If you have a family, and you are thinking about buying a home, a nearby school should be a large part of your decision making. Not only will the school serve to educate your children, but also having a good one close by will add substantial value to your home.

The following a guide to help sort out what exactly makes a good school, and what questions you should ask.

Attributes Of A Good School

School Safety:

Both students and staff should feel completely safe when they are in school and surrounding property. This does not mean they have a zero tolerance policy in their school charter. It means that money is invested in security systems, proper emergency response systems, and teachers feel that they can enforce safety policy without risk to their own health and safety.

Full Staff:

A full school staff is comprised of comprised of qualified teachers, administrators, educational assistants, secretaries, custodians and professional student support staff who work together to provide a program to meet the needs of all students. This also includes educational assistants that can offer different programs and the support for students with special needs. School secretaries and custodial staff also play a large role in how comfortable a child feels in that environment. The teaching staff at the school is the most important members of any school's staff. You should look for staff that has high expectations for your children. Teachers with a general sense of apathy should be avoided. You should also look for teachers who come from diverse teaching backgrounds. They will teach in different manners and the students will retain more information, with a little variety. School administrators. These are the folks you never saw in school, but they were always there pulling the strings. Find out the record of the current administrators. What initiatives have they brought to other schools? Do they have sound credentials? Do they believe in the same educational principles as you? These are all crucial questions.

Curriculum and Report Cards:

No matter what you think the value of some programs are, you should look for a school that has a diversity of programs. This includes, liberal arts, science, math and physical education. Also, these disciplines should be available to students of all aptitude. There should be a mandate to treat all students with the same attention. This means that university bounds students aren't given special treatment or more attention. There should also be education initiatives that go beyond the regular curriculum. For instance the school should have, anti-racism education and possible even work-study co-op programs. The students must also know exactly what their progress is. This is best realized with frequent and descriptive report cards and parent teacher interviews on a consistent basis.

Support Services and Delivery:

Opinion on guidance counselors seems to be fundamentally. Some people say that they would have not made it to where they are without their high-school guidance counselors. But, even more people say that they'd wished that their high-school guidance counselor could have helped them more. When researching a school guidance counselor you should make sure that they have at least four priorities. Career education. Identifying students needs. Monitoring individual as well as group progress. Personal, non-academic counseling. Support staff can create a very good school atmosphere is they know what they are doing. They should be an impartial liaison between the student and his adult teachers.

Extracurricular Activities and Programs:

Getting together really good extracurricular activities and clubs requires that they staff volunteer to spend time with the students during non-school hours. While some volunteer work is often included in many teacher contracts, it takes a lot more than work to rule to make for successful extracurricular. Funding is also a major factor in the quality of extracurricular. Without proper funding many activities are impossible. The money should also be spread out evenly. For instance; the football team should not get all of the cash just because it is the most popular. The chess team, which operates in relative seclusion deserves that money just as much. This means that there should also be a diversity of activities. Every athletic club should have boys and girls options (with some exceptions), academic clubs should be treated as well as athletic ones. Therefore, there should be a botany club that is an alternative for those who don't like sports. This also means that depending on the needs, each club should get a proportional sum relative to their expenses. Chess sets are cheap, football helmets are not.

Town and Gown:

While having a school near by is key for anyone wishing to invest in residential real estate, it can also be a curse. If your home is directly beside a school, you may have high traffic in the morning, noisy afternoons, and even the occasional egg thrown at your home. Chalk this up to kids will be kids, but also try and purchase a home that has a significant buffer. On the schools end, they should teach civic responsibility and they should also organize events that allow the community and the students to interact. This can be in the form of charity drives, dances and sporting events. It also means that as a parent you will be expected to chip in and do your share. It's a rewarding venture to be sure.

Ongoing Evaluation of Staff:

Such communities, often called collaborative schools, are essential for success; there is a documented relationship between schools as professional communities and student achievement. In those schools, the staff: pursues a clear purpose for student learning engages in collaborative activity takes collaborative responsibility for student learning Professional development must be supported with adequate resources, including time during the working day, and must be based on the needs of the whole staff. No business would survive on what boards spend on PD - less than 1% of classroom expenditure. Professional Development should include specific, targeted Curriculum and Assessment Implementation Days during the regular school year. These would form the basis of a cyclical review of all curriculum and assessment policy. Private Schools: You may be looking to place your children into a private school. This is a great investment in your children's education if you can afford it. Private schools also have the advantage that they can make their own curriculum and they are not hemmed in by cumbersome national education policy. It also means that as a parent you will be able to expect more accountability from staff and teachers. This can be a double edged sword. While private schools are keen on maintaining their reputation, they will bend to far to accommodate one child. If you have a problem with the education, they may just suggest that you take the child out of the school. As far as property value, private schools can do wonders. There are often fewer students, so the noise factor is diminished. The students are generally better behaved, and the campuses are usually well maintained and beautiful.