A. School Policies—
- Does the school allow the children of nonlocal residents attend? What about those on tourist visas? Do they charge a fee for foreigners?
- How will the attendance policy affect my or my spouse’s work, conference, vacation, or other schedules?
- What is the school’s policy on parent involvement? Do they have parent/teacher conferences? Do they provide translation of school documents/news/letters home or do I need to have these translated?
- Are there required trips? Who pays (the school or the family)? Is this part of the school fees (if a fee is charged)?
- Are students required to buy lunch (or do they bring lunch from home)?
B. Facilities and Supplies—
1. What is the condition of the building and grounds?
2. What is the water supply like?
3. What immunizations are required (and do they mass inoculate at the school…with or without parent permission)?
4. Is transportation provided?
5. What supplies, materials, etc. are provided (or required to be provided by the parents)?
- Is the education adequate for transferring into a school in my passport country? Will I need to supplement math and science (in addition to English, history, government, etc.)?
- Is religion a core subject? Is it required of all students? If so, what religion is being taught? If it is not required, what are the available options for that time slot?
- What are the qualifications for the teachers?
- How are students assessed?
- Do they require developmentally appropriate tasks of the students?
- What is the learning environment like? Class size? Modes of Instruction? Length of day?
- Are fine arts and physical education taught? What emphasis do they place on these? Is playing a sport required?
D. Special Needs (including second language learning)—
- Does the school offer assistance to foreign language students?
- Is there time in the student’s day for studying additional subjects (English, history, etc.)?
- What assistance does the school provide to children with learning challenges or disabilities? Do they have specialists on staff?
- Does the school encourage understanding other cultures, world views, values?
- If a student is not performing at the level of his/her peers, what does the teacher or school do to help the student? Is there a second language class or resource room or in-class aide supplied to help the second language learner?
- Are there other second language learning students in this school? If so, are any of these second language students English speakers?
- Are there teachers or other staff at the school that speak English? If so, are they available to assist my child?
- When a second language learner is in a classroom and is obviously behind grade level in the second language, how does the classroom teacher engage the second language learner and help him or her learn?
- Are curricula, tests, assessments, or other assignments modified for second language learners?
E. Classroom Management—
- What kind of discipline is practiced in the classroom? By the school?
- How do teachers and administrators deal with behavior problems?
- What involvement is expected/allowed by parents?
- Do teachers shout frequently? Can they maintain control in the classroom? Do they shame students?
- Does the administration allow parents to observe?
- Do teachers incorporate affirmation or shame in order to motivate students to perform their best?
- Are teachers allowed to slap, thump on the head or hand, pull hair, or other such physical methods for addressing a child in the classroom.
F. Future Goals—
1. Does the school adequately prepare the student to enter a university, work force, or military program in the passport country? If not, what preparations will the parents need to make during the high school years and summers?
2. Does the school encourage life-long learning and motivate children in the area of academics?
3. Is this particular school right for my child’s personality and learning style?