Hampton Roads has a wide variety of choices for schools. Whether you are looking for a private school or are looking for a good public school, there is a lot of information to digest when making the right decision for your family.
Hampton Roads Public Schools are primarily Kindergarden to 12th grade with some schools offering state subsidized preschool programs to lower income families. The area is home to some wonderful public schools and Virginia Beach for example is ranked nationally as having one of the best school systems in the Country. As is always the case, some schools are better than others. There are a lot of opinions about which schools are the best. There are grading criteria that you can look at when searching for a school that will help you in your decision making process. The majority of the metrics used to grade schools take into account the grades in the primary subjects of math, science and reading. As a mother of 3 children, I can tell you that there is more to a school than just good ratings. One of which is the community that surrounds the school. The stronger the community, the stronger the PTA which seems to correlate to a strong school. Talk to friends and neighbors in the areas you are looking and get their opinions. Look online and see what people are saying in the review websites. As a Realtor I can tell you that a desirable school district is a major factor in the value of a home. Why else do you think people get up and arms anytime a school district line is redrawn. You can see a significant difference in property value if your home is in one school district vs. another. This is especially important for High Schools. You will often times hear the question of “what high school does your neighborhood go to?”. Pay attention to this even if you don’t plan to have kids in that school because if you ever want to sell your home, it will make a difference.
Another indicator of a good public school district is how many kids go to private school. In some areas of Hampton Roads, private school seems to be the norm in higher middle class neighborhoods. This is of course great if you want and are prepared to send your children to private school. For families that would rather utilize the public school system than finding areas where other families like yours are sending their kids to public school is a good gauge for what the schools are like in that area.
In some of the City’s in Hampton Roads, the schools offer a specialty track that allows students to come from other areas of the City to get specialized teaching in a specific course of study. For example, different schools will be the center of excellence for paths such as the Arts, Science and Math. This helps to ensure that your children are given the opportunity to shine in a specific area regardless of what school district they live in. Many of the families that I know who are utilizing this program are extremely pleased. Their children are able to meet a much wider swath of kids that they would otherwise not get the opportunity to meet and also they are being challenged in a field of study that they are passionate about.
The area has some excellent private college preparatory and religious based schools to choose from. As is the case with most private schools, they will provide your children with a smaller classroom environment and increased teacher, student interaction. There is also the advantage of your child being a big fish in a small pond giving them the ability to know more of their classmates and participate in more extracurricular activities. For additional information on these schools see the link below.