Navigating the waters of your child’s education is sometimes a tough, emotionally charged project so I wanted to provide some help.
Education is a hot topic these days and like so many other parents you are likely wondering: Where are the best elementary schools in our city? Which schools offer the best student/teacher ratio? What are the best school districts in the state? Which schools have the best graduation rates?
Finding the answers takes work, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some tips:
1. Use Bing. A simple “best schools” search will give you ratings of schools in your general area. To get more specific results, change your search to “best schools in X,” inserting county, city or region. If you chose to search by city, you’ll see top-ranked schools, along with phone numbers and directions, listed at the top followed by related searches that will point you to similarly named cities in other states. For example, Bing narrowed my “best schools in Irvine” search by geo-locating me in California. However, in case I was looking Irvine, Texas, Bing provided that answer, too.
2. Check out the Bing Education Map. Start by selecting Bing Maps, once there on the bottom left corner of the page select the MAP APPS button, then Bing Education Map App. Use the map to select a state and city, and Bing will plot the schools in that area. Click on a number to see links that offer in depth information about that specific school. Then click to get a review of the school and the surrounding community. You can even use the Bing Education Map App to compare schools.
3. Use websites like greatschools.org, schooldigger.com and localschooldirectory.com. These sites enable you to create side-by-side comparisons of curriculum, class size, test scores, student/teacher ratios and much more. Some even provide links to homes for sale in the area.
4. Ask friends, neighbors and realtors. If you’re moving to a new community, start with the Bing Education Map App to help familiarize yourself with the area. Then, ask your realtor. He or she will have a wealth of knowledge about the schools and the community. Transitioning from preschool to elementary school? Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers—anyone you know who also has children your age or has had children at schools in the area.
5. Talk to your babysitters. There’s nothing like an on-the-street resource to give you the inside scoop. Your babysitter(s) have probably attended the schools you’re considering and he or she can tell you from a student perspective their thoughts about the school, the curriculum, the teachers and the overall school “community.” Babysitters are also real-life examples of the amazing things that await your children. In my case, they’re the reason my kids are excited to be part of symphonic band, wind ensemble and marching band. Nothing like peers to help your children set goals.
For me, finding the perfect school for our kids was one of the most important tasks I have done, and because it has such an impact on their life the pressure was measurable. Bing is all about helping you make more informed decisions, so I hope these tools – along with your social network – will help you make this process a little easier.
Bing Education Team