Saturday, March 3, 2018

Finding The Right School Before Moving

Guest Post by Tilda Moore of OpenEducators:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of ad Dei Gloriam Ministries.

Whether it’s because you found a great job or you just want to change where you live, you are planning a big move. With all the work you have to put into finding the house, hiring movers, and dealing with mortgages, it’s easy to forget about finding the right school.

Image Source: Pixabay
girl studying Your kids’ school will have a huge effect on their development both in terms of education and social life. You make friends for life in school, and it obviously impacts your college chances. That’s why it pays to find the right school before moving. You need to start by looking at where the schools are in your new hometown.

The Neighborhood Matters

Urban planning and school district boundaries cannot be perfect. That means you can find a great house and still have a bad school. That’s why you have to look at the neighborhood where the school is at as well as your new home.

The New York Times explains that the longer your children go to school in a bad area, the worse things get for them. The quality of a neighborhood affects those who live in it. Since your kids spend so much of their time at school, that area can mean more than where your home is located.

Several questions you have to ask about the school’s immediate area are:

  1.   Is there a lot of graffiti?
  2.   Are there abandoned buildings nearby?
  3.   Do you see many school-age children running around when school is in session?
  4.   Do you suspect illegal activity nearby?
All of these are indicators that the surrounding area is bad, which typically means the school isn’t doing well either.

Contact Them Online

Even if a school is located in a good neighborhood, that doesn’t guarantee the school itself is good. That’s why you should contact local schools before you move. Ask them about their curriculum, discipline, and funding. Although school funding isn’t always tied to student achievement, how many bad schools do you find in rich areas?

You should also make sure all teachers are certified and, for elementary schools, that recess is still offered. Young kids need recess to establish good exercise habits and burn off excess energy.

But what type of school should you look for? These days, there are often several choices for people moving into a new home. These include:

  •   Public schools
  •   Magnet schools (which are usually still public)
  •   Charter schools
  •   Religious and private schools
Some communities even offer virtual schools where students stay at home and attend classes online.

How To Change Your Mind

You did your research and found what looked like the best choice. But a few weeks or months into the school year, you start to realize that you made a mistake. That’s not uncommon as you really never know until you enroll there. What can you do?

Although the law states children must attend school, you may still have some choices. Check out the various federal, state, and local laws, or in some cases you may want to consult an attorney. Before you leave, talk to the school administration about your concerns. If they cannot be addressed, you'll probably need to send a formal withdrawal letter to the school. Then you should be able to enroll your kids elsewhere or even home-school them.

The Right School Is So Important

Admittedly, it’s hard to find a great school before you move. But there are things you can do to tip the odds in your favor. Check out the school’s neighborhood and talk to them before enrolling. You often have a choice of schools these days, so don’t be afraid to withdraw from a school that’s not working out for your kids. After all, they’re the important ones in this scenario.