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Sunday, July 3, 2011

How is Your School Doing?

From the Change of Address blog:

10 Ways to Find Out How Good the School System is in a New Area

When you’re planning to move to a new area, one of your biggest concerns is going to be the quality of the schools in the area. Doing a drive-by look at a school or even visiting the school website will give you very little idea of the quality of the education that your children might receive there.
  1. – This site allows you to look at the data from the  ‘School Report Cards’ issued by the state’s Department of Education. With a free membership, you can see general data by county for some of the previous years, but not the previous year’s data. For more detailed and more current information, a paid membership is required.
  2. – This is a location based forum where posters asks questions of each other about different cities and areas. It is a great place to get the views of actual residents of an area without having to go door to door with a survey.
  3. – A paid membership is required for this site, but it does have options as short as one month. The site will allow you to search for neighborhoods in your new location, which have the best school systems and lowest crime rates. The reports provided are very detailed.
  4. – On this site you can find ratings on the schools in the area that you are looking at. There may also be reviews on specific schools posted by other visitors to the site. The site is free to use and no registration is required.
  5. – This is a paid internet service for anyone looking for information on a school or college, and compares both public and private schools. The information is very thorough, since it is designed to be used, not just by parents, but also by teachers and school administrators who are looking for positions.
  6. – Free customizable searches of schools anywhere in the nation. Search information based on what is important to you. Much of the same information that you would find on paid membership sites can be found here for free.
  7. – If you are looking for basic statistics and also recent news items regarding the school district you select. The use of the site is free for anyone without registration.
  8. – You can choose up to three schools in an area to compare side-by-side on this site. It will compare enrollments, reading and math proficiencies and ethnicity breakdowns.
  9. Visit the Schools – Take the time to make appointments with the principals of area schools and visit them yourself. This will give you the opportunity to see the conditions of the school yourself and to ask the questions that are most important to you.
  10. Ask for Referrals – Whether it is new co-workers or family, ask about their knowledge of the schools in the areas you are considering. You may be surprised with the information that you can collect from the people right around you.
There are plenty of resources available to help you find just the information you need to make a decision on which schools will be the best choice for your kids.

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