Open House :: What To Look For When You Tour Schools
It’s that time of year, school Open House Season. If your child is school-aged and you’re looking to switch schools or next year will be their first year of elementary or high school, there is a good chance that you will attend an Open House. Open House can seem very daunting and overwhelming. There is a lot of information being given in a short amount of time and it is hard to know what to be looking out for. As a mom of elementary aged kids and a high school teacher, I’ve both attended and presented at Open Houses.
It’s hard to discern which school is best for your child. Especially with the number of options available here in Lafayette. I’m a firm believer that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to schools. Each school is unique and can offer varying opportunities and experiences and different students will be more or less successful at different schools. It really comes down to the needs that each student has.
So as you embark on your Open House journey, here are some thoughts and questions to consider:
Culture seems like it would be hard to pick up on in one Open House tour, but as you speak to students and hear from teachers and administrators, listen to the underlying themes. When a culture is set, everyone on that campus is going to naturally embody it. They’re going to describe their time on campus in similar terms. Listen to those terms, take in the feel of the campus as you walk through, and consider if this is the type of culture you want your child to be a part of.
Academics can be a very broad term. Every student has different needs and you want to consider the needs of your child and hear what the school has to offer them.
- What opportunities exist for students who excel in the classroom?
- Does the school provide assistance for students who struggle academically?
- What do their reading and math programs entail?
- How many students are in a class?
All of these things can contribute to the success of your child in a learning environment.
3. Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities, whether it’s sports or clubs, can be really influential in a student’s life. Each school provides different extracurricular opportunities with varying degrees of success. It’s important to be aware of what your child would want to be involved in, especially in middle school and high school, and ask if such a program exists and how they could get involved! If possible, speak to the coach or school sponsor and get more insight into the school’s program.
Each school is going to have different disciplinary expectations, policies, and protocol. It’s important to be aware of these before enrolling your student in a school. Making sure you and your child understand the expectations a school has and the disciplinary policies and procedures will be beneficial for both of you.
5. Religious education
Many of our private schools in Lafayette offer some form of religious education. These schools offer different programs with different levels of expectations. Whether your child has previously received religious education or not, it’s important to ask about the expectations each school has. Questions you might want to ask could include:
- What topics will be covered in class?
- What are the academic expectations for religious education courses?
- Are there opportunities for parents to learn about the topics students are covering?
This is not an exhaustive list of everything that you could look for or ask at an Open House, but it is a starting point. If you and your child like multiple schools and are unsure what to do, ask for a private tour during a school day. There’s so much to learn about a school and this can be exciting and overwhelming. Every school is different and every child is different, but the school you choose for your child will help them to learn and grow in some of the best ways.