Strangers often ask me how to pick a good school. They are transferring into the area or moving from one local neighborhood with struggling schools to a place they hope will be better. Choosing a school is often as much about taste as judgment (see item 9 below). Here is a list of what a parent can do to get the best sense of the differences among the various places they might send their children.
1. Attend a schoolís PTA meeting before you enroll.
2. Talk to the principal.
3. Observe a class.
4. Experience the school corridors and the neighborhood.
5. Donít worry if you hear that a middle school has problems.
6. Research Web sites and blogs for parents in your new neighborhood.
7. Donít put too much weight on demographics.
8. Check the local high school ratings on The Washington Post High School Challenge at washingtonpost.com.
9. Trust your instincts.
Although , I am new to the forum, and this is so far a brief post, I found it to be very useful. My wife went to private and i to public so you can see how choosing a school for our kids has been difficult. We also found this book on Amazon, "From Holy Hell and Back: Stories and Lessons Learned in Choosing and Surviving Your Child's Catholic Elementary School". while the title suggests this is only for catholic schools we found it relevant for our childs private school and comparing to one of our public schools