Congratulations—you’re on the move! Gathering no moss! Ready to rock and roll! Moving to a new place is the hallmark of a new beginning, whether it be on account of landing a new job, wanting to be closer to loved ones, or simply desiring a fresh start. Making a big move for any reason takes courage, and good on you for igniting the change.
However, moving comes with a seemingly endless to-do list. From finding a new home, packing all of your belongings, hiring movers, and everything in between, you are also tasked with finding a new school for your kid. But where do you begin?
Have a heart-to-heart conversation.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the many adult responsibilities that come with moving, that you may forget just how difficult moving can be for a child. They have to leave behind school friends and a familiar environment. They may be worried about making new friends, fitting in, and keeping up with new classes. Be sure to reassure your child that moving is a positive experience in the long run.
Knowing your kid is also extremely beneficial in your search. Their learning style and interests can be helpful in narrowing your options, especially if you’re deciding between charter and magnet schools with different focuses.
Make a list (and check it twice).
Determine what’s important to you in a school and what kind of education you want your child to receive. Include the more traditional (high test scores, low student-to-teacher ratio, etc.) along with more modern considerations (fostering emotional intelligence, creativity, unique offerings, etc.). If your kid has strong interests, you may be able to find a charter or magnet school in your new location that caters to their individual strengths, whether it be science, art, language, design, or something else entirely.
Use all of your resources.
There are plenty of tools available online to aid you in your search. Some of our top picks are:
- GreatSchools.org is the leading national nonprofit empowering parents to unlock educational opportunities for their children. Apartments.com pulls data from this site to provide the ratings for schools listed in the Local Guides as well.
- SchoolDigger.com aggregates data from multiple government sources to empower parents to make informed choices while selecting a school for their children. This site is especially useful for learning about a school’s test scores, rankings, boundaries, and any other relevant metrics.
- Niche.com uses data from the U.S. Department of Education and over 60 million K-12 school reviews and survey responses to help families find the right school for them. Niche can also help you learn more about various cities and neighborhoods before you move.
Don’t forget about your human resources! Your new neighbors ought to know a thing or two about the schools in the area. Hear parent and student perspectives from the source as opposed to the overwhelmingly positive endorsements listed on a school’s website (because who would bother to put a negative endorsement on their website?).
Pay the school a little visit.
The best way to decide if a school is a good fit is to go and visit. Experience the atmosphere firsthand while touring the facilities. Meet with school administrators and ask any questions you may have. Here are some sample questions to ask when looking for a new school:
- How do teachers accommodate different learning styles in the classroom?
- What kinds of clubs and extracurricular activities do you offer?
- How does the school handle behavioral issues?
It all comes down to what you feel is best for you and your child. After you make your decision, be sure to prepare any necessary documents and paperwork to help make the transition to the new school a smooth one. Proper preparation always makes the grade.