How to Research School Districts

Finding the right school district can make moving easier.

Your family has a move in its future and it includes changing schools. As if finding a new place and managing a move isn’t enough stress, but adding in a school change can be a challenge for the entire family. So how do you go about finding a home you love with a strong school system? Here are a few tips for researching school districts:FInd the rights school district

General Information:

When you are starting your home search be sure to use a reputable REALTOR, as they are knowledgeable on neighborhoods and school districts. Many times, listings have links to the affiliated schools so you can easily find information about the system in that neighborhood.

More Specific:

The MN Department of Education (education.state.mn.us) has a website that includes a section called “MN Report Card” (find it under the Data Center tab) where you can find all sorts of district or school specific information on public schools. It’s easy to use – you can select from any district in the state or a specific grade school, middle school or high school and you’ll have all sorts of information at your disposal. Information on test scores, demographics and general school and district wide information are available via this site.

Public and Private:

Another good source is a website called greatschools.org. They too, have all sorts of information but it includes private schools as well. You can also refine your search so that it can help narrow the number of districts or private schools you’d consider.   The downfall with this site is that it relies on various schools to keep the information up to date, so it might require an additional phone call to request the most recent school information available or a visit to the school’s website.

Follow-up

Don’t forget to ask around. Potential new neighbors or people you might know in the area. Other families have opinions on schools and districts and it’s a good source for maybe why or why not, they love a school. It’s not always about academics, as arts and athletic programs also come into play for families making a move.

The school search should probably start prior to your house hunt. You really don’t want to fall in love with a place that you find out sits in the middle of a troubled school district. Put some effort into this before you actually start to shop and you’ll be in far better shape to make a confident decision on a home purchase. And remember that there really isn’t a perfect school out there – but there is a great one waiting for you and your family.

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

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