A Remote Worker's Guide to Choosing the Best Schools in a New Community

By Natalia Wolting  • Jan 22, 2024
Taking a child to school

For remote workers contemplating a move with children or who are planning to start a family, selecting the right community involves more than just finding a home and childcare. The quality of schools in those communities is also a crucial factor in the decision on where to relocate to. Finding the best schools in a new community can be a complex task but with careful consideration and research - remote workers can ensure a seamless transition for their families. Here’s how to research and evaluate schools in communities you’re considering moving to as a remote working family.

Start with Statistics

Begin your school search by looking at the data around school performance in the communities you’re considering relocating to. Review standardized test scores, graduation and college acceptance rates. Compare how area districts rank to state and national averages. Top-performing schools will have high scores and graduation rates across the board. Watch for red flags like high turnover in administration or facility. Check out websites like GreatSchools and US News that provide school ratings and comparisons across multiple statistical measures.

Reach Out to Locals

Statistics won’t tell the whole story though so it’s best to reach out to locals in the communities you’re researching to get an inside perspective on their schools. You can connect with residents through Facebook groups, Reddit and NextDoor to see what they like and don’t like about their school districts. Inquire about academic programs, class sizes, parent involvement opportunities and other details that matter to your family. Locals will be able to give you the inside scoop!

Schedule School Tours

If possible, schedule in-person tours of the schools in your shortlisted communities. Meeting with teachers and principals provides valuable insights into the school's culture. Ask about teaching methodologies, communication channels with parents and opportunities for parental involvement. Observe classroom environments to assess faculty attitudes, diversity, classroom resources and technology integration. Chat with office staff to learn what average daily attendance rates are like and hear their take on school culture. Getting an on-the-ground feel for schools will confirm if they align with your family’s needs.

Compare Extracurricular Activities

A well-rounded education extends beyond the classroom so be sure to take inventory of your children’s special interests or talents in the arts, STEM and sports. Then compare how local school districts stack up for these activities during your tours. Look for extracurricular programs related to your children’s abilities and aspirations such as robotics teams, orchestra, advanced STEM curriculum and theater programs so they can nurture their skills. Communities such as Henry County, Indiana are perfect for students who are interested in sports as they identify as being sports enthusiasts and offer remote working families a free gym membership and youth sports membership as part of their incentive for moving there.

Henry County LOVES sports. Of course, basketball is front and center. Pictured here is New Castle High School, which has the largest gymnasium in the country.

Community Engagement and Support

Evaluate the communities to assess their level of support for education. Read the minutes from local school board meetings and parent-teacher association gatherings online. A community that actively supports its schools is likely to foster a positive learning environment. Additionally, communities with colleges or university’s nearby such as Huntington or Terre Haute, Indiana are likely to provide a conducive environment for your children's educational growth.

Special Needs and Learning Support

If your child has any special needs or requires additional learning support, it's crucial to investigate the resources available in potential communities. Research the presence of special education programs, qualified staff and any additional services that may be required. Ensure that the community you select can provide the necessary resources to meet your child's unique educational needs.

Consider Work and Home Life Balance

Striking a balance between work and home life is essential so be sure to factor in transportation considerations when touring schools especially if your spouse will be commuting to work. Consider the proximity of schools to your potential home and evaluate transportation options such as school bus routes and traffic patterns to make an informed decision A convenient commute can significantly contribute to a more balanced and manageable lifestyle.

Evaluate School Inclusivity

Adapting to a new school can be especially difficult if faculty and students aren’t welcoming to new students, especially if they are from different backgrounds. To prevent this, research the demographic makeup of potential communities and schools to ensure that your child will have the opportunity to learn and grow in an inclusive and supportive setting. An inclusive environment also promotes a sense of belonging and prepares children for the outside world.

Selecting the best schools in the communities you're considering relocating to as a remote worker involves a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. By comparing data, local insights, in-person tours, extracurricular activities and community support across school districts - you can make an informed decision that supports your family life. Taking the time upfront to fully evaluate educational options will pay off exponentially by setting up your family for future success in your new community.

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.