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October 18, 2012

Our new school tour videos: Guiding parents out of the fun house

By Carol Lloyd, Executive Editor

For the average parent, touring a school can feel a little like wandering through a house of mirrors. What’s distorted? What’s true to life? Where are your own personal biases or personal experiences getting in the way of knowing what’s best for your child? Unlike education experts who may get to observe classrooms or pepper the principal with questions on best practices, parents visiting a school may not get to enter a single classroom much less enjoy face time with the principal.

So when we set out to create short, engaging videos that gave parents a little insider knowledge on assessing a school, we honed our laundry lists while still including some unexpected tidbits.

In Finding the right elementary school. (Don't be a sheep!) we recommend that parents look for examples of 4th and 5th grade writing – especially nonfiction writing.

Video-elementary-school-fin

 

In How to find a middle school -- lessons from a neurotic mom, we encourage parents to understand how math tracking works to make sure the school puts students on the track for college-ready high school classes.

Video-middle-school-final

 

And in Finding the right high school -- even if it means taking advice from your ex, we remind parents to look for clues about student culture in the trophy case, the school newspaper and the range of student clubs.

Video-high-school-final

Along with a few key ideas, we spiked all the videos with a little narrative and a dash of vertigo. We understand that a couple of school tours can leave even the most savvy parents reeling. We also understand that parents can still learn a huge amount on school tours – if they know what to look for and are not afraid to ask questions.

These videos represent a new tenor for our content and one we’re frankly excited about. We’d love you to check them out and email me at clloyd@greatschools.org to share your feedback.

Comments

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My daughter's middle school was chosen on its ability to blur the lines between the academic (they go through Geometry in 8th grade) and elective (they offer advanced strings/orchestra).

I found it was easy to find strictly academic schools, and even schools that offered the electives, but in this new era of 'academies' I would suggest strongly that parents of hybrid kids ask how permeable the walls of their silos are. Many schools will not let a child float between different academies. And those that do are golden.

With the busy world today, retaining the attention of school children becomes a primary struggle for both parents and teachers/school administrators. This probably needs the incorporation of interactive learning to their curriculum. You just offered it in your school. Thank you for giving us ideas on how to prepare our children upon entering their next academic year.

engaging videos that gave parents a little insider knowledge on assessing a school, we honed our laundry lists while still including some unexpected tidbits.

world today, retaining the attention of school children becomes a primary struggle for both parents and teachers/school administrators. This probably needs the incorporation of interactive learning to their curriculum. You just offered it in your school. Thank you for giving u

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