A great school is one that provides its students with a well-rounded and comprehensive education, while also fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment. Great schools become institutions and are cornerstones of great communities.
In my 21 years in education and working with thousands of schools and school administrators, there are several themes that jump out and are consistent from great school to great school. Those themes include leadership, curriculum, programs, values, and community.
First and foremost, a great school should have a strong academic curriculum that challenges and engages students at all levels. This includes a diverse range of subjects, including math, science, literature, history, and the arts. Additionally, the school should offer advanced classes, such as honors and AP courses, for students who wish to be challenged further.
A great school also provides its students with access to cutting-edge computer science curricula that cover technology literacy, business technology, and computer programming along with the appropriate resources that aid in their learning and preparation for the future.
Furthermore, a great school should have dedicated and qualified teachers who are passionate about their subjects and are able to create a positive and stimulating learning environment. They should also be able to connect with students and provide them with individualized attention and support.
A great school also has a low student-teacher ratio, which allows for more one-on-one interaction and personalized instruction, and access to the most up-to-date technology tools.
Beyond academics, a great school should also offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs that allow students to explore their interests and passions. These activities should be inclusive and diverse, catering to a wide range of student interests, including sports, music, drama, robotics, debate, and many more.
A great school also should provide opportunities for leadership development, volunteer and community services, which will help students develop their social, emotional, and civic skills.
Additionally, a great school should have a positive and inclusive culture, which promotes acceptance, kindness, and respect among students, staff, and faculty. This includes promoting a safe and secure learning environment, where students feel comfortable expressing themselves, and where different perspectives and ideas are welcomed and respected.
In summary, a great school is one that has a strong academic curriculum, access to current learning technology, dedicated teachers, a low student-teacher ratio, a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs, catering to a wide and diverse range of student interests, and opportunities to be a leader in a safe and inclusive environment.