Tips for Moving During the School Year: How to Evaluate Local Schools
It’s hard to believe, but school is back in session here in Prince William County. Whether you’re moving into or out of the area right now, you’ll be moving after school has already started. While this might not be ideal, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your kids have a smooth transition to their new schools. This starts with evaluating local schools to help you decide which neighborhood and school system are best for your family.
Get Started Online
These days, you can accomplish plenty of research online. This allows you to narrow your search without having to visit as many schools. Check out the following websites to help you gather information:
- org – This website offers school statistics like teacher-student ratios, as well as detailed reviews from parents and teachers. It’s a great place to start when looking for insights on various schools.
- County education websites – Check the main website for information on all county schools. You can find information about test scores and accreditation on these sites.
- School websites – Each school should have its own website where you can get a taste of announcements, awards and school events. You may even find links to teachers’ blogs to get a glimpse into classroom activities.
- PTA websites – If the school has an active PTA, they may have a separate website or social media sites. Look for fundraisers, family activities and information on how funds are used within the school. This information will help you get a feel for the school community.
- Local news sites – Do a search for news articles about the schools you’re researching. Articles will provide insight about potential redistricting, awards, or concerns within the school or district. You can also do a search on social media sites to see what people are saying.
Visit in Person
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you’ll likely be able to narrow your options to just a few schools to visit. Call ahead to schedule a visit, and ask the following questions during your school meeting and tour:
- What are your policies on homework and bullying?
- What is the testing schedule?
- What are the class sizes for each grade level?
- How will we receive communication from administration and the teachers, and how often?
- What safety measures are in place here?
- How long do the students have for lunch and recess each day?
- Do you offer any after-school enrichment or care programs?
- How active is your PTA, and what are some events sponsored by the PTA?
- Would your PTA president be willing to answer some questions from me?
- How can parents get involved within the school?
- Can you tell me about the school counseling program?
- Are there any programs offered to help new children acclimate to the school?
As you tour, take in the feel of the environment. Pay close attention to the physical education, art, music and library programs. How do you feel about the level of parent involvement you’re hearing about? It’s proven that the more parents are involved in their children’s education, the more successful students are, so ask all the questions you need to adequately assess the school. You know your children and what they need from their school; you are their best advocate.
Prince William County boasts wonderful schools. If you’re moving into the area and could use information about home choices and our school system, please contact us. We’d be happy to put you in touch with the resources you need and help you find the perfect home for you and your family.
Chris Colgan is the CEO and Team Leader of the Chris Colgan Real Estate Team. Chris was born and raised in Gainesville, Virginia and has been in real estate for 10 years. He is a member of the Re/Max Hall of Fame and is in the top 25 for sales in the state of Virginia out of all Re/Max agents. He has been recognized as one of the United States’ and Canada’s Top 500 Marketing Experts by the National Association of Expert Advisors.