Choices abound when it comes to picking the right elementary school for a child with learning and thinking differences. This list might help you narrow things down.
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How is the school environment?
- The student-teacher ratio is reasonable.
- I know and agree with the school’s policy on handling behavior problems.
- The school actively works to prevent and deal with bullying.
- The school is safe and clean.
- Very few students are expelled or suspended; violence is rare.
- The school has a good policy for dealing with sick children.
- The school won’t let anyone take my child out of school without my permission.
- Afterschool childcare and afterschool sports, clubs, and programs are available.
- The school grounds are secure and the neighborhood is safe.
- The school has a gym, a playground, and a playing field for physical activities.
What is the staff like?
- The school has a psychologist, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist on staff.
- Teachers and specialists are trained to recognize and work well with children who have learning and thinking differences.
- They know how to deal with discipline and behavior issues and have a written policy.
- There’s not a lot of staff turnover.
- Teachers seem knowledgeable and pleasant.
Does it feel right for my child?
- The school offers a supportive environment and has the proper resources.
- The school can serve my child’s special learning needs.
- The method of teaching at the school works well with my child’s learning strengths.
- General education and teachers work together.
Does it work for me?
- The school is near my home, or it’s convenient for my child to get to.
- The school hours fit my schedule.
- I like the policy for watching my child’s progress and keeping me informed.
- There are parent-teacher conferences as needed.
- I’m welcome or encouraged to be involved at the school and volunteer.
What are the academics like?
- A reasonable amount of homework is given.
- The school has high expectations for all students.
- Assistive technology is available for learning needs.
- The school scores well on standardized tests.
- The school has a library, a music and arts program, and a computer lab.
- Children do well in middle school after they leave this school.
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About the author
About the author
Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for
Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.