Questions for the principal:
• What percent of your students read on grade level overall, and especially by 3rd grade?
• What percent of your students do math on grade level?
• What are the academic expectations of your students?
• What do you believe leads to student achievement?
• How many safety incidents did your school have last year? Ask for examples.
• How do you handle misbehavior by a student? How will I know if there has been a problem with my student?
• How do you assess student learning and track progress?
• What will you do if my student falls behind or struggles in class? Will you contact me?
• Are you responsible for the quality and development of your teachers?
• How do you evaluate your teachers and hold them responsible for student learning?
• Where do your students go when they leave your school? When they finish 8th grade, do they go to attend high-quality high schools?
In addition, for high schools:
• What percent of your students graduate?
• What percent of your students go to college or some form of postsecondary education?
When walking the halls:
• How do students behave as they move from class to class or play outside?
• Are hallways clean and well kept? What about the bathrooms?
• Does recent student work appear on walls or bulletin boards?
When visiting a classroom:
• Watch for student engagement. Are all students paying attention to the teacher or participating in a learning activity?
• Do students seem interested in what they are doing, or do their minds appear to be somewhere else?
• Are there examples of student work and progress on display?
• Is the classroom clean and orderly?
• Is the teacher pleased to see you?
**Watch out for school administrators or teachers who make excuses for low achievement based on factors like race, income or gender.
Download and print a School Visit Checklist to help you take notes during your visit: