Now that you’ve mastered selling your house with kids at home, it’s time to move, which will involve changing schools and preparing for your family’s next chapter. For homebuyers with children, moving to the right school system is a major component in deciding where to move. Education is perhaps one of the most influential factors in a child’s development and it’s important to research the school systems in each of the towns or cities you are considering moving to. In this guide, we’ll take a deeper dive into what to look for when choosing the right school system for you and your family.
1. Consider Curriculum When Changing Schools
If your child needs to change schools after a move, one of the most important factors to consider is the curriculum offered by different schools. The curriculum plays a crucial role in shaping your child’s education and development. Essentially, the curriculum defines the overall educational approach of the school. Determine whether the curriculum aligns with your child’s needs and goals, looking closely at if the school offers a balanced education with subjects like math, science, language arts, and social studies. Additionally, you may want to explore any specialized programs that peak your child’s interests, such as arts or athletics. Inside the classroom, be sure to pay attention to the teaching methods practiced throughout the school. Some schools use traditional methods while others may focus more on hands-on learning. A great way to learn more about what a particular school offers is to reach out to the school’s teachers and administration. They can provide valuable information and help you decide if your child will thrive there. Some may even allow school visits and opportunities to observe a real class.
2. Academic Performance of the New School
Another crucial factor to consider when changing schools is the school’s academic performance. Information such as test scores, graduation rates, and college acceptance rates can provide you with a glimpse of the quality of education it offers and the success of its students. Test scores reflect how well students perform on exams and other standardized tests such as the SATs. A high graduation rate means that many of the school system’s students graduate on time, whereas a high college acceptance rate measures how well the school prepares its students for higher education. While these are very critical aspects of what a school offers, it’s also important to consider an institution’s values, mission, extra-curricular achievements, and other specialized programs. This list is just scraping the surface of what a school can offer to set your child up for success.
3. Extracurricular Activities Are Important When Moving Schools
Aside from academics, extracurricular activities are also a part of many children’s lives, and it’s wise to research and see if the school system you’re considering moving to offers programs that align with your child’s interests. These activities provide social skills and the opportunity to explore personal interests in a productive and fun way. There is a large range of extracurricular activities that can be explored – here are just a few:
Sports and Athletics: If your child has an interest in a certain sport, many schools offer team or club sports for students to participate in such as soccer, football, or hockey. Through these programs, students learn the value of teamwork and discipline. Be sure to also explore the athletic facilities when considering the right school.
Arts and Music: Explore the school’s offerings for arts and music programs. Activities such as painting, sculpting, theater, or music enrich creativity and self-expression.
Community Service and Volunteering: For those who want to make an impact, big or small, some schools offer community service and volunteer groups with local organizations or other charities. Participating in these activities promotes social responsibility and empathy for others.
- Leadership Activities: Activities such as participating in student government, or mentoring/tutoring others are empowering and build confidence in students. These roles can inspire students to take on more leadership opportunities and contribute to their overall personal growth, especially through a change in schools.
4. Does the New School Have Specialized Programs and Services?
When selecting a school, it’s essential to consider the availability of special programs and services. Every child is different, and finding a school that can provide appropriate support and opportunities is crucial. It is important to find schools that prioritize inclusive education, offering support for students with disabilities or special needs. Be sure to inquire about the details of each special education program, including the qualifications of teachers and personalized education plans. For children who are learning English as a second language, there are great ESL Programs to explore. These programs are designed to support students in learning the English language while also pursuing their usual studies. Some children may already have specific career interests, in which case a school system offering vocational and career programs will allow them to flourish. Vocational schools offer hands-on training, industry certifications, and internships in fields such as culinary arts, automotive technology, healthcare, or information technology. These programs equip students with practical skills that will benefit them out in the workforce!
5. Finances: Changing Schools and Costs
Different schools may have varying costs and financial obligations, and understanding these costs can help you make an informed decision on choosing the right school. Some private schools charge tuition to cover their operating costs and provide specialized programs and resources for their students. It’s important to understand the payment structure to determine whether the school is affordable for you. Tuition typically doesn’t cover additional costs such as uniforms, textbooks, and school supplies, so be aware of these costs when financially planning. If cost is a concern, many schools offer opportunities for financial aid or scholarships. You can speak with the school’s administration to learn more about these programs.
For those who are considering public school over private, it’s important to research the schools within your area of interest. As mentioned above, you can talk with teachers, staff, or parents about the curriculum, available programs, and resources that each school offers so that you can make an informed choice.
6. Location and Transportation When Moving to a New School
When choosing a new school system, evaluate the distance between your new home and the school and what transportation options look like. Consider your child’s daily commute. Will they walk to school? Will they drive or be driven? Will they take a school bus? Will they use public transportation? To determine the best option, you can research traffic patterns and the time required for each mode of transportation. On the other hand, if the school provides transportation services such as school busses, research the pickup and drop off locations, and the bus routes.
7. Change to a School With Adequate Facilities and Resources
It’s also important to consider the availability of school facilities and resources. Research the quality of the classrooms and what technology is used. Is the library well-stocked with a variety of resources? Additionally, assess the presence of science labs, technology integration, and specialized facilities. For children who will be participating in athletics, look into the school’s sports facilities. Finally, consider the support services provided both mental and physical. This includes counseling, nursing, and more. By selecting a school with well-maintained facilities, ample resources, and a commitment to student needs, you can provide your child with an enriching environment for their education and development.
8. Parent-Teacher Communication at the New School
For some parents, having strong parent-teacher communication is very important. If this sounds like you, consider the school’s levels of communication with the parents, as it often varies from district to district. Ask about the frequency of parent-teacher meetings if you prefer a more one-on-one setting with your child’s educator. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss your child’s academic performance, behavior, and overall development. Aside from personal meetings, you can also ask about accessible communication channels, such as a school website or email to contact. Many schools even offer progress reports and final grades online so parents can stay up to date on how their child is doing in school. If you’re looking for even more involvement within the school, there may even be volunteer opportunities to explore! Look for openings as a field trip chaperone, an after-school club leader, or an athletic coach. Each school may have different committees to be a part of, so do your research and discover where you will shine.
Choosing the right school system for your children is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. In today’s rapidly evolving education systems, parents are faced with a multitude of options, each with its own unique approach. However, by evaluating the factors mentioned above and considering additional aspects such as the school’s curriculum, extracurricular activities, specialized programs, and resources, you can make an informed decision that not only aligns with your child’s individual needs and interests but also sets them up for long-term success.