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Often, we get asked by doctors that are looking to relocate for help with assessing schools and school districts. We know that the education of their children is very important to them. At Jackson Physician Search, we actively research school systems, neighborhoods, cost of living, and other information so we can match physicians to jobs that fit their career and personal needs.
Resources for Assessing Schools and School Districts
There are plenty of good websites for checking the general “temperature” of a school or school district. It’s important to remember that the ratings are primarily based on standardized test scores. When there is additional information on student outcomes and growth or college preparedness, that is also weighed. Not all states report on those metrics though. Some sites use datasets such as community demographics, real estate sites, Wikipedia, etc. Keep in mind, sometimes that data is out of date or irrelevant, so be sure to check the source date of the information.
- nces.ed.gov/ – This is a great site that has information about public, private, and charter schools. There are many reports, with lots of data, that you can use to evaluate schools.
- schooldigger.com – This site has its own ranking system called the “SchoolDigger Rank”. Their database has detailed profiles for over 136,000 schools. They track enrollment data, test scores, crime data, real estate data, etc.
- greatschools.org – GreatSchools is the leading national nonprofit for school ratings. They also have articles, tips, and interactive tools to help parents support their children’s academic efforts.
What’s Most Important in Assessing Education Opportunities
There are more important factors than picking the “right” school. There is a strong correlation between academic achievement and the highest level of education of the parents, especially the mother, and the emphasis placed on learning in the home. When there is an expectation of academic excellence in the home and a real-world example of academic excellence, students have a much higher probability of academic success. This is great news for the families of physicians and scholars like yourself.
The School Is Only One Element of Academic Success
In many ways, it is more relevant to research specific resources versus overall school rating. Some schools offer resources such as before and after-school programs, and special needs assistance. If your student is college bound, they need to be prepared to differentiate themselves from other college applicants. At Harvard University, one of their four main considerations for admissions is interests and activities. More specifically, extracurricular activities, athletics, and community involvement. Your work-life balance can also have an impact on academic success. How much time will you have to get kids to soccer practice, help them with homework, and teach life lessons?