Does anyone have a list of questions that they recommend be asked when visiting a new school? We are touring the alternative schools the school district has offered and I want to be sure to ask all the right questions!

1. Ask for a copy of the student handbook to take home and read. . 2. Ask about the availability of teachers before and after school. . 3. Take notice of interactions between teachers and students (my Diva went to a school that impressed me right away when I ALWAYS heard positive statements of encouragement from the teachers.) . 4. Ask what time lunch is and if there is a morning snack what the policy is for that. . 5. Ask what the discipline policy is. Even if you don't plan on having it used, it does tell alot about how the school handles students. Do they try to work with the student to learn from his/her mistakes or do they like to lay down the punishment at the first sign of trouble? a. I personally would not allow my child to attend a school where the discipline policy is that both kids automatically are punished for fighting. It is so not fair to the victim because the bully doesn't care if he/she gets into trouble so long as the victim suffers. They really need to talk to both sides and get to the bottom of the problem before handing out punishment. The victim needs to be given tools to deal with the bully, not punishment for protecting him/herself and standing up for themself. . 6. Ask about homework. Is there a lot? Is there time in school to work on it? . 7. What extra curriuculum activities are available? (sometimes if the school doesn't have their own, the students are allowed to tap into a nearby school's) . 8. Is there a school nurse? If so, what hours is she actually at the school? (the schools my kids go to have a school nurse but she was only available for about 1/2 hour in the morning at Diva's school and no set days/times at difficult child's school) .

Adding: Ask what the schedule for the day is. Are there "easier" classes between the "harder" ones? What time is Math and Science? (I am a morning person and the harder classes would best fit me right away in the morning. What time is best for your difficult child for these "harder" classes?)

What is the student/teacher ratio in general ed classrooms? What is the student/teacher ratio in Special Education classrooms? For kids with IEP's/504's who are placed in general ed classrooms, will there be a sped teacher or a para in the room to assist? Every day? Teacher tenure - do most of them stay on year after year, or is it a revolving door of teachers who need a job, and transfer out at the first opportunity? Since you're visiting alternative schools in your district - I don't know the age of your child, but ask about building security. Is there an on site law enforcement officer? If not, who is in charge of building security? All the schools have to keep track of "incidents". Ask about them. If the school isn't forthcoming with that information, you can probably get it from the city and/or police dept. Both compile statistics. If you're checking out the high school, ask about graduation statistics.