The best school for your child is the one that meets your child’s needs to learn and thrive. Finding that perfect fit may be challenging. You are your child’s most enthusiastic and influential advocate. You should be a partner with both your child’s school and their teacher.
This website is a useful tool to help you get you started. You can also learn more about schools that you are considering for your child by attending school fairs, open houses, and by setting up your own visits. During your visit you should talk to the principal or other school staff (most schools have one person that is responsible for communication with families) as well as parents who have children who attend the school. Here is a guide to use when looking for a strong school for your child.
There’s no getting around it, students take tests in school to measure how well they have learned the material being taught. The yearly standardized test required by the State of Connecticut measures whether your child is performing above, at or below their grade level. These assessments are important because they can be used to help your child be successful in their learning by letting you know:
a. Is there growth from year to year?
b. Where are your child’s strengths and weaknesses?
Questions to ask about Academic Performance:
• What percentage of the students at the school are scoring on grade level?
• How and how often does the teacher communicate with parents to help support the child’s learning?
• How much homework should I expect my child to receive?
• How is the school theme integrated into the curriculum and specific classes?
• Is technology being used in the school to support student achievement?
School Climate & Culture
Each year the Hartford Public School district administers a School Climate and Connectedness survey in an effort to see how parents, students and staff feel about their school community. This is important because studies have shown that students who experience a positive school climate and feel connected to school tend to stay in school and do better academically. The survey can be a valuable tool for the school district as it looks for ways to improve and support your child’s school. Asking questions about school climate and culture can help you make a decision about the best match for your child.
Questions to ask about School Climate and Culture:
• When visiting the school how are you greeted? Are you made to feel welcome?
• How do students interact with each other?
• How do students interact with their teacher and other adults in the building?
• Are the classrooms set up to allow children to explore, to question, to work alone, in a group or with an adult?
• What are the school’s behavior policies?
• What is a typical day for my child like?
Family and Community Engagement
You are a partner with your school and child’s teacher. You are your child’s most enthusiastic and influential advocate. There are specific steps that parents can take to help their students achieve academic success. A strong school is one that has strong family involvement and welcomes the input and participation of parents in their child’s education. Strong schools also have community partners in the building who can bring extra enrichment experiences to your child that may not be part of the regular school day, such as after school programs or tutoring supports. Knowing what to expect when your child enters school and keeping the lines of communication open allows you to take full advantage of opportunities that may benefit your child.
Questions to ask about Family and Community Engagement:
• Is there an active Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)?
• What is the parent participation on the School Governance Council?
• Can parents volunteer in the classroom?
• Does the school offer mentoring and tutoring opportunities?
• Is there before and after care available?
• How is information about school activities and events communicated to parents (newsletter, e-mail, text message, etc.)?
If you are going to visit a school, here is a resource that may help you think about what to look for during your visit.