Finding the best school for you is a major home buyer concern. When I’m showing homes I always get questions about the school district. Because most home buyers are young families, school is important.
Bergen County has a well deserved reputation for having great public schools. As a result, we are a very popular destination for young home buying families. Finding the best school for you is not impossible but it’s also not a simple task.
- I can’t advise you; no real estate agent can do this.
- Buyers often believe it if it’s in the internet
- Reliable data and websites can be hard to find
- Data isn’t everything
- School tours are often not allowed
These are the challenges. Let’s look at them carefully.
Because of anti-discrimination law and concerns, I can not discuss school districts. Buyers tell me that they find this frustrating. They rely on me for information and guidance after all. What I can do is guide them to what I feel is reliable information.
If it’s in the internet nearly everyone believes it. Let’s be honest – do any of us truly research what’s on the web? We go to Wikipedia, for example, and believe it’s true. Not everything is. There are websites out there that I’ve found ranking/rating schools using parent reviews. How reliable and accurate is that? Not at all. As a result, it’s easy to be fooled and hard to find reliable data.
Speaking of data, it’s not everything. Just because a school scores higher than another does not mean it’s the right school for you. Sometimes high scoring districts are not as nurturing as a lower scoring school. Also, what outreach does a school have? A client of mine decided on a town because one coordinated with robotics classes at Bergen County Academies and another did not. The one that did not scored much higher.
School districts used to give tours during the school day for prospective parents. Today almost every district does not. The reason given to me has been lack of time and security issues. As a result, this experience is no longer available. I think this is a shame but there’s nothing anyone can do about this.
So I am not allowed to say anything. You can’t believe every website and article you see on the web. It’s tough to find reliable data. Schools don’t give tours. However, finding the best school for you is still something I can help you with.
Go to my website section on schools. You’ll find the link to the State of New Jersey’s Performance Report on every NJ school district. Scroll down further where I have a link to every Bergen County school. There is a breakdown to show you which schools make up a regional high school.
The US Department of Education has a school data site – The National Center for Education Statistics You can get to the district you want by just filling in the town name, State (NJ) and county (Bergen). Just remember for regionalized districts, you need to put in the regional high school separately. Also, River Edge and Oradell have both their middle and high schools together as the Riverdell School District.
Of all the school ranking websites, the best one I’ve found is www.niche.com So many of the other popular choices are based on parent ratings which I feel is an unreliable method. New Jersey Monthly Magazine has a highly watched bi-annual ranking of high schools. The most recent was done in 2016. There is also the US News & World Report high school rankings at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools
Finding the best school for you is a lot easier using all of the above. Be sure to remember that the best school for you is not always the highest scoring district.