Selecting a School for Your Child

Approach to Learning

Does the school have a particular approach to teaching and learning (e.g., group projects, individual performance, frequent testing)?
If yes, do you think your child will enjoy and learn from this approach?
Does the school do all it can to make sure each child learns? Does it provide opportunities for children to get extra help when they need it?
Is the school staff able to communicate in the language that your child understands?
Are children with limited English language skills, learning disabilities, or other special needs learning and performing well on tests?
What is the homework policy? Does it match your expectations for how much homework your child should do?
Do you want your child to go to a singlesex (all-boy or all-girl) school, or a coeducational school?
How large are the classes?

Academic Performance

How do the school's test scores compare to those of other schools? (Check the school's report card if it is a public school or ask for information from the school if it is a private school. See 'Parent Tip' on school report cards.)
In the past few years, have test scores risen or declined?
How does the school explain the rise or decline? How well have children similar to yours performed on these tests?
How do students moving on to the next level of schooling perform in their new schools?
How many students leave the school before completing the last grade?
What special achievements or recognition has the school received?

Behavior Policy

What does the school do to help develop character and citizenship?
What is the discipline policy? How does the school handle students who misbehave?
Are teachers fair in their responses to students? Does the school have a program and supports to prevent and address behavior problems?
Are students allowed to leave school by themselves?
What measures has the school taken to ensure safety? What security measures are in place?
What is the policy on school absences? How does the school encourage daily attendance?
Do school personnel call parents when students are absent?
Does the school have a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program?
Does the school have a dress code?
Do students wear uniforms?


Is the school safe?
How does the school prevent and handle problems with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco?
How does the school prevent and handle violence, bullying, harassment, and other forms of abusive behavior?
What measures does the school take to ensure safety? What security measures are in place?
What is the school's relationship with the local police?
Is there a police officer on duty during school hours and for extracurricular activities?
What information is available on serious crime in the school?
What information is available on students bringing weapons to school?
Does the school have an emergency plan for local and national emergencies?
What does the school do to ensure that parents and all school administrators know the emergency plan?
Are there drills?
How does the school notify parents about emergency closings? How does the school communicate with parents in other languages?

Special Offerings

What extracurricular activities does the school offer after school or on weekends?
Do all students have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities?
What interscholastic activities are available to students?
What intramural activities are available to students?
What activities receive the most attention and resources?
Are there school and student publications?
Does the school sponsor field trips?
Are they available to all students?
Are publications for parents available in other languages?
Facilities and Services
Is there a well-stocked library where students can check out books and do research? Are reading materials available in other languages?
Is there interlibrary loan?
Is time provided in the day for students to go to the library?
Do students have access to computers and to the Internet in the classroom and library?
Is use of the Internet monitored?
Is there an auditorium or a large room for school assemblies?
Is a school nurse on duty daily?
Is there a cafeteria, and does the school offer a nutritionally well-balanced lunch program? Breakfast program?
Is supervised before- and afterschool care offered?
Are there tutoring programs?
Are counseling services available to students?
Is the school accessible to children with mobility limitations?
Admissions Procedures for Public Schools of Choice and Private Schools
Is there an application process?
What is the application deadline?
Is anything else required in the application (test scores, interview, recommendations, application fees, etc.)?
Are test scores required for admission?
What are the ranges of scores for admitted students?
Do admissions requirements include a portfolio, an audition or statement of interest?
Are there any other admissions requirements?
Are admissions requirements published in languages other than English? By U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement -

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