If the School says NO Tour

You took the Two Tour Pledge, you’re calling a school to set up a time to visit, your heart is full of goodwill, and the office staff respond “Nope. No. No, we don’t do tours.”

It’s disappointing – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the school hates you. They might just be strapped in the admin department, they might never have had that request, they might be busy teaching kids. But do not despair! Here are some things YOU can do:

  • Do your own research. Spend more than just a few minutes on the googler because many school websites are difficult to find; be willing to dig for it. And be open-hearted… lots of public schools are busy doing schooly stuff and aren’t killing it in the world of marketing and web design (it’s a brave new school-choice world). Some school websites are designed by kids or parents who are volunteering lots of hours and might not even feel comfortable speaking English. The website does not define the school.
  • Ask if there is an active parent who would be willing just hang out with you a bit on campus.
  • Be flexible enough to not call this a tour. Ask admin what they would be willing to do. They might say “come pick up your enrollment packet and we can talk.”
  • Ask if there is a teacher who would let you come help in their classroom for a bit. There might be rules about volunteers on campus (don’t be peeved if the school shuts the idea down), but maybe not, it’s worth a shot. If nothing else, it shows that you are more than just an entitledy customer.
  • Ask if there are any community events like fairs/festivals/talent shows/plays/movie nights/etc that you could bring your kid to. Or, even better, ask if you can help bag popcorn.
  • Also, try again.

Don’t expect the school to drop everything and cater to your prospective parent needs. Again, their job is teaching kids and not always hugging you. The era of choice has often left public schools behind; public schools don’t have the cash to throw at marketing. The schools with the glossy brochures have glossy brochures… but the glossy brochures don’t necessarily reflect the guts of the schools. And same goes for schools without glossy brochures. Don’t conflate quality with gloss.