There are many factors to consider when looking at buying a house: square feet, neighborhood, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen amenities, etc. The list goes on and on. If you have kids, some of the most important factors are picking schools and after school activities. In addition, you have to consider how well-liked these schools and programs are, as well as their ease of access from your home. Here a few ways to help you make these decisions.
Look at greatschools.org
This website is a fantastic resource for parents. You can look up schools by city, ZIP code, address, or school by name. When you select a school, the site has data in 3 categories. These categories are given scores out of 10 based on performance and statistics. First is Academics, which focuses on test scores and student progression. For high schools, you also get data about AP classes, graduation rates, and college progression. The second category is equity, which is data about the school’s ethnic diversity, low-income students, and students with disabilities. The third set of rankings is the school’s environment. This covers the neighborhood around the school, discipline & attendance, and teacher & staff information. Finally, students and parents can leave reviews about their experiences at the school. Each section also has a link to the sources used to gather the information.
Verify start times and bus routes
Call the school district to learn when school starts for the year as well as what time the school day starts. Depending on where you live in the school’s attendance zone, your kids may have to ride the bus to school. When you register your kids at the school, you will get information about where the bus pick-up and drop off points are located.
Ask the locals
If you have time before you decide on a school, ask your friends, new neighbors, coffee baristas, or parents at the park about where they went to school or where their kids attend. It’s a great way to get local, honest opinions about the area’s educational offerings. As a bonus, you will get to meet new people!
Test your drive to and from school
Before school starts, drive to the school in the morning as if you were going to drop off your kids. You can then see how long it will take you to drop them off, if there are any traffic spots, and how long it will take to get to work afterward. Repeat in the afternoon at the time school lets out. This will ensure your drop-off and puck-up routines will work like a well-oiled machine!
Check out after-school activities
Look for after-school programs offered at the school as well as organizations in the area. These could be sports, art classes, club events, or community center programs. In addition, see if programs like PAL, Boys & Girls Club, or the YMCA have offerings close to your new home or school. After-school activities are a great way for your kids to meet new friends, get involved in the community, and be active after school until you get off work.