Activity: Is This School Right for My Child?
Written by Staff from momshomeroom.msn.com
Before you visit a school, print out this sheet so you know what to look for and what to ask about.
1. The principal. A principal should be available to hear parents' concerns. Does she know the children, staff and even some parents by name?
2. Teachers. Small class size is a nice benefit, but having a talented teacher may be even more important, so look for:
- Group learning
- Differentiated curriculums
- How the teacher handles different students' learning styles
- Hands-on activities
3. Parents. Successful schools welcome parental involvement — not only with the obvious volunteer duties, but with strategic and long-term planning activities, like the work of the Student Advisory Council (SAC), which helps develop and evaluate school improvement plans.
4. Diversity. Children learn about different beliefs, attitudes and traditions from other children. Look for:
- Multicultural awareness in the classroom
- Teachers from various cultural backgrounds
5. High expectations. Not everyone is zoned for a top-tier school, so it's important to know what's being done to make the school better. Ask:
- What happens when a child falls behind? Is there tutoring?
- What do you do with students who excel? Do they have access to above-grade-level materials?
What you can do to improve your existing school:
1. Befriend your child's teacher. Know him and offer to assist with class projects, field trips and preparing class materials.
2. Join a parent-teacher organization. PTOs and PTAs not only raise money, they also harness community resources that can change struggling schools into thriving ones.
3. Attend school board meetings. School boards steer policy, so having input here can make a huge difference.
4. Be a solution. Always address concerns with an open mind and an eye toward helping to solve problems.