What determines whether my child will thrive or struggle? How will the best school for us influence where we live?
School districts and individual schools have policies, idiosyncrasies, or philosophies that are impossible to discern from afar. School reviews on major websites provide very little valid advice, and “rankings” are little more than accumulated data. These websites are, however, a good starting point when you are trying to become familiar with some of the schools in Middle Tennessee.
Web Links, School Links, and Articles
GreatSchools.com is a good first step in the process of searching for a new school. Traditional barometers such as class size, student-to-teacher ratio and test scores do matter to some extent. Other factors you may want to consider include the rate of chronic absences and number of students who receive free-and-reduced lunches. Great Schoolsonly uses NCLB (No Child Left Behind) data so it is limited in what it can really tell you about schools. You shouldn’t base your decision on these factors, but they are worth a look.
Luke Skurman originally founded Niche.com as CollegeProwler.com, a website we often used to find the best university for our college planning students. Their user-generated school reviews are often much more accurate than those found on Great Schools and other similar sites.
SchoolDigger.com has recently overhauled their website to present data in a way that empowers parents to make informed choices about choosing a school for their child. They are essentially a comparison site, and the navigation and ranking system mirrors every other school data site on the web.
I find their articles to be informative and, like other ranking sites, the data on schools with which I am familiar to be glowing and not exactly what my parents and students tell me.
Noodle is an education website helping parents and students make better decisions about learning. Parents can read expert-authored articles, ask questions and get answers from some of the leading minds in education. John Katzman, founder of The Princeton Review, created Noodle.com as an alternative to school ranking websites and the mounds of data they spew about schools and school districts. They hold their content to the highest standards and I am proud to have been chosen as a Noodle Expert, where I write and associate with outstanding professionals.
Tennessee Promise is a college game-changer by any standards. Governor Haslam’s initiative has changed the conversation between high school seniors and guidance counselors but, for many academically capable students, the promise of free tuition shouldn’t be a determining factor in choosing a college. I am a Tennessee Promise Mentor and write a monthly blogpost for them but also address my concerns about Tennessee Promise here.
Nashville Parent magazine (both print and electronic) publishes a Private School Directory and hosts a Private School Fair on a Saturday in September at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. There is no better opportunity to meet representatives of all of the private schools in the Nashville area and talk to other parents and students. Their Summer Camp Guide is the “go to” resource for parents in the region.
Our state’s website gives you more information than you need. Visit the site, glean what you can, and move on.
Vanderbilt University’s Programs for Talented Youth has a mission is to develop talent in gifted students and those who work with them. They offer a variety of high-powered and engaging talent-development opportunities for gifted students and their parents. Vanderbilt’s PTY has proven that offering many life-changing opportunities for gifted students occur when they access academic programs that offer rigorous, fast-paced courses taught by content experts in a field.
For decades, we’ve helped brilliant young people find the right college that fit their academic, social, and financial needs. When you work with us, we help you create an strategy for your child’s education that will best serve their individual needs and ambitions.
Looking for a therapist or mental health professional? We are listed among leading counselors, therapists, and coaching professionals in Therapy Directory, an online directory of colleagues who maintain high standards of professionalism. Let us recommend a therapist to you.
What your Realtor can’t tell you can hurt you. When you ask your agent about schools or crime or demographics in a certain neighborhood, they will invariably send you scurrying to websites to find that information for yourself. Neighborhood Scout, a subscription service, is one of the best resources for a deep understanding of where you plan to move. The school report (like all other school ranking websites) is pulled from No Child Left Behind data (like all other sites) as well as National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is the closest thing to a gold standard national test.
The Student Experience
Substantial differences in student experiences persist even among even the most homogeneous of school districts. A school’s context matters most- potential student satisfaction and learning opportunities within a given school – but metrics alone are a poor substitute for making important educational decisions for your children.
National Association of Realtors Field Guide to Schools and the Home Buying Decision
Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer’s decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential. According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 29% of home buyers listed school quality and 22% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase.
This field guide includes articles and studies on the importance of schools for home buyers and how schools impact local property values, along with a sampling of websites that provide data on school districts. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist) READ MORE
School quality has a mighty influence on neighborhood choice, home values
When Stephanie and Damon Dantzler, both Defense Department employees, returned to the United States after 12 years of living overseas, their priority when determining where to live was the school system.
