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Questions to Ask on a School Tour

The Questions ALL Parents Should Ask Schools - But Rarely Do!

A school tour may be the most important research tool a parent has in their pocket.  Getting on campus and asking questions will provide insight that you cannot get from a website or the experience of your neighbors. 

However, it is important to come prepared and NOT be afraid to ask questions.  This is your time to gain valuable insight.

Even if you cannot fit a tour of the school into your schedule, you can always email or call to get some of your questions answered.  Here are some questions to help you think about what your family is most interested in or would like to know.

  • What are the drop-off and pick-up times?
  • What is the average class size?
  • Do you offer on-campus before and after care?  What is the cost?
  • Does the school provide transportation?
  • Does the school offer a free and reduced lunch program?
  • How does the school communicate with families?
  • What school data are you using to measure success?
  • How do you evaluate individual progress? How will I know if my child is growing as a learner?
  • How do students perform on state tests compared to state averages?
  • Does the school provide teaching or learning in the community?
  • When and how will progress reports be shared with parents?
  • What were the successful lessons learned from educating through a pandemic?
  • How do world languages, arts, technology, and physical education fit into the curriculum?
  • How does technology support teaching and learning?
  • Does your school have a specific educational philosophy?
  • How do you keep parents informed about what is being taught in the classroom?
  • What is your philosophy regarding homework? How much is required on a typical night?
  • How do you respond to students who have academic or behavioral difficulties?
  • How do you differentiate instruction? Do you have a Gifted program?
  • Describe to me how you support special needs students?
  • What support do you have in place for working families?
  • What strategies are in place to teach students who are not fluent in English?
  • What values do you instill in your students? How do you promote these values?
  • Describe the diversity of the student and staff population.
  • What actions does the school take to address diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  • Tell me about your approach to discipline.
  • How do you allow for parental voice/feedback/input?
  • What school events help build the school community?
  • What makes this school an “outstanding” experience for students?
  • Will the school be able to meet all of my child’s special needs and IEP parameters?
  • What is the student-to-teacher ratio, especially in self-contained classrooms?
  • How does the school/principal feel about inclusion?  
  • Are students with special needs included with their peers for some subjects and special activities?  
  • What is the school’s behavior plan, and is it different for students with special needs?
  • Are the teachers and staff trained to meet your child’s needs? 
  • Is quality child care available before and after school? What are the costs and hours of care?
  • How does this school keep parents informed about school information and activities?
  • How much homework do students typically have each day?
  • Does the school offer extracurricular activities and for what grade levels?
  • Does the school incorporate art, physical education, and world language into the daily curriculum?
  • How does the school handle behavioral issues that interfere with classroom learning?
  • How does the school guide and prepare students for options in high school and beyond?
  • Does the school offer tutoring or other support if students need extra help?
  • Are there courses offered on campus that can be taken for high school credit (e.g., Spanish, algebra, or geometry)?
  • What kind of extracurricular opportunities are available to students on campus?
  • Does the school make an effort to provide activities that create a sense of community?
  • How do students perform on standardized tests compared to state or local averages?
  • What emphasis is placed on college preparation and is college counseling available?
  • How does the school support students who are struggling academically?
  • What are the average ACT/SAT scores?
  • Where do students go after graduation? How many attend four-year versus two-year colleges?
  • Does the school offer a variety of career planning options for non-college bound students?
  • Does this school have any school-to-work programs or specialized academies and tracks?
  • What dual credit or AP options are available at the school?
  • Does the school have a specific focus?
  • How do you support students with special needs?
  • What data shows success and who oversees this process?
  • What kind of extracurricular opportunities do students have on campus?
  • How do students perform on standardized tests compared to state averages?
  • Do you offer a free and reduced lunch program?
  • Is free transportation provided?
  • What can I expect my overall yearly costs to be?
  • Do they offer financial aid/scholarship? 
  • How do you measure individual achievement and progress?
  • Does the school have a specific focus? Does religion play a role in the curriculum?
  • What are the demographics of the school – (geographic, ethnic and socio-economic)?
  • What are your school’s measures to address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on campus?
  • Does the school have regular access to Speech, OT, PT, Guidance Counselor and School Psychologist? Make sure you have an understanding of all the opportunities and if they are a fit with your child’s particular personality or requirements.
  • If your child will need a paraprofessional, ask what training is given to the paraprofessional.
  • Are the staff trained to meet the needs of your child? What is the staff/teachers personal experience in dealing with children similar to your child?
  • What classroom settings are available (Gifted, Gen ED, Self-Contained Classroom, 1:1 aide, etc)?
  • Do teachers have mechanisms in place to assist students with planning, organizing, and prioritizing?
  • What strategies does the school use to manage challenging behavior? How do they monitor if it is working?