According to New Visions for Public Schools an effective school has a challenging instructional program that provides equal opportunities to learn and empowers every student to receive the "Best Education Possible". That brings us to tip #74.
Tip #74: The School's Curriculum Should Stretch the Imagination and Creativity of Students.
The entire school community meets individual student needs, and addresses any instructional challenges for advancement or remediation. All students are important and should feel safe in asking questions and in a learning environment. Does your child's school meet these criteria?
Questions to Ask or Things to Do:
1. Does your child have choices when doing a project? This will keep a child excited about completing and doing his/her best work. Choices give a child a sense of empowerment in a school setting.
2. Does your child get a chance to work ahead or go back and review if it is needed. Advanced students must be challenged and struggling students must go back in order to master needed skills.
3. Does your child talk about what they learned in school? If not, ask your child while driving home or at dinner. Try to sit down at the kitchen table and eat dinner together every evening. It is a good way to keep communication open. It is not unusual for children to say they didn't learn anything at school, but when the curriculum is interesting and challenging many students will want to talk about what they learned.
4. Does your child feel comfortable in asking questions or asking for help? This means at school and home. So many times students feel like they are not smart if they ask questions. Make sure you let your child know it is alright to ask questions or don't know all the answers. Encourage them to question within reason.
5. Do the children at your child's school work on group projects and work in cooperative learning groups? This teaches children to work with other peers and how to contribute and communicate in a group setting. Employers are looking for people who are team players. Too many people are unable to share ideas and work for the advancement of the team.
6. Does the school have individual or small group instruction, so every child's needs are met? Gifted children will become bored or restless if they are not challenged and struggling children will become frustrated or a behavior problem if they don't understand instruction.
To read more on effective schools go to http://www.newvisions.org/ .