Your kids are very important, and when buying a house one of the most important things you can do is to find the right school. Most people use resources like Great Schools at http://www.greatschools.org/. This is all fine and good, but all you’re looking at here is test scores. If you want good test scores, just go find a wealthy neighborhood, they all have good scores.
But test scores aren’t a good predictor of how successful your child will be in school. They area really just a goo predictor of how much you’ll have to pay for a house. There are more important things than test scores, such as the culture of learning, quality of teachers, family engagement with the school, and your child’s perception of bullying and safety.
A good case study of this has been presented by a real estate agent in Seattle at http://jvpRE.com. The city of Seattle has good resources available with school reports of how each school is performing on not just test scores, but also surveys of how parents, students and teachers feel about a variety of metrics important to facilitating learning. You can find the Seattle school reports at the link.
The agent, Justin Vander Pol from Re/Max Seattle has put together a very easy to follow article about how to identify the best schools in Seattle. This is a very important thing to do in a big city. Most people would prefer to live in the cities, but choose the suburbs for their better schools.
In places like Seattle we are starting to see a shift in this pattern. As more families opt for the benefits of living in a city with a vibrant culture, we are seeing the elementary schools get better as more families get involved and more high performing kids are staying in the city.
One place we are seeing this is in West Seattle’s Schmitz Park Elementary. It is one of the top schools in the area, and the surrounding schools continue to improve. Once these kids reach high school age then West Seattle High School is likely to improve as well.
It’s a safe bet to send your kids to a School in a place like Issaquah, but Seattle is starting to catch up.