When moving to a new town or city, families usually choose their new home based on the school system. But how do you narrow down the many schools? And how do you do this from a distance? Here are some tips which will help ensure you find the right school for your kids when moving.
Make a list of qualities you want in a school
Get a piece of paper and write down all of the qualities you see in the “ideal” school. Is the school large or small? How many teachers are there per student? Is it a public school or private school? What classes do the children take? What extracurricular activities are offered? It may help you to think about what qualities you like in the current school, and which ones you don’t like or didn’t work well for your child.
Gather a list of schools in the area you are moving to
If you are moving because of work, then you will need to coordinate your work location with the school location. Look on a map and consider realistically how long you are willing to commute to work. Circle the commute area on the map. Then see which schools fall into these areas. You can then compile a list of schools in the area using online sources, such as greatschools.org and district websites.
Get the stats on each school
You can easily find the stats for each school in your list. You will want to gather info like test scores, college attendance rates, total number of students, student to teacher ratio, and enrollment processes. Try to be flexible. For example, you might not envision your child in a large school, but the program might actually be the best fit for your child.
Don’t make it all about test scores
A lot of parents focus on standardized test scores when choosing a new school for their child. While this can often be an indication of a good school, it doesn’t necessarily mean the school will be right for your child. Think about what is important for your child to thrive – such as having a good music program or media department – and make this your priority.
Be ready to interview the principals
After you get the stats on each school, you will need to contact them directly. Ideally, you would visit each school individually but this isn’t always possible when choosing a new school from a distance. Be sure you have your questions ready for the principal! Your questions should be detailed, such as “how does the school handle bullying?” and “What extracurricular programs are most popular?” The way that the administrator answers these questions will also give you an idea into how involved they are.