Questions to Ask
- What is the registration and enrollment procedure?
- How many children are enrolled in the school? How many children are in each classroom? What is the ratio of classroom teachers to students?
- Does the school offer before-and-after school care programs? Is transportation available for students who need to go to an off-site before-and after-care program?
- What is the school’s behavior code? How are disciplinary problems handled? Ask for a copy of the current parent handbook.
- Are parents welcome to visit their children’s classrooms? Is an appointment needed?
- What opportunities do parents have to become involved in the school? How much volunteer time is asked/required of parents?
- How do parents interact with each other?
- Are there any financial requirements beyond tuition?
- What are the main concepts, skills and values that will be taught at each grade? [These should be stated in the school’s curriculum guide.]
- What proportion of students complete the curriculum successfully?
- How is religion integrated into other subjects and woven into school life? [Look not only at religion classes but at other subjects. Look for opportunities for prayer, receiving the sacraments, days of recollection, service projects, etc.]
- How often are the textbooks reviewed and updated?
- What role does technology play in the student’s learning? Is there a computer lab? A science lab for older students?
- Are art and music treated as important subjects in the curriculum?
- Are there programs and services for children with special needs, both for students who are academically talented and for students who have difficulty learning?
- How do teachers address students’ individual learning styles?
- What extracurricular programs (i.e. Scouts, athletics, band, etc.) are available?
- How extensive is the athletic program?
- Does the instructional program provide for the interests and needs of your child?
Academic Growth and Progress
- How does the school foster growth and development in children, regardless of the level at which they begin?
- Ask for examples of students who have come to the school with particular academic strengths and have been challenged and/or who have come to the school with learning difficulties and have shown great improvement.
- How do teachers ensure that every student achieves his/her full potential?
- What proportion of graduates choose Catholic high schools?
- How well do graduates perform when they get to high school?
- Do students’ standardized test scores generally reflect their achievement levels? How do students in the school generally score on standardized tests?
- How do students demonstrate growth on standardized test scores from grade to grade?
Communication and Leadership
- What are the principal’s priorities and goals for students?
- What goals do teachers have for their students?
- How does the principal interact with teachers, students and parents?
- What is the principal’s educational philosophy? Does he or she stay up-to-date on what is working in education today?
- Does the principal seem open to questions, and are the responses direct and empathetic?
- How does the school communicate with its families? How often?
- Ask for newsletters or calendars that the school distributes to families. These will help you get an idea of what types of activities are held throughout the year.
- What does the school/principal view as the parents’ role in education?
- What are the teachers’ qualifications? Do any teachers specialize in teaching particular subjects or providing particular services?
- What indicators of parent satisfaction does the school have? What proportion of parents express satisfaction with the school?