I can't tell you which school is the best in Arizona. Even if I could, not everyone can send their child there. The State of Arizona makes a great deal of information publicly accessible. If you moving to a specific address, then the decision is easier. But if you are planning where you'll live based on school selection, here are the procedures I would use to narrow down the information. Let's get started.
Time Required: As long as it takes to get the job done. It's important.
- Let's assume you already know where you'll live, and so now you want to know which school your child will attend. Once you have an address, you determine which school district you are in. Search by zip code. The school districts in that zip code will be listed.
- For example, in some zip codes all of the schools are in one school district. That may not always be the case, however. School districts are not organized by zip code, so there may be more than one district serving a particular zip code.
- Find the web site for the school district that applies to you.
- Although the school district sites are designed differently, they all include maps or a place to search for your school by your new address. They may also offer other valuable information, like school calendars and special programs descriptions.
- From there you can see which school your child would attend, and you can do the research on the particular school.
Note: If you live in a school district but want your child to attend a different school within that district, you may apply to the desired school. If they have room your child can attend. In that case, you’d have to reapply every year.
- Many people who move here don't know yet where they will live, but rather make that decision, at least in part, based upon the school they want their child to attend. Then the procedure might be a little different. You can determine which schools in Greater Phoenix are good by using these lists: "A" Rated Schools, "B" Rated Schools, "A" and "B" Rated Charter Schools.
- Hopefully, you have narrowed down your search for an apartment or home to at least just a few cities, based on your budget and where you'll be working. From the list, highlight the ones that (1) are the school level you are looking for (elementary school, middle school, high school), and (2) are in school districts where you might live. That should make the list significantly more manageable.
- Or, you can create a custom HTML list of all schools in your chosen level, including charter schools using this tool. You can narrow down that list by county (Maricopa or sometimes Pinal) and city. You may be asked to pick a grade if the city you picked has many schools. Hint: Traditional schools are in unified school districts. Charter schools are not.
- When you click on "Finish" look for the line that says: "Click here to view, save or print the list you created: XXXXXX.htm." It can be hard to see at first. Click on the .htm file and that's your list. Now you have a list that you can cross reference it to the excelling and highly performing lists mentioned in step #6 above.
- You have narrowed down the list of schools that you would consider. You can find the Arizona Department of Education Report Card on each school using this tool. You can see student test results, staffing information, graduation rates and more for each school. There is also a specific contact name, email address and phone number for each school if you have more questions about the school.
- When you have just a few schools that meet your criteria, you'll have to decide what's next. If you are using a Realtor to locate a home, provide the specific school information so they can look in the appropriate areas. You might want to visit the school or talk to someone at the school. Are extra curricular activities or sports important to you? School calendar? Hours? Your specific needs at this point will be the final determining factor.
- Another resource that some people find useful is the National Center for Education Statistics. There you can get quick statistics on schools, including the number of students eligible for reduced or free lunches through the nutrition program. You can get detailed information about each Arizona's school's participation in the school nutrition program.