September 30th, 2009 Categories: Real Estate News
One of the most important issues for homeowners is selecting a property in a good school district. As your Realtor, I cannot legally offer my opinion about a specific school or school district but what I can do is steer you to good information on the topic.
This past weekend the Washington Post did a great article on “10 Ways to Pick the Right School District.” Here, in a shortened version, is what they suggest:
1 – Visit the school and ask to speak with the Principal. On a tour of the school, see if it’s well maintained, and if there is artwork and schoolwork on the walls. Prepare your questions and ask to speak with the Principal…if the Principal is unreachable, that may be a bad sign.
2 – If the district has gone through several recent superintendents, this also may be a bad sign.
3 – Talk to parents. Ask the school for the contact info of the officers in the PTA. Talk to parents, and listen.
4 - Listen to your kids. With young kids, this may not matter so much, but jr. high and high school children will have opinions. See if the schools have extracurricular activities they’re interested in.
5 – Check the data. There are many, many statistics and reports available to help in your choice, if you look online.
6 – Look for a challenging high school in the neighborhood. When looking at school stats, don’t just look at test scores, since those can be misleading and are affected by a number of variables. Examine college level Advanced Placement courses, college level tests, and other such statistics.
7 – If an elementary school meets your standards otherwise, don’t look at test scores. Plenty of elementary schools with low test results have great teachers interested in raising the achievement of each and every child.
8 – Make sure the middle school has a strong math program. It is to a student’s advantage to study algebra before high school.
9 - Don’t count on a top high school to get your child into a top college. The more brilliant the student body is, the more your child may lose out in the competition for the most prestigious colleges.
10 – Go with your gut. Unscientific, but trustworthy. Take everything into account, then do what you believe is right.
The Post has also added an education blog site called The Answer Sheet, A School Survival Guide for Parents (and Everyone Else). The site features pertinent articles as well as daily updates on school closings, schedules, events, etc.
For the complete text of “10 Ways to Pick the Right School District” click here.
And if you decide on a school district here in Northern Virginia, give me call and we’ll find that perfect house.