Researching the Best School Districts: How to Prepare for Your Child’s Future During Your Move
A Project for Parents...
If you have kids, or are thinking of starting a family in the near future, we think researching the best school districts, in addition to considering local safety resources, playgrounds, parks, and summer camps, should be a major priority during your moving process. Though this might sound daunting (what does "best" mean, exactly?), there are amazing resources out there for parents just like you. If you organized your move around a specific school district already, awesome job! If you're just starting the process, though, or are only just beginning to wonder about when you and your partner might have kids, we've got your back. Here are some of the best sites we've come across:
Niche is a well-known resource for high school students researching colleges, but did you know they've got lists of the best K-12 school districts as well? Their 2022 list is highly detailed and wide-ranging, and we recommend giving it a shot. You can refine your search with various categories, including the best college prep, that offer a more personalized and focused view of your options.
U.S. News, of course, is a leader in the field of school ranking. Like Niche, they've got a K-12 list we highly recommend.
As you go through these lists, visit the websites of each school or district individually and research them carefully over an extended period of time before committing.
GreatSchools is a fantastic non-profit that provides research and guidance to over 49 million parents in the U.S. every year. Their dedication to helping parents provide their kids with a great education is inspiring, and we think their resources are outstanding.
After doing research around sites like these, we recommend trying to speak to local parents directly. Whether it's through Facebook, LinkedIn, or a mutual friend, getting to know someone with experience in the area is invaluable. If you've got a school or district in mind for your child, try to schedule a tour at the school itself and visit with parents whose children attend it to get as much information as possible.
Above All, Put Your Child First
Remember not to let these great research options distract you from what you think will be best for your child, despite ratings. If one school is highly rated, but doesn't have a good arts program, which you know your child would really benefit from, keep looking. Ratings are great indicators of quality, and especially of wide-ranging resources and options for students, but it's essential to put your child's unique skills, preferences, and hopes for the future before any rating on a website.
This is where the one-on-one meetings with local parents are especially important. You can be completely candid with them, asking about their children, what they're interested in, and how a particular school or district accommodates those interests while also encouraging further exploration and experimentation across disciplines. Did they choose a district that wasn't prominent on any of the lists but turned out to be fantastic for their child? Did they initially go with a highly ranked district, only to switch later? Or have highly ranked districts proven to be great for them? Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.
Some details to pay particular attention to during your search could include:
- S.T.E.(A).M. programs
- Arts programs
- Accommodations for physical and learning disabilities
- Athletic facilities and initiatives
- Class size
These tips are meant to be a starting point for an important decision, and you should feel free to modify this advice according to your family's circumstances. When it comes time to make the move, keep us in mind, and muuv moving company will be here to help however it can!