It is vital to learn about the school districts in the area, before purchasing a new house or moving to a new address. Public schools are controlled by school districts. These districts divide regional areas into specific school zones. Residents can send children to the public school designated for that particular zone. If you change to another primary home address, your child will be reassigned to the public school for that district zone. A highly successful school will increase the property value for homes within that zone.

Visit the National Center for Education Statistics website, and search through the School District Demographics System. Select the most recent year from the “Profiles and Comparisons” section. Select your state, and choose a district from the drop-down menu. This will list statistics for the district including the graduation rate, household demographics and average real estate cost.

Visit the PSK12 website, and search through the top schools in your state. Click on the link for your state, then choose either “Elementary Schools,” “Middle Schools” or “High Schools” under the “Standard Rankings” section. The next page will list the ranking of schools based on Math, Science and English scores. Next to each school will be the school district. The data is free for earlier years, but you have the option to pay for reports for the most recent years.

Search through magazine rankings for top performing schools in your area. "US News and World Report" releases a yearly ranking of top performing schools based on factors such as test scores, graduation rates and AP course enrollment. Search through the schools listed in your state, to see which district the best schools are located in.

Visit the Great Schools website, and search for schools in your area. Type in your city, and click “Search.” Schools will be listed by their website ratings. The Great Schools ratings are based on standardized test performance. There is also a “Community” rating based on parent reviews from users registered with the website.

Ask around your local area for personal reviews of nearby schools. While standard tests and subjective rankings can help narrow down the better schools and districts, it doesn’t paint a complete picture. Parental opinion is still the most honest source of information regarding schools and should not be overlooked.

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