What is the basic philosophy of the school?
Does the school have a written, clear mission statement that describes its fundamental goals and basic
philosophy? Do the goals enumerate the academic expectations of students? Are staff, students and parents
aware of what it is that the school seeks to accomplish, what students are expected to learn and what the role
of adults is in the learning process? Is progress toward these goals monitored and/or evaluated?
Does the school have strong educational leadership?
What is the educational background, and experience of the educational leader of the school? Has the leadership
established a positive, safe and secure environment for learning? Is the leadership effectively utilizing
available resources? Does the leader have knowledge of curriculum organization, is accessible to students,
staff and parents, monitors classrooms and the teaching process, knows whether the curriculum goals of the
school are being achieved, keeps the staff current in their knowledge of educational research and
What is the quality of the instructional staff?
What is the educational level, background and experience of the teaching staff? Do the teachers have an
understanding of child growth and development and knowledge of the psychology of learning? Do they make
learning fun and exciting for students? What is the turnover rate of the teaching staff?
Is there an emphasis on academic achievement?
Is the focus of the school on student learning and achievement? What importance do the basic skills, i.e.
reading, written and oral language and mathematics, have in the curriculum? Are there educational standards
for each grade?
Are there ample opportunities for students to explore the creative arts, i.e. music, drama, art, dance,
physical education, etc.? Is the school viewed as a place where learning takes place? How are individual
differences of students handled, i.e. ethnic background, gifted students, or those needing additional
Is student work displayed in the classroom and throughout the school? What is the homework policy and is
homework an extension of the educational program?
Does the school have a positive climate for learning?
Do the students experience positive feelings about their school and learning? Do students show pride in their
school? Is there a caring interaction between students and teachers? Does the staff appear to have a positive
attitude about their mission?
What additional services does the school provide?
Are there programs for special needs students? Are there before and after school arrangements for working
parents? Does the school offer extra-curricular activities such as sports, scouting, ballet, gymnastics, piano
and instrumental music lessons, drama, clubs, chorus, band, etc.?
Is the Environment of the school safe and orderly?
Is discipline handled in accordance with the way you feel it should be handled? Is there a clear statement of
behavioral expectations? Are there discipline standards and rules established and communicated to students,
staff and parents? Are the consequences for poor behavior fair and consistent? Is good behavior encouraged and
rewarded? Is it clear that all adults in the school are responsible for the behavior of all students?
Does the physical plant facilitate learning?
Is the environment safe and pleasing? Is the school clean, neat and orderly? Is there adequate heat and/or air
conditioning? Are there special facilities for assembly areas, library, gymnasium, etc.?
Is the use of technology evident?
Do students have access to computers and the Internet that help them learn to research, compose and integrate
their learning? Is there professional staff available who are well trained in technology? Are students
encouraged to express their ideas in a variety of ways, including print, film, and computer enhanced
Are there opportunities for parents to be involved in the school?
What evidence is there that there is strong support from parents? Are parents well informed about the school
program, disciplinary procedures, homework expectations and their role in the educational program for their
child(ren)? Are parents encouraged to volunteer in the classrooms? Do parents have the opportunity to provide
input to the teacher regarding the education of their child(ren)? What communication tools does the school use
in keeping parents informed of school activities, curriculum, etc.?
We offer this list to any individual, group or organization involved in either deciding for themselves
or assisting others in the school selection process. We give you the right to copy this document in any
quantity to share. We do ask that you credit us at IAEE. Also, we would like to offer our assistance in making
sure that the rational process our questions suggest are clear to people you represent or with whom you
Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.
Charles W. Lavaroni, MA
International Academy for
23 Peacock Drive
San Rafael, CA 94901