Spring is a great time to think about making changes for the next school year. If you are re-evaluating your family’s educational choices, here are some great questions to ask when looking for a school for your child:


Does the school prove to be strong academically?


Besides offering core subjects, strong academic programs should have classes like philosophy, logic, creative writing, etc. Ask about the curriculum. Bonus points if they teach above grade level or have earned accolades by third parties.


How does the school encourage critical and creative thinking?


Beyond teaching facts, teachers should nurture curiosity. Find out how the school arms students with a toolbox for long-term success – in school and beyond.


At Self Development Academy, we develop reason, logic, resourcefulness, imagination, innovation, and other critical and creative thinking skills in our students. This results in more confident, capable, and autonomous problem solvers in school and in their lives after.


What qualifications do teachers have?


Depending on whether the school is public, private, or charter, they may have different qualifications for their teachers. Beyond the resume answer, find out what the principal or head of school values most in their teachers for the age of your child. For example, here are the criteria for teachers at Self Development Academy:

How large are the classes?


Research varies in linking class performance to academic performance. However, common sense tells us that students suffer when teachers are spread too thin. Make sure your school has interventions and enrichment activities that fit your child.


What extracurricular activities does the school offer?


Extracurricular activities should not only be a place students discover their passions and gifts. They should also be free to try new things, fail, be challenged, and discover their weaknesses. A robust extracurricular program will include music programs, sports, and science and math clubs.


Are there tutoring programs available?


Tutoring programs help struggling students to catch up. In addition to tutoring programs, some schools like Self Development Academy have gifted programs. No matter where your student falls, make sure the school meets his needs.


What recognitions or special achievements has the school earned?


Websites like niche.com evaluate and rate schools and their teachers. It’s also important to consider the history of the school. How far have they come? What population do they serve? Also, there is so much more to education than test scores, but know where the school lands in that area too!


What do other parents and students say?


Read online reviews. Talk to neighbors, community leaders, and friends. Find out what the school’s reputation is in the community.


How did the school handle the pandemic?


Since Covid-19, schools have had to pivot, create new policies and procedures, and listen to the needs and desires of their families. While no one expects or hopes to go through that again, we can glean more about a school’s values, visions, and priorities by how it responded. Make sure your school lines up with your principles.


Where should I begin my search in Arizona?


Self Development Academy is a K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum.  In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa. If you are interested in our schools, contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information. We would love to have you!


If you appreciated these 10 questions to ask when looking for a school, or if you have more to add, share this or send us a message!