School Choices: What to Look For?

Jennifer Merritt:

Tomorrow morning my husband and I are going on our very first public school tour. Our son is only 3, but he’ll be attending universal pre-kindergarten next year and we hope to make use of the good public schools in our area. We’ve also been encouraged to attend tours at two other elementary schools in our district and to make use of a kindergarten fair held at a nearby YWHA next week. It seems awfully soon to think about kindergarten for a kid who enters in fall of 2010. But as other parents have pointed out to me, there’s a lottery system in place in New York City and knowing which schools you are most interested in is important.
After I got over the surprise of school tours taking place a full four months before applications were even available, I realized something. I don’t really know what to look for in a school. Outside of a desire for smaller class size, caring teachers and a decent reputation in the community, I’m not really sure what these tours and fairs are supposed to teach me.