Newcomers to the area might wonder “are St. Louis schools any good?” That is a far-too-vague question. St. Louis and the surrounding counties have no shortage of schools that can provide a quality education, have dedicated teachers, and offer wonderful sports and extracurricular activities.
Instead, parents should ask which type of school is right for their kids, and do some research on the individual schools in their target area. There are websites like greatschools.org that rank schools based on a number of factors. Whatever method you use to choose a school, remember that just any single element—good test scores, a successful sports program, a beautiful campus—never tells the complete story. Dig a little deeper and consider some of these:
Staff. Find out what you can about the principals, superintendent, and teachers in a given school district. Their qualifications and longevity in their jobs can make a difference. If the school has a Facebook page, see how the staff communicates with parents, students, and the public.
Parents. Are the parents active in school activities? What type of interactions do they have with the staff? If possible, see if you can find some current school parents to talk to.
Specialized Learning and Extracurricular. If your child would benefit from accelerated, advanced-placement classes, or special education classes, be sure to see what the school has to offer. Do they have programs for STEM or vocational education? The same goes for children who are involved in athletics, music, or the arts. Make sure the school can accommodate the child’s interests or needs.
Extras. Does your child need a school that offers tutoring, before- or after-school programs, summer school, or meals? Add these to your shopping list.
Atmosphere. Just as you will tour homes, arrange for a tour of the schools in the area. Pay attention to how friendly people are, how well stocked the library is, security and safety, and the overall feeling of the environment. Does it seem like a place where your child will thrive?