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theschoolboards
11-01-2011, 08:41 AM
From N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2011/10/31/the-school-tour-do-your-homework/) by Holly Epstein Ojalvo:

Whether you are interested in seeing the school your child will attend — if it is a zoned school, for instance, or your child has already been admitted; looking more broadly and want to weed out places for your child to apply to; or figuring out which school to make your first choice, taking a tour can be the most efficient way to find out whether a school is a good fit for your child and family.

But only if you are well prepared.

Some parents decide to go with their gut feelings — the “vibe” they get when they peek into classrooms and watch teachers and students interacting. But judging a school mainly on basic impressions would be a mistake. You may get a very good sense about a school that would be a bad fit for your child, or be tempted to rule out a school where your child would thrive.

Others go in uninformed and use the time to ask about the basics. That is a waste of everyone’s time, including yours.

Chiefly, what you want to look for when you are on the tour is what life at the school is like, both day-to-day and over all. But like the children, you must be sure to do your homework.

The way the school is run — how it uses time, the curricular content, even teachers’ professional development programs and enrichment and support programs for students — is what matters most. So before you tour, prepare by researching the educational philosophy, approach, culture, programs, resources, faculty and leadership.

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2011/10/31/the-school-tour-do-your-homework/)