If you have children, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a new place to live is the school they will be going to. Some parents won’t even consider a home that isn’t in a preferred school district.
There are options when it comes to choosing the right school for your child. They don’t necessarily have to go to the public school in the new home’s school district (though occupancy limits and other restrictions may apply, so do your research first) and there are other options like private schools.
To make the right choice for your children, here are some things to think about when researching schools in your new community.
Choosing the Right School for Your Kids
Private vs Public Schools
The biggest question you face when choosing a school is whether you want your children to attend a private or public school. Both have their pros and cons. The choice comes down to your kids’ individual needs and the schools in the area.
While private schools have large intuitions that can put a stress on you financially, the benefits may be worth the investment if your child has specific needs that cannot be met at a public school. Private schools match the pace of the individual child whereas public schools have to follow a rigid curriculum. There are also tend to be smaller class sizes, more individualized learning, and a focus on subjects not available in public schools (such as lessons on morality in religious institutions).
There are many public schools that offer wonderful curriculums, have dedicated staff members, and can offer your children a great education. Most of the kids in your new neighborhood will likely attend the nearest public school, as well, making it easier for your kids to make friends, and you’ll save money that you can invest in extra-curricular activities and family vacations instead of on tuition.
Every school and child are different, so take the time to do your research and perhaps talk to a local counselor for some professional guidance.
Check out school report cards
You can find out how a school performs by checking out their school report card. Websites like GreatSchools.org and The National Center for Education Statistics offer all sorts of data on schools such as test scores, teacher quality, graduation rates, and more. Doing your research on the schools’ rankings and other information will help you make an informed decision on which school will offer the best education for your child.
Take a tour of the school
Letting your fingers do the walking is only half of the research, but the next step is to see the schools in person. Numbers and data can only tell you so much. By taking a tour of each potential school, you’ll be able to get a better feel for what each place is like and see firsthand how it operates. Take the time to talk to the principal and other staff and watch how the kids behave. Also, bring your child with you so they, too, can get a feel for everything and offer their own interpretation. Sometimes, they see things that you may overlook.
Talk to neighbors
Another great way to learn about each school is to talk to people who have direct experiences with them. Talk to your new neighbors and visit local establishments to ask about people’s personal experiences with the schools and what they have heard about them. You’ll be able to gain a much clearer picture of what to expect. Be sure to ask several people to get a broader picture, since some people may be biased.
Consider the community
Another important aspect to consider is what the community is like at each school. Do they have a lot of activities? Are the teachers invested in their students’ success? Are the schools involved in the community as a whole? What is the school’s mission statement? Think about the experience you want your child to have and keep that in mind when you are researching each potential establishment.