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10 key questions for elementary schools

Choosing an elementary school? Don't do it without getting the answers to these questions!

By GreatSchools Staff

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Kids wearing polo shirts

1) Does the school meet my basic needs?

While it can be tempting to try for a school that's on the top of everyone's list, first make sure the school meets your practical needs. For instance, if you have to be at work at 8:30 and school starting time is 9:00 — with no early-morning care — it's probably a deal breaker. By the same token, if there's no bussing, but the school is 10 miles away, it may not be a good fit for your family. Finally, if it's difficult or impossible for you to send your child to school with a lunch, ask if the school provides one and how much it costs (public schools all offer a free lunch for those families who qualify).

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/29/2012:
"Based on the first review, I'm assuming Great Schools edited the article as it does mention exactly what the first poster claims it doesn't? I think this is a very good article, but it's probably best for those people that are looking at buying a house in a good school district that they can tour or for parents looking at private schools. "
02/6/2012:
"Omg...this was very good peace for me. Im looking for a school for my son. Much needed information. Thanks so much... "
02/14/2011:
"This article makes it seem like one can choose the school, however we are obligated to send our child to the school that is in our district. We are 10 miles away from the school in our district, but only 3 miles away from the school we would rather have our child go to."
02/14/2011:
"The schools are changing so much and many times during the school year. Its very hard to know that programs will continue due to budget cuts. Attending a school site council meeting will let get a peek at the how they handle the issues facing them and what is their priority. Also attend a school district meeting, see who's running the schools. "
02/14/2011:
"Pretty lame article. No mention of asking questions about the type of reading program they use, how they differentiate instruction for reading and math (if your child is advancing more rapidly than other children, will they allow her or him to go ahead, or vice-versa). "
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