While looking at schools, my family is paying attention to the following (not necessarily in order of priority). Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas.
Community and Culture
– Behavior; how is bullying addressed? How is behavior addressed?
– Do teachers/ staff lead afterschool activities? (shows commitment to relationships w students and to community)
– How are students taught to love learning?
– Demographics of; cultural diversity among students/families?
– How are right and wrong discussed?addressed?taught?
– How does school collaborate w other schools? With high schools?
– What is the school’s philosophy and practice around testing? (standardized and general)
– Who do we know from the school from our community? Opportunities to carpool, get each other out of logistical binds, etc?
– Offer Languages?
– Advanced math?
– How are subjects (math, history, science, art, etc) integrated? How do teachers collaborate and synchronize lessons?
– What/how are art, music, or performance arts offered? How often?
– What/how is PE offered! How often?
– What/how is science offered! How often?
– Does the school have a well-resourced library w/ full-time librarian?
– How do academics connect with destination high schools?
– Where do students go to HS?
– How does recess or free time fit into the schedules?
– Any athletic offerings? Team sports?
– Any project activities? Newspaper, yearbook?
– Any community partnerships? Museums, technology, businesses, nonprofits?
– What is expectation of parents re fundraising?
– What else is required/expected of parents?
– How does school reach out to parents?
– Are grades/homework/assignments posted online?
– How will kids get to school?
– How does lunch work?
– Aftercare details? Cost? Hours? Activities/electives?
– How much homework should families expect? Samples?