07/16/2014 10:56 am ET | Updated Sep 15, 2014

The School Research Cheat Sheet

Summer is in full swing, but school is right around the corner. Therefore, my next set of blogs will help parents get ready for the school experience, regardless of what stage you children are in.

The first burning question:

How do I research schools for my children? (Disclaimer: I have two daughters all with kids under five, so this is what I see in both my professional and personal life.)

The answer:

Use the following questions in your search. Make a spreadsheet and include the following: school, address, website, principal, grades, date for tour, application due date, status of application. Here is a set of relevant criteria to use in your process.

Who: Public or Private

A. Characteristics of school
B. Goal and philosophy
C. School population
D. Class size
E. Diversity

What: Are the specific details you need to know?

A. Teachers, degrees, assistants
B. How many per students per class
C. Principal's/Headmaster's vision
D. Specialists
E. Classroom climate
F. Curriculum
G. Communication
H. Safety and security
I. Other relevant specifics like language programs, etc.

Where: Location

A. Travel time from your home
B. Transportation
C. Extracurricular activities
D. Early morning drop off and/or late afternoon pickup
E. Parents association
F. Peer groups
G. Neighborhood
H. Friends
J. Religion


A. What age does school begin?
B. What age must your child be to start school?
C. Admission policies
D. Testing procedures
E. Specific age grouping
F. Specific questions like summer birthdays, etc.


A. Tuition
B. Additional expenses
C. Financial commitments and arrangements
D. Extras like uniforms, books, etc.


A. What are the reasons for choosing this school?
B. What is my child like?
C. What is the climate of the school?

These questions just get you started to think about your school process whether it's public or private. For more information and specific questions, email me at and we will connect.