14 Things Every Military Family Should Look for in a School
“What do I look for in a school?” is what pretty much every military family is asking right now.
Every parent I’ve ever worked with has asked me that question. It’s super tricky to pin down the things that make a great school. Is it location? Area demographics? Extras? Curriculum?
Honestly, it’s all of those things, and so much more! Finding a great school can be hard, so let’s take a peek at the most important parts of a great school for military families.
Every school system is zoned slightly differently. Some systems are organized by town, others by county or parish. And some schools are a huge mashup of different towns and/or counties. Bigger districts are often sub-zoned, especially for elementary and middle school. This means you could live in the same system or district as a great school, but not be able to attend due to location and zoning.
Pro Tip: Before you settle on a house, make sure it’s zoned for the schools and system that you prefer.
I’m the first to say that school ranking isn’t everything, or even most things. But it is still important to consider. Military families are on the move often, which means we get to select a new school system with each PCS. Given the choice, you should pick a higher ranked school or system over a lower ranked school. The higher the ranking the more likely your child is to find resources and assistance.
Pro Tip: Use the School Comparison Worksheet in the Ultimate School Success Kit to find the best school at your next duty station.
You can usually find this information in the school rankings. Academics is more than just the scores on a test, though. This section really asks parents to take a look at the total package: programs, opportunities, and options. A lot will depend on your child’s needs and wants. There might be a great science-based charter school in your district, but it might not be a good fit for your super artsy daughter.
Pro Tip: consider what your child needs and wants in school before making a final selection.