When looking for a new home in Queen Creek, you want to find a school where your kids will be happy and safe—all while receiving a great education. But it’s hard to know exactly how to find a great learning environment that’s the right fit for your children. We’ll help you figure out which questions to ask so that you can all celebrate when your kids get on the bus for the first day at their new school.
The Online Search in Queen Creek
First, let’s talk about how to search for the right school. Be sure to look at the school district’s website and that of the specific schools your children might be attending. Then check out these helpful sites:
- Greatschools.org provides in-depth info on elementary, middle and high schools test scores, class size and parent reviews. It’s a good place to start.
- US News ranks high schools and colleges nationally and by state, based solely on test scores and student/teacher ratio. The report also shows demographic information.
Touring the School in Queen Creek
After gathering information online, go and see the new school for yourself. If you live near the town you’ll be moving to, tour the school with your child. Attending an open house is important, but you also want to see the school when it’s in session. Talk to the teachers and the principal. Ask about the curriculum, the staff, and how well the community supports the school.
Stick around after your tour of the school and chat with some parents with kids around your child’s age. Ask what they like and don’t like about their child’s experience there. Ask what issues they’ve had in the past, if any, and how the school dealt with those issues.
Educational Priorities to Seek Out
When you are gathering information online or in person, you’ll want to prioritize what’s most important for your child’s education and well-being. Now that you know where to gather information, here are a handful of things to look for:
- Small class size. Every child needs individual attention sometimes. You want a school with enough dedicated teachers and staff to help every child. The smaller the class size, the better. Make sure to look at class size as opposed to the teacher/student ratio, as the latter includes specialist teachers (music, art, and physical education), and sometimes administrative staff as well.
- Popular teachers. When reading online reviews, write down names of teachers who are mentioned. When you visit the school, ask staff and parents which teachers they recommend. If the staff and parents repeat the same teachers, you not only know that the teacher has a good reputation, but you also know that the community is paying attention to which teachers provide the best experience for the kids. If you hear “they’re all good,” or “I don’t know,” or a variety of different names said without enthusiasm, the teachers may not be well respected.
- Community support. Search online and ask parents face-to-face how well the school is supported by the community. Do they have a Parent Teacher Association (PTA)? If not, do they have volunteer opportunities for parents or community gatherings? The more the community seems to support their local schools, the better. You want a school where people invest both time and enthusiasm.
- Avoiding layoffs. Search for “school district news” or “school district layoffs” for your chosen town, and see what pops up. Be sure to notice the dates of the articles, as there could have been many layoffs, but they were five years ago. If that is the case, try to find out if the school has been able to recover from that setback.
- Positive reviews. If you’re not able to visit the school, online reviews help you see down the virtual halls of a school, whether it’s celebrating their gifted program or complaining of rats in the locker room. Reviews give you individual opinions on the student experience, quality of staff, community support and other important aspects.
If you find negative reviews, try not to be turned off too much. These are the opinions of individuals who felt strongly enough to post their opinions online, so positive reviews may be rarer than negative ones. However, if all the reviews are negative, take that into serious consideration.
- High ratings. Search online for school ratings, but take everything with a grain of salt. Compare the scores with other schools in the district and in nearby municipalities. Be sure to look at exactly what the schools are graded on, and decide if those things are most important to you. If you see that one school is rated well below the others, take a look at why.
- Special programs. If your child has special needs, is gifted or is passionate about a certain sport, be sure to visit with the head of that program. Ask parents with children in the program about the strengths and weaknesses they see. Talk about your child’s needs to the teacher or coach, and get details about the curriculum.
We know that choosing a great school district is a vital aspect when buying a home and the more you learn about a school, the better decision you’ll make. Be sure to get to know the parents and teachers and gauge if it’s the type of community you want to be part of. After all, these parents and teachers will be your neighbors and your new support system as you move in. When you find the right school, you and your family will be excited to join this new community. And with the right information, you’ll know you’re making the right choice.
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