Looking at schools can be an important part of the home buying process if you have school-aged children or pre-schoolers that will soon be entering elementary school. Some home buyers find that it’s easier to choose a school or district first, and then find a home within that school district or zone. Other home buyers are not picky about the actual schools, so they determine a minimum school standard and then choose a home within any districts or zones that meet their standard. Still others prefer to just shop for the house, either because their child(ren)’s academic performance is unlikely to be affected by the school or because they plan to send their child(ren) to private school.
If you do want to research schools to help you narrow down your home search or to break a tie between two great houses, there are some school comparison websites available. School Digger (https://www.schooldigger.com/) is our favorite because it offers side-by-side comparisons and the data is updated when the annual state numbers are released. GreatSchools (http://www.greatschools.org/) also updates their rankings every year using state data. If you use school comparison websites - or any kind of test score ranking, it’s important to note that test scores do not tell the full story. If one or two schools within a particular district are selected to host the district’s ESL (English as a Second Language) or EC (Exceptional Child) program, their test scores will be naturally lower than a traditionally mixed school in a similar area, but the overall school experience for a child in the traditional education programs will be the same at either school.
The Charlotte area has some great schools. Within the CMS (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) district, there are schools that rank among the top in the state, both in academic performance and in athletics. CMS also offers strong magnet programs in foreign language emersion; STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics); STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics); IB (international baccalaureate) and Montessori, among others. Both York County in South Carolina and Union County in North Carolina offer a more traditional program with schools that perform very well academically.
Now is a great time to send your kids to school around Charlotte. The local school districts have become better equipped to handle the huge population growth that the city has been and continues to experience. No matter where you choose to buy your new home, your schools will be ready for you.
Enjoy the adventure!