I am not the best source of information about the local schools and have no idea what school best fits your children’s needs.
Not surprisingly, “one size does not fit all” when it comes to education and different children flourish in different environments.
Every child is not destined to be valedictorian. Some children have learning disabilities, attention disorders or simply need a certain type of environment in order to reach his or her full potential.
And not every one thinks the most rigorous or academically challenging environment is the best place for his or her child.
Simply put, parents know their children better than I ever could and are in the best position to determine what schools will be the best fit.
Fortunately, I am lucky enough to be living in an area where the school systems are generally considered some of the best in the country.
Alexandria is home to what is generally considered one of the top high schools in the country – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Of course, your child may be a brilliant, top performer whose area of interest doesn’t lie in the sciences, so even this exceptional school would not be the right fit.
When you look at how Virginia high schools stack up nationwide, you will see a long list of top ranked schools. US News, long known for its rankings of schools, says
Virginia is home to many schools ranked in 2012 among the U.S. News Best High Schools. The highly ranked Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is located in the Fairfax County Public Schools, near Washington, D.C. and about 100 miles from the Virginia capital of Richmond.
And on its list of Virginia’s top ranked high schools you’ll find many schools from Northern Virginia represented.
There is no doubt Virginia has its share of outstanding schools – but even then, which of those schools is best for your child can only be determined by you, who knows the child’s strengths and weaknesses.
And it’s important to keep in mind that Fairfax County schools, for example, have long been considered some of the best schools in the nation for many years. So, while a nearby school may not be on the “best of the best” list, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great school or the perfect fit for your children.
The local school systems in Fairfax County and Alexandria City both offer extensive, information-packed websites which make it easy for parents to scope out each school. And of course, Great Schools offers not only information about each school, but parent comments as well.
Like everything else, the best way to find out about local schools is to visit the schools, talk to the teachers or the administration and get a feel for the school itself. Not every child will excel at the “best” schools for a variety of reasons and it’s possible a private school will be the best fit.
So, when I cannot answer your question “what about the schools?” without sounding as if I am hedging, it’s because I simply have no idea what schools best fit your children’s needs.
I can point you to the best resources and tell you where you can find boundary maps so you’ll be able to identify the neighborhoods served by the schools you have identified for your children. As for deciding which schools are “best,” though, that’s where you’ll have to do your own homework.