How to Ensure Your Child Thrives in Their New School Community

Three Questions to Ask When Selecting a New School

Every parent wants their child to flourish, especially after a big transition like moving cities and schools. Here are some guiding questions to help ensure your child is best positioned to thrive in their new school community.

  1. How well will people get to know my child? Look for small classes and a close-knit community where faculty and staff get to know your individual child outside of the classroom, such as advisory, team, or club time. This makes a vital difference in ensuring your child grows to their full potential. No one wants their child to fall through the cracks. If your child is intellectually curious but shy for example, you want teachers who recognize this potential and encourage taking academic risks. Conversely, if your child is not aligned with their peer group academically or socially, you want an adult to take notice and support them appropriately. Plus, having personalized attention expands your child’s network of genuine, supportive adults when it comes time to request college and internship recommendation letters.

  2. Do the faculty love to teach at the school? Education is a mission-driven profession, and the vast majority of teachers love what they do. And when teachers thrive, so do students. Look for these signs of a supportive academic environment with faculty who are respected as experts: Can teachers design their own curriculum? How many faculty members have advanced degrees? What is the average class size? On your school tour, what do current students have to say about their teachers? Your child’s education is a partnership between you, your child, and your child’s school community, with teachers playing an indispensable role.

  3. Can my child dig deeper into areas of interest? When looking at a school district or private school, ask about the ways engaged and passionate students may delve deeper into subjects. Is there flexibility and faculty mentorship for your child to build on particular interests? Be it computer science, athletics, leadership, arts, civic engagement, or humanities, you want a school that supports inquiry and discovery, and encourages your child to persist over an extended period of time. The more your child helps direct their own learning journey, the more prepared they will be for an independent life full of purpose, joy, and meaning. 

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