You may be considering a number of different neighborhoods as part of your decisions process when moving. Find your ideal school in that new potential neighborhood may be part of what you are considering. Here are some starting points to begin your research into finding a school that is right for your family.
Step 1: Ask yourself some important questions. Consider your family's values and what means the most to you in a school setting. Do some soul searching. Here are some questions to get you started.
- What are some of the places my child has thrived in the past? What was the common trait among all of those experiences?
- Do we prefer a more traditional or a more alternative approach to the educational style?
- How important are extracurricular and enrichment opportunities?
- What kind of contributions can we make as a family such as time or money?
- Ask yourself some important questions. Consider your family's values and what means the most to you in a school setting. Do some soul searching. Here are some questions to get you started.
Step 2: Learn more by talking to people you know. Whether you are moving to the next town over or across the country put out the word to your network and don't be afraid to ask them for information. Send emails, connect with other parents and toss it out there on Facebook or other social media. Ask your friends to share your social media posts so they gain more exposure. You may be surprised at the connections that come up and the information you can glean from someone you may not have expected it from. Your new connections and the new information may even lead you to consider a school that wasn't on your radar before.
Step 3: Call the school directly for more information. Once you’ve found a few options in the neighborhoods you are considering, use the American School Directory (“ASD”), a paid subscription service, to contact each school and find more nuanced information. ASD provides phone numbers, email addresses where available, and a map of the campus for every school in the country. When you reach a school by phone, you can ask to be sent any school catalogs by mail along with any other printed material available, particularly about how this school or district compares to others in the area.
Step 4: Check out the school's website. Most schools these days have their own websites and they can give you a lot of information about that school. You may be able to see newsletters, PTA meeting notes and photos. You may be able to take a look at any certificates or awards the school or teachers have won and even take a look at any school calendars to give you a sense of school and community events hosted through out the year.
Once you feel you have a found a strong candidate of a school you may also consider visiting the school in person to gather more detailed information and direct answers to your questions. Be sure to consider multiple points of data and use sources like Great Schools and School Digger to help you compile your data. There are also parent reviews of the school on each website to consider as well.
Happy school hunting!