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Table of Contents

Questions to Ask When You Visit a School

Use our School Visit Worksheet (elementary/middle school  or high school) to take notes during your visits.


Questions for the Principal

  • For elementary schools: What percentage of your students read on grade level by third grade?
  • For all schools: What percentage of your students read on grade level overall?
  • What percentage of your students do math on grade level?
  • What academic expectations do you have for your students?
  • What do you believe leads to student achievement? (Watch out for school administrators or teachers who make excuses for low achievement based on such factors as race, income or gender.)
  • How many safety incidents did your school have last year? (Ask for examples.)
  • How do you handle student misbehavior? How will I know if there has been a problem with my child or teen?
  • How do you assess learning and track progress?
  • What will you do if my child or teen 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?
  • For elementary/middle schools: Where do your students go when they leave your school? When they finish eighth grade, do they attend high-quality high schools?
  • For high schools: What do your students do after graduation? What percentage of them attend college?


When You Walk 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 You Visit Classrooms

  • 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?