have worked there. Teachers who come and stay often enjoy the school and the school enjoys them (or the kids and parents do!).<br />
Hope this helps, what a great question!<br />