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What To Ask When You’re Checking Out A School

These questions will help you pick out the right school for your child

Illustration by Ryan Snook

GENERAL QUESTIONS
•  What aspects of the school are you proudest of?
•  Are any big changes on the horizon? How will they affect my child?
•  What’s a typical day like?
•  What’s special about your culture and the way you approach teaching?

ACADEMICS
•  Are classes lecture-based or discussion-driven?
•  How important is class participation to my child’s grades?
•  How many hours a night does the typical student study?
•  What safety nets are in place for kids who encounter difficulty?
•  How do you use technology in the classroom?
•  How does a child get involved in research projects or independent study?


STUDENT LIFE
•  How are new students made to feel welcome?
•  What do you do to discourage cliques and to foster an inclusive environment?
•  What will the school do to help develop my child’s character?


FACULTY
•  What credentials do teachers have?
•  How much turnover have you had in the last two years?
•  How accessible is the faculty outside of school hours?
•  What kinds of ongoing training and development do you provide faculty?


PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
•  Are there other families who live near us?
•  How are parents involved in the school?

This article appears in the October 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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