I always believed I understood what it meant to have a child long before I had any of my own. This belief immediately vanished the moment my wife gave birth to our first daughter. With her first breath I knew that I had been perpetually transformed and placed in a new category, that of parenthood. Those who have a child to rear of their own, whether biological or adopted, understand when I say, you are not in the club until you are in the club. Parents will do just about anything for their children including making sacrifices for our child’s education.
School kids When searching for a home to buy all parents inevitably asks the question, where are the best schools in Northern Virginia? The answer to this question is as elusive as a politician answering a direct question during a campaign re election. What makes this question so challenging to answer is who determines what characteristics make one school better then another? With every state having its own defined criteria the ability to compare schools becomes even more convoluted. These standardized tests vary from state to state, and can a math, science, or English test measure social or artistic ability? In the quest to answer what seems to be a simple question we have only unveiled more questions. As a REALTOR I cannot answer this deceptively easy question and any agent who claims they can, should be retained with caution. What I can do is lead you to the tools to determine what’s important to you and for your child.
There are many in the media that perform “in depth” research to produce a list of supreme educational institutions. One of the more popular sources for this kind of list is the U.S. News & World Report Americas Best High Schools. Fairfax County has been bestowed for many years in a row with one of the Best High School awards, held by Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria Va and currently ranked 4th. Below are a few of these lists.
- U.S. News and World Report: Best High Schools
- Newsweek: The Top of The Class
- AOL: Americas Best Public Schools by Region
Be careful of rankings like these. Take for example that U.S News and World Report’s 3rd best high School Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology does not even appear in Newsweek’s top 1,500 best schools in America. These two rankings were published only months apart which begs the question, how can a school be number three in one ranking and not even appear in the top 1,500 of another? When researching schools that best fit your child and family needs, keep in mind these lists may be of little use. The criteria for these lists are established for ease of ranking and are gathered from multiple sources that may or may not be important to each individual.
Classroom A well known fact by most is that an excellent school whether elementary, middle or high school will help real estate values in that area. Home buyers should keep this in mind when searching for a home even with no children of their own. This should be one of the first steps for a home buyer to undertake along with finding a professional agent to help as a guide through the home buying process. Always keep in mind an overall good school district does not translate to every school in that district is good. My experience as a REALTOR in helping home buyers in many Northern VA communities has allowed me to find some helpful resources. These web sites will help you determine which schools in Northern Virginia are best for your individual needs. The one I find most useful is Great Schools.org which is easy to navigate and understand and with all of these used together will lead you to the best schools for your family.
- Great Schools
- School Digger
- Public Schools K-12
- Public Schools Review
- Magnet Schools of America
- Boarding School Review
- Private Schools
Good luck in your search for the best school I understand how important it is for you family.