What is one way that a family can effectively evaluate a school when moving from out of state?
To help families assess potential schools before a big move, we asked education specialists and business leaders this question for their best advice. From searching for a school’s overall public profile to reaching out to local colleagues, there are several suggestions that may help you narrow down your schooling options from afar.
Here are eight tips for determining the right school for your needs when you’re out of state:
- Search for a School’s Overall Public Profile
- Leverage School Admissions Teams
- Validate With External Reports and Reviews
- Reach Out to Local Colleagues
- Look at Public Access Records
- Check Out School Report Cards
- Visit the School for Yourself
- Review School Rankings
Search for a School’s Overall Public Profile
When moving from out of state, a useful first step in evaluating a school is to look for publicly available school profiles. These websites include information on school accreditation, student-teacher ratios, and enrollment trends. Accreditation programs can vary by state, but there are also national programs to look out for in early childhood education, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
You can also learn about a facility’s diversity, which is a crucial indicator because ethnic and socioeconomic variety can benefit schools, communities, and students. Another great way to learn about schools in other states is to read online reviews from parents who have shared firsthand experiences.
Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education
Leverage School Admissions Teams
It can be nerve-wracking to assess a school from afar. One tip is to take advantage of the resources the school offers to potential students and their families. At Stuart Hall, our admissions team launched a virtual video tour on our website to help prospective students get a feel for our campus by offering a glimpse into student life and Staunton, VA, where our campus is located.
You can also request additional information, schedule a phone or Zoom call, and schedule an in-person tour for when you do get into town. Outside of admissions, school websites have a wealth of information to dive into that can help you evaluate your options.
Sharon Arne, Stuart Hall School
Validate With External Reports and Reviews
Selecting a school for your child is a highly personal decision. Every child is different, and different children flourish in various circumstances. At Kings School, we provide secondhand information such as school brochures and websites, test scores, state and local report cards, and the websites of external organizations to provide our prospective students with enough information about our school to evaluate when relocating from another state.
Erick Streelman, King’s School
Reach Out to Local Colleagues
Definitely shoot a quick email to your colleagues who are local and ask for their advice on the schools in the area.
This can include a few prompts, such as “What are the best schools in the city?” “Which schools are the worst?” “Do you have tips for getting into these schools?” “Do you have contacts at these schools?”
Chances are, your colleagues will have some opinions on this topic, and it will also be a great way to connect with other parents before you make the big move to the new state!
Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
Look at Public Access Records
Most public schools have records of ranks, funding, and incident reports. Use these to best determine where you want your child to go to school when moving from out of state.
Funding is a huge area to look at as that will determine what kind of teachers will be educating your students and what kinds of activities will be held at the school. Underfunded schools usually don’t rank high.
Olivia Young, Conscious Items
Check Out School Report Cards
When moving, it is so important to ensure the education your children receive is adequate! Researching a school district’s report card is a good way to make sure their standards are up to par. Other good things to check are the student-to-teacher ratio, the parent-teacher organization, and the different safety standards they have to keep kids protected.
Brooke Wilson, Fabric
Visit the School for Yourself
It helps to actually fly to the city where the school is located and visit it in person in order for a family to be able to best evaluate the school when moving. There is nothing like seeing it in person and being able to meet teachers and talk to students (if allowed to do so) and administrators.
Being able to sit in on classes can also make a big difference when it comes to making the final decision about whether to choose a particular school or not.
Sarah Pirrie, Healist Naturals
Review School Rankings
Every family has public access to school rankings per state. This is how a family can evaluate which school would be best suited for their children and where to move to stay in the school areas. Plus, the districts usually have FAQs and contact forms for parents to learn more about the schools and talk with a professional.
Riley Burke, Ohza Mimosa