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Moving This Summer? Tips for Selecting the Right School

06/01/09
by Wrightslaw

If you plan to move or change schools, you need to get reliable information about the schools you are considering.

These websites will help:

Great Schools at http://www.greatschools.net/

School Matters at http://www.schoolmatters.com/

Great Schools is an independent, non-profit organization that provides parents with information and tools to choose schools and support their children’s education. Great Schools has information about public schools, private schools, charter schools, home schools, No Child Left Behind, and school choice options.

These articles will help you make wise decisions when you select a school in a new community.

Choosing a School
http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/showarticle/96

Choosing the Right School
http://www.greatschools.net/content/schoolChoiceCenter.page

The School Visit: What to Look For, What to Ask
http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/showarticle/48

Go to “Research and Compare” to compare different schools in a county or city: http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/go/VA

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School Matters is a site where parents, educators and leaders can view performance, spending, and demographic information for schools and school districts in any state.

School Matters Can Help Parents . . .

  • Learn about Your Child’s School
  • Compare Prospective Schools Before You Move
  • Select a New School

Use The Compare Tool at http://www.schoolmatters.com/schools.aspx/q/page=cmp

The Compare Tool provides a school overview and allows you to compare of test scores, class profiles, district financial information, and community demographics.

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Military Families

SOAR (Student Online Achievement Resources) is a program for military families and the school districts that serve them. It aims to address the unique challenges facing military children in our nation’s public schools, while benefiting the overall student population. Military families can register online to find state specific education information.

Search for school districts in your area and access national school rankings.

On the State Information Page at http://www.soarathome.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=231

you can access:

  • Links to military installations, transition resources and school websites
  • Resources from specific states, including curriculum frameworks and testing information.
  • Links to United States Department of Education online web resources.
  • Feature to search for school districts in your area.
  • Access to national rankings for school districts across the country.

School Quest from the Military Child Education Coalition at http://www.militarychild.org/military-parent/schoolquest/

Designed for military families, SchoolQuest is a safe, secure online resource. SchoolQuest is organized so that you can access information that the MCEC has gathered to help you make decisions on future schools for your children.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike 05/25/11 at 7:07 am

    @David: Search the states department of education website. For example, in Colorado you are able to view the due process and state complaints dating several years back by district. This is key, especially when you are trying to detrmine if a particular school district fights parents on some of the more costly needs that your child may have.

  • 2 Mike 05/25/11 at 7:04 am

    Specifically for military service members I created this post to help provide some guidance on changing schools during PCS season. As a military officer myself and staunch advocate for autism, we have learned successful tips on how to reduce the stress with a PCS and how to really create a successful transition.

  • 3 Maureen 05/24/11 at 10:08 am

    I don’t know how they managed to get the school district totell them that much information. Maybe the military gets more respect fromt he district. . Most districts in NJ will not even talk to you unless you can prove residency. They won’t tell you what services they have. I have found that the best way to find out about a district is to go to the school district website and look for a Parents Group. Contact the Parents Group and then through them contact actual parents and find out whether the district program that sounds so great is any good for your child. There are a lot of programs that sound good until your child is in it and not getting the education he or she should. Also attend meetings and ask questions of groups like ASPEN or COSAC or whatever category your child fits into and find out from parents what their districts are like

  • 4 David1 06/10/09 at 7:36 am

    Is anyone aware of a data base that is easy to navigate that contains State Department investigations that have resulted in a finding that a school district did not comply with IDEA or ADA procedural safeguards?

    Annual report cards are available but details about Special Education are VERY misleading. For example, the Department of Education investigated and found that my child had been denied a FAPE and the annual report card in no way reflects a school that has previously and continues to deny a child a FAPE.
    A school that is doing Special Education well, should get a good grade for their efforts. A school district that has ongoing computer glitches and typos at the expense of children in special education, should be entitled to interventions that offer assistance to get them back on track.
    White out should not be an interventio