School Rankings and Apartment Hunting
If you have kids (or you’re planning to), choosing an apartment near great school options is important. Aside from considering how many bedrooms and bathrooms are needed, many people search for new residences based on school rankings. If you want your children to attend the best schools, here’s how to research the best school districts. Then you can use them as location parameters for apartment hunting.
The State Department of Education
Each state has a web page for its department of education. On it, you’ll find all kinds of information about each school district in your state. Attendance records, state standardized test scores, school ratings, and enrollment reports are just a few of the public statistics you can find within your state’s department of education website.
Connect with Parents
With a quick search of Google, it won’t take long to connect with other parents. Search for terms like “[City Name] Parent Teacher Organization” or “[School District] PTA” to connect with other parents in the school districts you’re researching. They can provide you with inside information about the best schools in the area.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, call a school district’s main line and pose your questions. They will probably share contact information to help guide your search.
It’s amazing what you can find out just by posting a simple question on Facebook or Twitter. Ask your followers (or tag influential locals) to solicit their opinions on the best school districts.
You may get some great experiences or terrible horror stories. Remember that any one story is anecdotal, so dig deeper if you have a concern. Many schools and districts now maintain Facebook pages where users can leave a star rating and review.
Websites that Rate Schools
Websites like GreatSchools.org and NeighborhoodScout.com are also good sources for you to tap. You may have to subscribe in order to access the info they provide, but it will be detailed and current. Before you subscribe, check to see which subscriptions can be cancelled when you no longer need it.
Visit a School or Two
You won’t be able to really judge a school district until you actually visit a school and see its facilities. What looks great online may not be a good match in reality. Schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member or attend an event, to see what you think. An in-person visit is the best way to determine the best schools for your needs.
Talk with Residents
Find ways to meet people who live in the school district you’re interested in, and chat with them about their experiences and impressions. Consider walking your dog in the school district you’re curious about, or attend a neighborhood event. Think about eating or shopping in places near the school and strike up conversations with savvy locals.
With a little time and research, you can easily find more information on the school districts in your area. As you consider a new place to live, keep in mind that living in a high-quality school district may mean higher costs of living or higher taxes. Every situation is unique, so make an informed decision for you and your family when it comes to school rankings.
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