Exceptional educators share what they look for in a high school

Get tips on what to look, listen, and feel for as you tour a potential high school for your child.
YouTube video

What should you look for when looking at a high school?

As parents, it’s easy to be focused on things like programs (Do they have swimming?) and buildings (How’s the cafeteria?). So we asked award-winning educators who run some of the most successful high schools in the country: What would you look for?

Surprisingly, they don’t have a checklist of programs or practices. Instead, they look for telltale signs of an excellent high school in the way the school is organized and in the interactions between students and teachers.

This video is part of our Transforming High School series, a collection of articles, videos, podcasts, and tools exploring the practices that prepare students for success in college and beyond.

Explore more about how excellent high schools work:

Thank you to Teacher Scott Frank and Principal Yadhira Flores at IDEA Frontier College Prep, Principal Paul Covey of Valle Verde Early College High School, and all of the excellent students, teachers, and leaders at Northstar Academy, DSST, Design Tech High, and Marshall High School.

About the author

GreatSchools.org is a national nonprofit with a mission to help every child obtain a high-quality education that values their unique abilities, identities, and aspirations. We believe in the power of research-backed, actionable information to empower parents, family members, and educators to help make this happen. For 25 years, the GreatSchools Editorial Team has been working to make the latest, most important, and most actionable research in education, learning, and child development accessible and actionable for parents through articles, videos, podcasts, hands-on learning resources, email and text messaging programs, and more. Our team consists of journalists, researchers, academics, former teachers and education leaders — most of whom are also dedicated parents and family members — who not only research, fact check, and write or produce this information, but who use it in our daily lives as well. We welcome your feedback at editorial@greatschools.org.