Being transferred for work can come with many challenges if you are moving with your family, but one of the biggest can be how to pick a school district when looking at long term corporate housing. When it comes to a child’s education, parents want to make sure that where they live will open doors to good educational opportunities. To help with this, we have put together a list of some things you can research to help pick a school district when looking at long term corporate housing.
How to Pick a School District When Looking at Long Term Corporate Housing
When a career or position change calls for a move to a new city for you and your family, knowing how to pick a school district when looking at long term corporate housing is essential. This requires families to research not only school districts but also available long term corporate housing opportunities in the area as it may be necessary for the two to go hand in hand.
Some of the top considerations for picking a school district when looking at long term corporate housing include:
- Types of Schools. Depending on the location of your transfer, you may have the option to choose between several different types of schools in the district, such as public, private, or charter. Each can have different rules about where students must live in order to be admitted, so this should factor into your consideration.
- Location. Since public schools typically allow admission based on where a child lives, many families choose the school district first and then look for corporate housing in that specific neighborhood. Even those that opt for private school generally choose one that is located close to their residence for convenience in getting children to and from school.
- Age of the District. Older school districts can have wonderful schools, but many struggle with structural or maintenance issues that may require more of the district’s budget for upkeep. If leadership does not have funds earmarked for addressing these issues, it could detract from a child’s education.
- District Ratings. Public schools are frequently rated on their performance. In the Lone Star State, the Texas Consolidated School Rating report is put together by the Texas Education Agency. This report typically focuses on three main areas including academic accountability, financial accountability, and community and student engagement ratings. These can give people who are new to the area a big picture view of a district and the schools within it.
- Technology Availability. A school district’s budget can determine what types of technology they have available to students. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the technology budget for the district and how they invest in that department specifically. This will give parents a better idea of how their child may be learning with (or without) technology in the classroom.
- District Leadership. Schools under the umbrella of a school district follow guidelines set forth by district leadership. For this reason, it can be wise to research some information about the current district leadership, including their current tenure at this location, as well as their goals and vision for the district.
- Long Term Corporate Housing Options. As you begin looking at school districts, work with a reputable corporate housing provider to ensure that there are long term housing options currently available in that area. Be sure to note what schools in each of the school districts you are looking at have long term corporate housing available nearby to meet potential residential requirements for attendance.
If you are struggling to know where to start when it comes to school districts in the area of your transfer, it may be helpful to speak with a corporate housing company representative, soon-to-be co-workers, and local community businesses. Quality online reviews may also prove to be useful.
While much of this information may be available online, it can be wise to supplement it with firsthand data of your own. Try to visit the district office as well as one or two schools within the district to develop your own opinion.
Choosing a Specific School Within the School District of Your Choice
Once a family has identified a school district that meets their expectations for providing education for their children, the next step is to choose a specific school. Depending on the location, some school districts can stretch from approximately one to two dozen square miles. This can mean that the specific school you choose can further determine the location of your long term corporate housing if a student’s address determines which public school they will attend.
When it comes to choosing a specific school within the district of your choice, parents may want to evaluate the following eight factors before making a final decision:
- Size of the School. This can be a nonstarter for some families and a determining factor for others. The student population of each school can vary. If you have concerns about sending your child to a school with a larger student body, then it may be wise to look for a smaller school.
- Courses Offered. Particularly in middle and high school, electives become a bigger part of a student’s course load in addition to their core classes. Take a look at what types of courses each school offers, the variety provided, and the specialties available. For example, if your child is considering pursuing a career as a doctor, it can be helpful to choose a high school that offers electives such as additional science classes or related CTE (career and technical education) classes.
- Educational Focus. It is not uncommon for some schools within a district to have a particular educational focus, such as one or two elementary schools that offer Spanish courses while others do not. If you wish for your child to have access to a specific opportunity like this, it may narrow down the number of schools to choose from. Other schools might offer more art or STEM based curriculums.
- Extra-Curricular Opportunities. Many parents are looking for schools that offer a wide and varied range of extra-curricular opportunities, such as academic clubs, theater, sports, band, and so much more. Talk with your child about what some of their nonnegotiable interests are and see what schools appear to cultivate them. It may also be valuable to remember the size of a school may also determine what bracket students will participate in for certain UIL activities.
- Bus Routes. Parents should look for long term corporate housing availability near their school of choice to ensure the child will have access to a bus route to that specific school.
- Staff Qualification Information. Look at the requirements to be a public-school teacher within the state, then talk to the schools you are interested in about how many teachers they have on staff for at least three years that meet those requirements. If your child is interested in a specific area of education such as foreign languages or music, it may be a good idea to review the staff’s professional background.
- Staff Turnover Rate. In recent years, the rate of turnover for teachers in schools across the nation has become an issue. While some degree of staff turnover is to be expected, those schools that maintain a reasonable retention rate among staff can sometimes indicate a loyalty to that specific campus.
- Immunization Requirements. Immunizations can be a hot button issue for some families. Look to see what the immunization requirements are and that you are accepting of them before committing to a specific school.
With these bigger items already checked off your list for choosing a campus within the school district of your choice, the last step should be to do some in-person evaluations of those schools that make your final cut. There are some aspects of visiting a school in person that offer certain insights that online research will not. Some parents prefer to arrange an appointment with the principal to get a better idea of what school leadership is like and what their vision is for the campus.
For many schools, the PTA or PTO is the lifeblood of the campus. These committees often help support special events and activities within the school. They assist with fundraisers, school carnivals, and so much more. Most of these general meetings are open to the public, so if you can attend one, it may give you a better idea of how they work with the school to support the students and families alike.
When it comes to how to pick a school district when looking at long term corporate housing, your best option is to do some thorough research on housing availability, school districts, and specific campuses. The cumulative research you do can be instrumental in helping you make a decision that works best for your family.