Finding the right school for your children can cause a lot of stress, headaches and worry. And no wonder. Education is what can lead a child to a great career, in whatever field or area they want. School is where children learn about interpersonal relationships. A child can explore side interests with activities, clubs, and sports. When you move to a new area, and have children, not only are you looking at what neighborhoods you’d want to live in and what you can afford but also what are the public schools like. If finances allow, perhaps you are looking into what private schools are nearby or along your work commute.
Once upon a time you had to rely on word of mouth or a school tour to get a feel and know what the local schools were like. Thanks to the internet you can now get test scores, safety reports, and reviews from parents, students and teachers for every school in your area. Here are some resources to help you get started:
Montgomery County Public School locator — This is a great site if you know the address of the home and want to know what the school assignment is for it. Each school has a page that will give you access to in-depth reports on their safety, academic achievement and proficiency and survey results from students, parents and faculty. Note: the school closest to the address is not always the school that home is assigned to.
Do you have a school already in mind and want to know what neighborhoods feed into it? Then use the School Service Area Maps. Note: school boundaries to change from time to time.
If you’re looking for information on the school’s enrollment, academic achievement levels and staff then use the Schools at a Glance. This will give you an overview of what class sizes are and the student make-up, what staff is on hand, and student proficiency.
If reading through all that information seems daunting you can turn to independent sites such as Greatschools.com. This site will give you rankings on a 0-10 scale. They base their scores only on reported standardized tests. So if a school doesn’t report test scores, they will not have a rating. While you don’t get as in-depth as the county’s own reports there are occasionally reviews from parents.