School Decisions: Transferring, Best Fit, Registration, Enrolling

Everyone is guaranteed public school education in the USA but you have to decide where you are going live in advance, before you can enroll. Newcomers usually choose a school district located near the new job and arrive during the summer, before the school year starts in September. Ideally, research and decisions should be made about a year in advance. There are other education options like home schooling, private schools, catholic schools, or charter schools. It’s all up to you but here is a general snapshot of how to navigate the public school path.

American schools are funded by local government property taxes, and therefore property values. Good schools are usually located in high property value neighborhoods. To get started, sites like Project Appleseed can help you choose a school based on your family’s needs with recommendations from the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Begin with evaluating state school districts and then narrow your search down to a cluster of city choices. The following websites give further precise city data such as school reputation compared to other towns, programs offered, and school size to help you decide the best fit for your family:

Registration is next. Find out the name of your school district you’ve chosen. Call the main school district office number to inform the administration that your kids will be attending this school year. Your admission to the district is determined based on your new home address plus other identification requirements.

Instructions for transferring school records – which must be translated into English – to enter the US school system should be explained on the school website, or contact the district if it’s not clear. Math, science, and physical education should transfer easily however, history and languages may not. If your child is not fluent, the school will issue an English language proficiency assessment and if necessary, your child will be placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class.

Insider Savvy: All kids are expected to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” This may seem nationalistic, but education is one of the few social institutions included in American citizenship and therefore, national loyalty is explained and nurtured.

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