We often get messages from moms who are moving to the Triangle area and wondering what neighborhoods have the best schools. Fortunately, there are plenty of great neighborhoods throughout the Triangle, so the best first step might be to zero in on where a job might be and then focus on what you would consider a good, commutable distance.
The term “Triangle” gets tossed around a lot in these parts. What it really refers to is the 3 major cities/educational hubs that make up this region; Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. You then of course have the suburban areas that surround those communities. You also commonly hear the term “RTP”, which means Research Triangle Park. RTP is the home to several major corporations and growing local businesses that employ a large number of people in this area.
So where is the job that you or your spouse have been offered? Start there.
The next step is to find a good realtor, who can help you further narrow your search. Realtors might be the best resource when it comes to picking the right neighborhood for you family, because well, they spend all day helping families scour neighborhoods…
I reached out to Sandy English, a Triangle area realtor, who has been helping families find homes in Raleigh and throughout the Triangle for over 20 years. When I asked how she helps clients that are looking for “the best schools”, she replied with a variety of resources that can help families in their search.
Look At The County’s Website
In North Carolina, the public school systems are managed by the county that they reside in, not the local municipalities. This is also an important point because of the number of public schools that may exist throughout the county. The current growth rate of the area and some of the suburban neighborhoods in particular, means that just because you move into a particular neighborhood, does not mean your child will automatically be assigned to that school.
Within each county, there are also year-round schools and traditional schools. Year-round schools operate on track systems. This means your child will attend school throughout the year with longer breaks in between, as opposed to traditional, where they have the summer off.
Below are the 3 Main Counties that you will likely be enrolling in:
Have you narrowed down your search to some of the schools that your children could potentially enroll in? Sandy also recommends using GreatSchools.org. Once you have narrowed down your search criteria, GreatSchools allows you to search by school name and find out what each schools’ rating is. You can also search by address if you already have a few listings that you like.
Is Private The Way To Go?
If you are interested in private schools for your family, you also have a variety of great choices to consider. Although GreatSchools.org does not offer ratings for private/independent Schools, you can search their site to find a list of schools in your area. You can also search the new and expanding Raleigh Moms Blog Triangle Directory for private school listings.
Pay Each School A Visit
After you have narrowed your search down, Sandy highly recommends that you pay each school a visit and preferably when they are operating. “Sometimes visiting a school gives a very different view from the data online”. All schools will and should allow you to visit their campus. Please just be sure to call ahead and schedule your visit as the safety and security of students takes top priority.