“We had never lived in the D.C. area before, and with two teenagers, getting them into the best school was extremely important,” Stephanie Dantzler said. “We were living in temporary housing in Pentagon City at first, so we decided on Fairfax County, particularly the area around [Lake] Braddock High School.”
Moving for schools is a common practice for house hunters throughout the Washington area, sometimes even for home buyers without kids. READ MORE
No kids? Here’s why you should still buy in a good school district
Living in a good school district doesn’t just bring better teachers, better books, and better test scores — it also can help preserve home values and ensure faster resale rates.
It’s a smart move to consider the quality of school districts in your home-buying decision — although there are pros and cons to buying in top-notch school regions. Parents hoping to land a good home deal and give their kids access to a high-quality education have several costs to weigh. If you do the math, you’ll find that pricier homes in a strong public school district may actually be better bargains than affordable homes in districts where many children attend private schools. READ MORE
Buying a House? If You Have (or Want) Kids, Consider the Schools
If you’re looking for a place to live and have children or want some someday, you should be thinking about a schoolhouse as much as a house. It may be hard to imagine if you aren’t there yet, but someday your life may revolve around telling your kids not to stress over state-standardized tests. You’ll find yourself talking, texting, phoning and emailing teachers, school administrators, bus drivers and counselors. If the school is the worst, you may rue the day you bought your house. READ MORE
How to find the best schools for your kids when you move
Moving to a new area is never easy, but moving with kids in tow can be a real challenge. As a parent, you have to factor their education into your location choice, and that can get tricky when you’re searching in an unfamiliar area.
Your first conversation about schools should be with your real estate agent, who can provide information on local neighborhoods and the choice of schools your children might attend, whether public or private.
If you prefer private schools, you may have more flexibility picking the location of your new home, since you won’t have to find a place located within a particular school district’s boundaries. READ MORE
How to find the absolute best school (for you)
This you already know: Parents want to send their kids to good schools. That’s why they flock to neighborhoods that purport to have them—sometimes paying hundreds of thousands more to live there. But what does “good school” really mean? Is it really all about the test scores?
Increasingly, educational experts say: not really. These days, many of them hail the importance of other, less tangible goals such as fostering social and emotional intelligence. Others tout the importance of executive function skills: the ability to plan, focus, remember instructions, and multitask. READ MORE
How to find the best schools for your kids when you move
Moving to a new area is never easy, but moving with kids in tow can be a real challenge. As a parent, you have to factor their education into your location choice, and that can get tricky when you’re searching in an unfamiliar area. To find the best schools for your kids is very challenging.
Your first conversation about schools should be with your real estate agent, who can provide information on local neighborhoods and the choice of schools your children might attend, whether public or private. READ MORE
Changing schools and moving to a new area
Changing schools and moving can be stressful events, even if the entire family is excited about the move.
The purpose of this article is to give you a checklist of all the things you may need to think about as you orchestrate your move and what you may need to do when changing schools. We have set up the list of things to do along a timeline, to mirror you own busy schedule as you get your household and school paperwork in order. READ MORE
How to find a new school for your child after moving
Moving to a new and unknown place can be, and often is, tough for everyone involved in the process. And things usually get even tougher when your child has to change schools due to the relocation. They lose the comforting school routine they have gotten used to through the years – good friends, well-known teachers, familiar surroundings. The mere thought of starting anew and having to re-establish themselves in the unfamiliar environment may be too intimidating for them.
And yet, there are certain things that will help them greatly diminish their concerns and fears during that difficult transitional period. Undoubtedly, the most important thing is to find a new school that will suit your kid’s needs. READ MORE
Moving to a new home with a student with an IEP and 504
Moving to a new location can sure disrupt your life! For any family this can be a time of chaos. There is the adventure of newness but also a maddening confusion. For a family with a child who has special needs, the confusion can be particularly stressful. To avoid some of the less desirable “adventures,” it may be a good idea to map out your strategy before you move. This is especially important regarding school and your child’s special education needs.
Presented here are some questions you might ask yourself, preferably well in advance of your move. The answers given contain suggestions for helping your family make a smooth change from your child’s present special education placement to the new one. These suggestions are derived from personal experience, contact with families who have met the “challenge,” advice from administrators, and other authorities and research. READ MORE