What to Ask About and Look for During a School Visit (page 3)
Deciding what school is best for your child is an individual choice, but there are some basic questions every family should ask about a school. Before you visit a school, ask for their School Report Card (public schools) or information packet (private schools), where you will find much of this information. Then, review this worksheet and take it along as a guide for what to ask and look for during your visit. (Tip: Make a clean copy of this page for each school you plan to see.)
Questions to Ask
If the school’s Report Card or brochure doesn’t include the information below, ask any or all of the questions below during your school visit. Feel free to add other questions that concern you.
Staff, Services and Communication
Does the school have specialized staff? What days/hours are they available? (Sometimes these professionals serve more than one school.)
Resource Specialist/Special Education teacher
Physical education teacher
Enrichment Programs and Services
What programs are offered? Which activities get the most attention and resources?
Field trips and assembly programs
Homework club/tutoring _______________________
Before- and after-school childcare ________________
Clubs for specific interests/hobbies _______________
Transportation by school bus _____________________
Communicating with Parents
The school communicates with parents through:
Parent-teacher conferences, which take place: _____ at the end of each grading period ______ as requested
Parent-teacher communication (phone/Voicemail, email, written notes)
School website, school newspaper, notices sent home with students
How does the school communicate with non-English speaking parents? ________________________________________________________
Safety, Behavior, and Discipline
The school has an emergency plan (for campus and local/regional/national disasters).
The school conducts emergency training and drills.
A police officer is on campus during school hours and after-school activities.
What is the school's safety record? _____________________________________________________________
How does the school communicate with parents during emergencies (like lock-downs or emergency closure)? ____________________
How does the school send emergency messages to non-English speaking parents? __________________________________________________________
How does the school prevent and address problems with weapons, vandalism, etc.? ____________________________________________________________
Behavior and Discipline
How does the school:
Teach students become good citizens? _________________________
Enforce the dress code? Are uniforms required? _______________________
Handle students who misbehave? _________________________
Prevent and manage bullying, harassment, and drug/alcohol abuse? Are there programs and policies? ______________________________________
What to Look for During Your School Visit
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Below is a list of things to look for during your school visit. Jot down your impressions, and add comments as you see fit.
Facilities, Inside and Out
are clean and well-organized.
The desks, white boards, and multimedia equipment are in good condition.
Cafeteria and vending machines offer healthy meals and snacks.
Has current, well-maintained books and other materials.
Has computers and Internet access (with filtering/monitoring).
Is clean, organized, well-lit, and quiet enough for studying.
The buildings look safe and well-maintained.
The buildings are accessible to people with physical disabilities.
Playground and playing fields (and sports/play structures) look safe and well-maintained.
Note any concerns here: _________________________________________________________________
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