If you have children or are planning on having children soon, one factor that will play into determining where you’ll build your new home is the school zone it’s in. Sending your children to the right school can be very important, as can the commute to and from school. There are a number of different factors that can contribute to making a school the right school for you and your children. Here are four points you need to consider regarding schools before you decide where you want to build your new home.
Gather Information Online
There are several different types of school information available online. The first is a map outlining the school districts. If you plan on living near the boundaries of a district, remember that these boundaries can change. It’s possible that you may be in one school district one year and then in another the next. Sometimes homes on different sides of the same street will be in different school districts.
You can also find district and school report cards online. These reports are issued by the state’s department of education and contain information, such as the student to teacher ratio and the number of students who passed their courses. These numbers can help you determine how the school is viewed academically, but they often don’t include information about music programs, art classes, and after-school programs. Consider the information, but remember that it’s not a full summary of the school.
Visit the School
Most schools are more than willing to arrange a tour for you and your children. They will show you the classrooms, the gym, the cafeteria, and all the other areas your students will use on a regular basis. You may even be able to sit in on a class or two and see how the teachers interact and engage with their students. Look for signs that the students and teachers have a mutual respect for one another and that the kids enjoy what they’re doing. You may even have the chance to ask some of the students a few questions. They’re experts on the school, and many will let you know exactly what they think.
In addition to touring the school and seeing what it’s like on a daily basis, also take the chance to learn about the community. If you can, attend a PTO/PTA meeting or a school board meeting. Talk to other parents. Go to a sporting event or other public event hosted by the school. You want to get an idea of who your children will have as classmates and how other parents view the school.
Do You Feel Welcome?
Does the community have a welcoming feel to it? Do you feel comfortable at the school? If you don’t, you may be in the wrong school district and need to reconsider where you’re going to build your home. Schools and the staff that work there, including the teachers, should welcome parents and be willing to listen to their concerns. You shouldn’t feel like you’re unwelcome on school grounds, especially if you believe there’s a problem and need to speak to an administrator or teacher.
This doesn’t mean you have to be involved in everything that goes on at the school. You may simply not have the time to volunteer or join the PTA. That’s okay, too. You shouldn’t feel pressured into doing too much, and the staff should also respect those boundaries.
Look Beyond the Next Few Years
In smaller communities, your children may be able to go from grade school to high school at the same school. In larger areas, though, they may have to change schools when they finish sixth or eighth grade, and again for high school. You might love the elementary school, but what about middle school or high school? If you’re building a house, you’re probably not going to want to move soon. Your kids may graduate from high school before you move again. You need to look at all of the potential schools and have a plan for how you’ll address middle school or high school you don’t like.
Of course, if your children are just starting school, the middle school you look at today may have greatly changed by the time your children attend. It’s good to look at these schools today, but do keep in mind that problems you see now may be addressed later. The opposite, unfortunately, is also true; a school you love now may not be as good in a few years.
Have You Found the Perfect School District?
Finding the perfect school district that offers everything you want can be very difficult. You and your children may need to make a few compromises here and there. However, any school you can visit and decide you feel welcome at should be considered, especially if the online report card looks good. Just don’t forget to consider schools your children may attend in later years if you’re still in that district.
Deciding on a school district is only one of the factors that will factor into building a new home. If you find yourself in need of design help, Belman Homes is here to assist you with all of your homebuilding needs. Contact us today to learn more about what it takes to build a house.