What to Look for in a School

Picking the best school possible for your child is an important decision. As our kids start a new year at a public school, here is what you should do if you really want to make a good choice.

Look beneath the label. “Public” or “private” doesn’t really tell you much, so don’t scratch a school off your list just because of how it’s governed. There are terrific and lousy schools in the public, private and (publicly funded) charter-school sectors, so relying on labels alone is a big risk. Likewise, you should do more than glance at a school’s test scores or demographic data.

Attend orientation sessions and school fairs. You can also go online to get data from the school system about demographics and student performance and from GreatSchools, which compiles data and reviews from parents. Try talking to your friends and neighbors whose kids attended local schools and asked teachers we encountered where they would try to send their own kids if they could and to speak candidly about various schools. Sequoyah School offers multiple open houses and students are available to answer any questions that you may have.

Visit the schools you’re interested in during a regularly scheduled admissions tour—they typically take place during a school day and offer the chance to see teachers and students in class. You don’t have to be an expert to get a good sense of what is — or isn’t — happening in a classroom when you visit. Are the students being engaged by the teacher? Does the teacher check for understanding as he or she teaches? Perhaps most fundamental is whether the classroom is a place you’d want to spend time in. Also, don’t just visit the grade your child is entering; visit a few others too, so you can really get a sense of the place.

A Sequoyah School education challenges the mind, nurtures the heart and celebrates human dignity. Children are trusted and challenged in a diverse community where they are appreciated for their individuality and supported by an integrated, developmental approach to learning. The interaction between teacher and child is as important as the subject matter. Our teachers believe that each learner can bring unique life experience, motivation, and interests into the classroom. Attending school in a nurturing and supportive learning environment helps children develop strong social and emotional skills, self-confidence, meaningful engagement, and a positive attitude towards school.

The Sequoyah School is located at 535 South Pasadena Avenue, Pasadena. Call (626) 795-4351 or visit www.sequoyahschool.org for more information.


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