3 Things You Need to Know
Before Choosing a Public School
A monthly series bringing you tips and best practices, covering the Relocation Industry’s biggest trends
will you pass the test when it comes to finding the right school during a relocation?
Hands down, the #1 priority for a family relocating with school-aged children is finding the best school at their new location. This is not always as easy as it seems, as there are many factors that contribute to finding the best school and education for your child.
don’t put the cart before the horse (or in school terms…don’t choose a school before you find a home)
Relocating families do their research, especially when it comes to schooling. After scouring the internet, checking ratings, and receiving suggestions from friends and colleagues in their destination city, many assignees will believe they’ve decided which school their child will attend. Not so fast! In most areas of the US, families are only able to send their children to the school zoned for their neighborhood. Finding a home available that fits the budget, timeframe, criteria, and style can be challenging. For this reason, assignees need to keep an open mind and rely on their Destination Services Consultant (DSC) to provide alternative schooling options that will fulfill all their needs.
it’s not all about the academics
Relocating families may initially be taken aback by what they view in the US as a more casual classroom culture than they are accustomed (no school uniforms?!). Students are encouraged to work cooperatively with each other and are urged to debate and participate in classroom discussions. Finding the best fit for a child may not be all about academics, with schooling experience as another key factor. Assignees should seek to understand: does the school have teachers who care about and challenge their students? Are they developing critical thinking skills and becoming engaged citizens? Do they have access to the arts? Our DSCs will help relocating parents find a positive learning experience that will support well-rounded growth and learning for their child.
ratings aren’t everything
Sure, we all strive to be a perfect 10! But while ratings may seem the key indicator of school quality, the reality is they do not reflect the whole story. A rating of 10 does not mean that your child will get a better education than they would from a school with a rating of 6 or 7. It means that the standardized test scores are higher. However, research has shown that test scores are at least 70% attributable to parent income and not school quality. Schools in affluent areas tend to have higher scores while more diverse schools, where English may not be the first language spoken at home, are likely to get lower ratings.
In the end, A B C isn’t as easy as 1 2 3 – there are many contributing factors to finding the best school to attend during a relocation assignment, and frankly, it can become very confusing. Rest assured, IOR’s DSCs are there to advocate on behalf of the family so they can better navigate their options and decide what school is best for their child.