How to Find the Right School District for Your Child
Picking a school district for your child is a big responsibility. This will be the school district your child will likely be in from kindergarten to the time he or she is a senior in high school. It’s where they will learn all about the world, make all of their friends, hone their skills in extracurriculars, and overall become a fully realized version of themselves. To help you with your decision we got the team together to discuss common questions and why these questions matter. Once you’ve read the blog download our 2021 NJ Schools Guide to find out more about some of the best schools in Union, Bergen & Morris counties.
The one question we get asked the most often about school districts is, “how are the class sizes?” This is an important question because the smaller the class, the more individualized attention your child can have in class. Alpine Elementary School only has 132 children in the entire K-8 school! If that feels almost too small, Torey J. Sabatini Elementary in Madison offers an overall 11:1 teacher ratio, which is the private school average, compared to the average public school ratio across the U.S., which is 16:1. Who wouldn’t want the private school ratio without the private school price tag?
See a future track star in your little one? Making sure the school district has great sports and extracurricular programs is important to many of our clients. We recommend finding a school district that is well-rounded in what it offers, that way your child can get a wonderful education in both the arts and athletics and not feel deprived of one or the other. That being said, some schools offer special clubs like Lincoln Hubbard Elementary in Summit which has an active music theater program and Mountain Park Elementary in Berkeley Heights that has a dance club, student council, and more!
Before & After Care
Some of our clients are working parents, or imagine that the current stay at home parent will go back to the office someday. Many schools offer great before and after care programs and it’s important to find out which program is right for you and your child. Does the care start early enough in the mornings? Is the after school program on the premises or are they bussed to a different location, like the local YMCA? Not all schools offer care programs, and not all care programs are created equal.
Many of the schools featured in our NJ Schools Guide have won a Blue Ribbon Award in the past 10 years. What does this mean? According to the U.S. Department of Education, Blue Ribbon schools are institutions that have been recognized for “overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.” Therefore if you are most concerned about the academic achievement aspect of your search, a Blue Ribbon school is a sign that this school is a cut above the rest. U.S. News & World Report also ranks high schools.
While it may seem early to think about high school, your school district’s high school will have a huge impact on college admissions. Thus, make sure you are setting your child up for success by researching the high schools, not just the elementary & middle schools.
Finding the right school district doesn’t have to be stressful! In fact, many of our clients start the process 1-2 years before they’re ready to move just so they have enough time to fully take in all the information we’re able to provide them. We recommend browsing our NJ Schools Guide to get an idea of what’s out there and then contact us to learn even more about a particular town or school. You don’t have to go at this alone! Our services are completely free, and we’d love to help.