Checking on School Systems

When looking for a new home, many people want to make sure that they will be moving to a community with good schools for their children. It’s difficult to check out a school system objectively; people often rely on hearsay. There are several websites designed to help you.

One of the best is SchoolDigger.com. For NH schools click here; for Massachusetts schools, click here. SchoolDigger states that its purpose is “…to empower parents like you to make informed choices about choosing a school for your child.” The site contains information on over 130,000 public and private schools in all 50 states. Data includes: national test score results, enrollment information, student/teacher ratios, school and district rankings, etc. Test score results are up to date – 2014 results are listed, along with those for 2009-2013. Other stats are similarly current. You can find schools by name, address, town/city, district, and location. The website is very easy to use and contains a wealth of information. House hunters will benefit from checking it out.

There are a few other sites that can give you additional facts about schools. Public School Review (http://www.publicschoolreview.com/) has articles about how to choose a good school, educational issues, etc. For each school, there are statistics for student-teacher ratios, graduation rates, demographic information, and a link to where standardized test scores may be found.

Great Schools lets you compare three schools in areas such as: student, teacher, and town demographics; poverty stats; and expenditures. It includes standardized test scores and, unique to this site, reviews from parents and students. Unfortunately it has lots of ads, and one has to go to several pages to get a full portrait of a school. It also includes recent newspaper articles that have mentioned the school.

The NH State Dept. of Education’s website offers basic statistical information on every school in the state; administration contact names and numbers; standardized test scores; and basic demographics about the town’s population. The MA Dept. of Education has similar stats for Massachusetts school systems on their website.

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