Searching for the Right School for Your Family: Tips for school tours & more

Written by: Maria Ippolito

Choosing a school for your child is a very important, though sometimes confusing, and even stressful decision for your family. There are many great options in the city and it can be a challenge to find the right fit for your child and your family.  A great place to start your search is to create a list of your “top 5” schools.  You can develop your “top 5” list in many ways, including talking to other parents, visiting websites and researching schools online, or using the NPN discussion board. After you create your list, call each school to set up an appointment to visit. Some schools will allow you to visit at any time, but oftentimes schools will have set dates and times for their Open Houses. When you visit the school, be prepared to ask questions and take notes.

Here are a few questions to consider when on a school tour:

  • Student teacher ratio - How many students are in each classroom? Will the teacher have time to work with my child and differentiate instruction?
  • Does the school follow state standards? -  Are the teachers certified?
  • What is the school’s mission and philosophy? - Does the school have a particular focus- ie Arts, Science Technology Engineering and Math etc?)
  • What is the school environment/atmosphere? - How do you feel as soon as you walk into the building?
  • Does the school encourage continuing education for its staff? - What professional development opportunities are offered to the faculty?
  • Is the school in good condition? What technology does the school offer to its students?
  • How does the school communicate with parents and how often?
  • Is the school diverse?
  • What are the extracurricular activities offered to students?
  • What are the school’s test scores? - What test do they take and how do the results compare to the national average?
  • Where do students typical attend high school? - Do they usually receive scholarships? How many are accepted into their first choice school?
  • What are the school deadlines for applications?
  • If it’s a tuition based school, what is the price and are there extra charges above the tuition? Does the school offer financial assistance?

 Also, consider:

  • Don’t forget convenience- where is the school located? A 30 minute commute might not seem like a big deal, but in the midst of a blizzard a 30 minute drive could turn into a 3 hour drive.
  • Ask to have the chance to speak to a current parent.  This is a great way to learn more about what the school offers.
  • What are the school’s hours? Does the school have options for working parents?
  • What is the school community like? Are family friendly events held every month?

Choosing the right school can be tricky, but with this handy form you can keep track of the schools you visited and describe what you liked.

Jan 29- Feb 4th is Catholic Schools Week and many of our schools will be hosting Open Houses.  Visit to find a Catholic School near  you.

Posted on January 05, 2012 at 1:57 PM