How’s the School System?

Whether you have kids or not, it’s smart to pay attention to the ratings of the local education system.

Savvy Homebuying

If you’re searching for a house, you’ll want to ask about the schools. Why? Schools not only impact the amount you pay in taxes, they can affect a home’s resale price, should you ever decide to sell. When we were home searching, this is how we got the inside scoop.

 Do Your Research

Great Schools Abound

If you want to move into a new community with great schools, our new homes in Maryland are just the thing. In addition to some of the best public and private schools in the nation, Maryland boasts prestigious institutions such as the Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland. There’s no shortage of brainpower there.

Websites like and offer excellent resources on elementary, middle, and high schools. You can read parent reviews and learn how well students fare on standardized tests compared to other schools in the area and the country.

Reach Out

If you have kids and want to see the facility, call the school secretary. Many schools have scheduled tours to help familiarize parents. It’s also a good idea to reach out to an officer of the parent-teacher association to find out their perspectives.

 What You Should Ask

I If you schedule a talk with a school official, here’s a list of questions that will help you during your conversation.

  • What’s the school’s educational philosophy?
  • If it’s an elementary school, how many classes are there per grade?
  • What is the average class size?
  • What are the special programs and extra-curricular activities?
  • How does the school use technology to support education? Are there foreign language programs? Music and drama programs?
  • What are the school’s greatest accomplishments? What are its largest challenges?
  • Is the principal enthusiastic about the school?

Other Stuff to Think About

In addition to specific performance questions, you’ll want to visit the school to pick up the vibe. Does it seem cheerful? Is artwork displayed in the hallways? Are the facilities well maintained?

If you’ll have a child in middle or high school, you’ll want to consider these items:

  • What are the graduation levels?
  • Does the school have Advanced Placement courses?
  • How well are students prepared for college?
  • What percentages of students go on to four-year colleges and universities?

Ryan Homes Tip: Make an appointment with the principal to get a better sense of a school’s leadership and mission.