There are great schools of many types, but they all share some things in common. Most importantly, all great schools prepare students for success after school. Students at great schools are learning and achieving, graduating ready for the next step and prepared for college and careers.
In a great school, students are:
Learning and achieving. Students are in classrooms with effective teachers, who are supported by a strong leader. The adults in a great school are responsible for the achievement of all students, and they ensure that all students are learning and growing. They make it a priority to help students who are struggling. At a minimum, students in a great school are reading and doing math on grade level. The GreatPhillySchools Academics rating lets you know how students are performing on state and national tests.
Equally supported. A great school has high expectations for all its students, regardless of race, income or ethnicity. In a great school, the principal, teachers and staff believe that all students can learn and expect that all students will achieve. Beware of schools and teachers who make excuses for a lack of learning. The GreatPhillySchools Achievement Gap rating measures how well a school is serving economically disadvantaged students, compared to its entire student body.
Engaged. Students are engaged in their education, and parents and caregivers are committed and involved. The principal, teachers and staff communicate with parents and caregivers and welcome involvement in the school. Students like going to school, and when there, they pay attention to what their teachers and classmates are saying. At a minimum, students are coming to school every day. The GreatPhillySchools Attendance rating is based on the average daily attendance at a school.
Safe. A strong culture and positive climate encourage learning. To learn and achieve, students need to be in a safe environment. Parents and caregivers should feel comfortable sending a child to school every day. At a minimum, there should be few serious or violent incidents in a school. The GreatPhillySchools Safety rating lets you know if a school has problems with safety.
Graduating and going on to college. If students are on track and engaged, they are completing high school and prepared for their next step. After attending a great high school, students are continuing their education at four-year colleges, community colleges and vocational schools. The GreatPhillySchools College Bound rating measures how many of a school’s graduates go on to higher education.
The ratings on GreatPhillySchools are designed to help you get started and decide what questions to ask when visiting a school. Ultimately, a great school is one that meets the needs of your family. Be sure to read our guide on Finding Your Great School to help you find the school that’s right for your student.