Helpful Tips For Evaluating A School District

Considering a move to the suburbs? If so, finding a great home in an excellent school district may well be at the top of your list. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have school-age children, a community's highly regarded public school system helps to ensure strong market value and a consistently high demand for property. Here are a few tips to get you started on finding the right school district for your family:

1.Visit the school district website in the communities you are thinking about moving to. The site should provide such comprehensive information as:

  • Number of schools in the district
  • Size of each school’s student and faculty body
  • Availability of learning support services and differentiated learning programs.
  • Detailed curriculum information
  • Electives
  • Extra-curricular programs
  • Disciplinary policies
  • Athletic offerings
  • College acceptance rates and results
  • PTO activities

2. Visit the Institute of Educational Statistics at nces.ed.gov, which analyzes data related to education and allows you to look for information about public and private schools, colleges, and libraries in the communities you are researching,

3. Explore school districts you are interested in at helpful online sites such as Education.comand GreatSchools.org, which will allow you to compare statistics for schools and school districts, as well as link to local community information and parent blogs.

4. When evaluating and comparing school districts be sure to examine such indicators as:

  • Class size
  • Student-to-teacher ratio
  • Standardized test results
  • Number and range of Advanced Placement (AP) courses
  • Average SAT/ACT scores
  • College matriculation results

5. Some progressive districts offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programs in high school geared toward preparing students for a global education, which is often of interest to parents from other countries.

6. Go see for yourself! Because you want to be thorough, I suggest that you tour the schools you are interested in, interview faculty and administrators, and, if possible, talk to parents about their experiences and recommendations.

7. Lastly, ask your Realtor about local property values and how they relate to the public school district. Your Realtor is prohibited by law from telling you whether a school is good or not, and cannot not steer you to one district over another. However, he/she may be able to give you the benefit of his/her personal experience, and can certainly put you in touch with other families in the area who have children in the school district, as well as local district officials, principals, teachers, athletic coaches, and past and current clients.

Fiona Dogan is a Licensed Realtor® in the Rye office of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. She is a Westchester Five Star Real Estate Agent, Platinum Award winner, and an Accredited Buyer Representative. For more information, please contact Fiona Dogan at: fiona.dogan@jbfsir.com or visit her website at www.fionadogan.com.

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