Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to find a good school system

Moving and relocating your child to a new home, a new neighborhood and a new school is always going to be difficult, especially if you've been involved in your child's education by helping out in the classroom. You know every teacher and feel confident your child is receiving a good education.  So, how can you be sure that you can find a home in a good school district?  Here are a few tips:

Start with online research.

The Nation's Report Card provides information on state performances in the essential learning areas, such as reading, math and geography. If you're moving to a new state, this is the place to start. Also go to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to obtain facts such as student/teacher ratio, number of students and enrollment by gender and race.

Take a school tour.

The best way to determine which school is best for your child is to take a school tour. Most schools will accommodate parents. Just call ahead and ask for a staff person to show you the facilities. Try to book a tour when school is in session, so you can observe some classes and speak with students. Ask if you can bring your child with you so they can observe and provide their input as well. This is key to helping your child feel part of the process which in turn will help the transition to a new school.

While on the school tour there are some questions to ask and recommended by

Question: How many classrooms do you have?

Question: What is the average number of students per class?

Question: What facilities do you have, above and beyond the usual?

Question: What extra-curricular activities do you offer? And are students and teachers actively involved?

Question: Can you provide me with a copy of the school's curriculum?

Question: What is the school's approach to reading, writing and math?

Question: What kind of supportive equipment do you have and is it readily available for each class?

Overall, you should get a good sense of the school by just being in it for a day, by listening to students and teachers and by asking lots of questions. And in the end, you should walk away feeling that this is the right place for your child and you are making the right move.
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