"Smooth Moves" from Microsoft's Women Online Forum
If your child is unhappy with his or her school, your family will be unhappy.
When moving, if you have children, you should visit the area schools before stepping foot in a house for sale. Relying on hearsay is a mistake. Finding the right school may not mean choosing "the best" school.
It means finding the right match for your child. No one knows your child as well as you do. If the statistically top school has no computers, and that is your child's passion, then it may be a mistake to place him or her there.
School Match (1-614-890-1573), can help you obtain information about the various schools in a given area. For a fee of $49.00, they will give a report card on any public school or one of thousands of private schools in the United States. For $97.50, they will list up to fifteen schools that match your criteria as shown by their questionnare. They also have a more extensive program for families with special needs children, where a counselor is assigned to help find specific services. For a greater fee still, School Match can assist with International moves as well. All reports are confidential. If you are making a company move, your company may pay for School Match's assistance.
Currently 370 of the Fortune 500 companies provide this service as a part of their relocation package.
Your realtor may also be able to provide statistical information. However, no information can replace an actual visit.
"The Seattle Times Extra High School Guide" provides excellent suggestions that would aid in choosing for any age student.
The first article in their series, by Linda Shaw, has lists of questions that are especially helpful.
Before exploring any school, however, a parent might do well to try to imagine what it is like to be the age of their child. It is so easy to fall in love with what you would want in a school or what you think your child should have in an education while forgetting what it is like to be ten or eleven years old for example. As we age, we lose sight of feeling passionately about a hobby such as art or sports and the anxieties that come with peer issues. If possible, tour the schools with your child and have him or her prepare a list of questions beforehand. To see what a difference their perspective can make, read "Students share what shaped their decisions" by Tyrone Beason.
Many thanks to Bill Mason, Vice President for Consulting Services of School Match for his time.