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Questions, Questions

by Ronald A. Rowe | November 10th, 2016 | Elementary, School
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student in class (400x400)My family and I recently moved to a new part of the country, and with that, there have been many changes. One of the most crucial ones was choosing a new school for our eight year old son. There were many things we were looking for since he came from such a great STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) School, and wanted to make sure that there was continuity. After going through the process which required quite a bit of research, we feel we made the right choice.   One of the primary considerations was the student-teacher ratio.

You really have to consider how much individual time your child will receive.  Will he or she get lost in a large sea of an overcrowded classroom?  This is very important.  Next, What distinguishes your school from others? Finding the focus of the school is very important, especially if your child shows a high degree of interest, talent, and potential in a specific area such as language, art, music, or technology.

A very important question to ask is how much homework is assigned? You should know if in addition to nightly homework there is weekend, break or holiday assignments. If it varies widely between teachers, this may be a sign that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to their teaching philosophy. Another key point to inquire about, especially if your child attends an after school program is, do they help students with their homework? Now here comes a tough one to ask, but you need to ask: How do you support children with different learning styles and needs? This also connects back to the student-teacher ratio question and will have an impact on your child if not properly addressed. Find out about curriculum (yes this will take some research), how they handle accelerated learners, special needs issues and what resources are available to this particular school district.

You will have many questions, but so will your child who will be particularly interested in what after school activities are available such as athletics, science, drama or chess. The most important thing for us was to ensure that our eight year old son would be getting a well-rounded experience that will prepare him for life’s challenges. As parents, you should also know what the schools expectations are for the students. Are they realistic? Are the academic standards above what your child can handle? Are they not enough of a challenge for your child? Looking up school test scores should give you the information you are looking for. Also, look at past years to see if scores are increasing or decreasing. One of the most important things to find out is how are the teachers supported, and what is your role in that support? What are your expectations from your child’s teacher, do they want to build a relationship with you as a parent or do they want you to be hands off? So many questions. Be informed so there are no surprises.

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