In many of our districts and schools across the country, we are starting to enter a time period where parents will need to choose where their child goes to school – whether kindergarten or high school. This is, admittedly, a huge choice.
But here’s the deal! Whether you are sending your child to your neighborhood school or determining if a different type of school is a great fit, it’s never too early to start partnering and touring.
Of course you’ve heard about touring college campuses, where prospective students can tour the school with a current student and see the facilities, ask questions, and learn the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a college student. But what about an elementary, middle or high school? Lots of these schools offer tours to prospective families and students as well as community members, and they can be a great way to learn more about the school and the team before enrolling your kids.
Meet The School Leaders and Teachers
This is the perfect opportunity to start to meet the people who might be teaching your kids. Oftentimes, schools will offer regularly scheduled community tours that are open to parents and prospective families, but if not, you can likely call the school and request a tour from the school leadership team. This not only gives you a peek inside the doors of the school, but gives you the chance to actually put faces to names of the team that will be working closely with your student over the coming years.
Get a Peek at Student Engagement and Classroom Instruction
If possible, see if your school offers tours that allow you to observe classrooms and see teachers and students in action. You can see what type of work students are doing at different grade levels and see the way that teachers and students engage with one another during different types of lessons — whole group instruction, small group time, read alouds, etc. It’s a great opportunity to get a feel for what your student’s day to day classroom life might be like and what the pace of academics is.
Get familiar with the campus and the neighborhood
Once you’ve spent some time in the building, you’ll feel a little bit more familiar with the space and have an easier time navigating it next time you’re on campus. Knowing where to drop off a forgotten lunch or pick up a report card or where the car line starts can be useful things to be aware of as you’re thinking about where to enroll your kids.
Learn About Offerings and Ask Questions
Taking a tour with the school leadership team is a great chance to learn a little bit more about the different courses, extra curricular activities, and other involvement opportunities that a school may have to offer. It’s also the perfect place to ask questions of teachers and leaders to help you best understand the school!
See for Yourself!
One frustration we often hear from school and district leaders is this: People talk about our schools and they haven’t even set foot in them!
So often assumptions are made without actually verifying what is happening in schools, classrooms and communities. Some parents have found that what they assumed wasn’t the school for their child actually was the school for their child – and vice versa. Parents have different values and kids have different needs — so what may not work for your best friend’s kid might just be the perfect fit for your child. You won’t know unless you see for yourself.