Does Your School Rank?

Does Your School Rank?

One of the most important aspects to consider when buying a home is the quality of the area schools. First time home buyers often have children or plan to have them in the near future. These buyers take great care in considering the quality of the educational choices in the area.

In the past it was difficult to find information about the quality of schools. Most people had to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. Now anyone can find excellent information regarding school quality in Northern Virginia through several excellent resources.

Mainstream Media

Major news outlets, including television, print, and radio, often publish analyses of public schools in the region. This may be as simple as a chart regarding performance on standardized tests, or a broadly focused piece exploring multiple schools.

The Washington Post is an excellent source of information about area schools. The local NPR outlet, WAMU, and television news agencies, Fox5 and NBC4, also provide good information. Interested homebuyers can use their sites to do some research and learn more about the area than just the quality of the schools.

US News & World Report publishes widely cited standards and rankings of educational institutions every year. Their analysts rank schools based on a wide variety of information, including class size, student-teacher ratios, graduation rates, test scores, and more.

Local interest magazines, such as Northern Virginia Magazine, also publish rankings based on similar criteria. It is helpful to utilize these rankings because their research staff focuses on area schools and has the time to compile a significant amount of very detailed data.

Online Services

Home listings are not the only information available through online resources. Many sites are cropping up related to education quality, and even some real estate listing platforms have information about schools.

Zillow is an excellent resource for almost all the information you need when buying a home. They have a map-based interface so you can research the area and see exactly where schools are located. They often provide school ratings as part of this interface.

The information found on Zillow is compiled, analyzed, and rated by members of the community on Greatschools.org. This service allows users to see how parents feel about a particular school and assess factors such as test scores and student-teacher ratios.

Using these services enables parents to learn about the community they may be entering. Savvy homebuyers should look at the reviews not only for opinions but also to see how people in the community communicate with each other.

Rankings and Reputation

According to U.S. News & World Report, Northern Virginia has some of the best high schools in the nation. This makes it a very attractive region to first time homebuyers, who are also drawn to the region’s lucrative employment opportunities.

The highly ranked Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is in Fairfax County, just a short distance from Washington, DC. Many parents of students in this school are Federal Government employees, though a rising number are employed by a burgeoning technology sector.

Schools in the area are proud of their reputation and welcome parents to explore the school and meet with the staff. Many of the services and publications mentioned here list school contact information; do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with the principal or to take a tour of the facilities.