Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I wonder if anybody could offer me any advice about school placement in the US (Virginia). I currently live the UK but am hoping to relocate to Virginia this year and need to figure out schooling for my three boys who are 4, 7 and 10.

How would I go about finding out what schools are nearby?

How does eligibility work, is it catchment areas like in the UK?

Do you have to pay for any of the state schools?

How much would private schools typically cost?

How would I register my children for any given school?

When is the most appropriate time to do this?

How can I find out which schools are good and which are bad?

etc.

I don't necessarily expect answers to all of the above specifically, just these are somee things in my mind, so any advice gratefully received.

Many thanks,
Twinks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Twinks,

Virginia is a huge state. Can you give us some idea what city or area?

Public schools in America are free. If your child were to go to a public school which school is based on what neighborhood you live in. So location of your home is important.

You can often find state ratings of individual schools and now they are posted on the internet. Prices of private schools vary widely.

Registration for public schools is done at the school board office. Those locations can be found online or in the government section of a phone book. You would need to register as soon as you can especially if you arrive during the school year-in Virginia generally after Labor Day (early September) thru mid-June.

The grades they are placed in depend on ages and the birthdates. Kindergarten is the first year and starts at age 5.

So if you can say what part of Virginia, that would help. Parts of VA are very rural and parts are very urban.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for the quick reply.

Area would probably been close to DC. Maybe Alexandria, Arlington, Annandale, Springfield, Franconia, somewhere around those sort of areas.

Many thanks,
Twinks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
That area is known as Northern Virginia and in general schools there are very good. You can go to any of the county websites for this area and find information about schools. My kids went to school in Loudoun County (to the west of DC) and we couldn't have been happier. The schools have programs for gifted as well as remedial/special students. By the time our daughters graduated highschool they had enough advanced placement classes to skip their first year of college/university. I say this only to indicated that you do not HAVE to send them to a private school to get a good education.

I would caution you that when you select housing it is in the neighborhood that corrresponds with the school district you want.

I just tried to send you links to the school district and it won't let me because I have not made enough posts.

So, if you google FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOLS, ARLINGTON COUNTY SCHOOLS, ALEXANDRIA COUNTY SCHOOLS hopefully you will get the links I was going to send....

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Yolo,

Thanks again for the reply. That's some useful info thank you.

My only concern really for area is that I am close enough to Alexandria (Old Town) for work which is where my company is based. I have a hell of a commute at the moment in the UK and I am hoping to avoid that if I relocate by getting somewhere close enough for me to either get the metro or drive to work. Hopyfully no more than around 5 miles or so.

I have heard that the beltway is murder to drive along during rush hours, so I'm hoping to avoid that if I can.

Any suggestions for reasonably priced housing for family of five meeting the above travelling criteria around those areas welcomed.

Many thanks,
Twinks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I hear ya' on the commute. I did it for many years and know your pain.

Here are a few things to 'play' with and cross reference.

A great general real estate site is trulia dot com and then type in Alexandria, VA prices etc
This site will let you zero in on neighborhoods. If you cross reference that with Metro stops ( Metro's site is wmata dot com) you will get general ideas of what is around. Or factor in schools too.

Let me know how it goes....and if I can help more, let me know.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,428 Posts
Usually (but not always) school assignment is based on a catchment area. The quality of the local schools and the local school district is a big factor in the US in housing prices (both for purchase and rental) so one of the best sources for information about schools tends to be the local real estate agencies.

If you check the big agency websites (Century 21, Good Housekeeping, Coldwell Banker, Realtor, etc.) the detail information about homes for sale or rent usually includes some indication of the school district in which the property lies. Click on some of the links and you can often find detailed analyses of the schools in the area.

When you get to the stage of looking for housing, the real estate agent will be able to provide loads of information if you just ask him or her.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Yolo and Bev for your replies, some useful info.

I'll check out some of those sites and let you know if I have any more questions.

Best regards,
Twinks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,370 Posts
Bev - what is a catchment area?

You can go two ways - public or private school. Public depends on your actual residence address. You will have to bring proof of this in form of lease/title when enrolling the child. Private will mean tuition plus probably a longer commute for the child and you as they generally do not bus.

Old Towne is a great place to be but not one to try to park in. Unless you have parking space provided by the company - stay on Metro or bus but consider that schedules run differently at various times of the day.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,428 Posts
Bev - what is a catchment area?
Basically, it's a "school district" in US-speak. Not all schools in the US work on the "school district" principle. When they do, where you live determines which school your kids attend (and the districts can be different for elementary school, middle school and high school).

There are some districts, however, where even from the primary grades (including kindergarten) there is a bidding system of some sort - either competitive exams and interviews, or some kind of quota system to ensure a proper "mix" of races, cultures and kids from the local neighborhood and elsewhere. Things have gotten complicated since I was a kid back in the US!
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
There are some districts, however, where even from the primary grades (including kindergarten) there is a bidding system of some sort - either competitive exams and interviews, or some kind of quota system to ensure a proper "mix" of races, cultures and kids from the local neighborhood and elsewhere. Things have gotten complicated since I was a kid back in the US!
Hmmm, things aren't that complicated. Either you live in the boundaries of the school district or you do not. If you do, your children can attend the local school as per your address. In some larger districts, they do offer specialized "magnet" schools at the secondary level that enable your children to attend a school that specializes in their interests, ie, arts or sciences. In those cases, you do have tests and quotas and such to gain admittance - much like getting into a college or university.

But otherwise, if you wish to avail yourself of the public education system, it's down to where you live.

Private schools are purely down to how much $$$ you can fork over ... and possibly who you knew in college. :rolleyes:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,428 Posts
But otherwise, if you wish to avail yourself of the public education system, it's down to where you live.
Usually, but there are a few big city schools (NYC for one) that has a more complicated system with bidding on schools at nearly every level. (Not just the magnet or charter schools.) Blew me away when I first heard about it.

But then again, NYC is in some ways a whole separate country.
Cheers,
Bev
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top