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Visiting schools before or after move to US

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DW and I have a dilemma regarding visiting schools in anticipation of move to the U.S. DW has green card interview at London embassy this week. It looks like my new job in Baltimore will start week of Nov 3 so I need to fly across in anticipation of then in 3 weeks time. Our daughters will attend school but we need to visit some of them to figure out which we'd like to send them to.

It's quite a tight timeline. Due to DW's job she may not fly across with the kids until perhaps 2 weeks later. Ideally they would come across at the half term school holiday in England during last week of October but the timing doesn't look right.

Has anyone been in this situation? At this point we're thinking that when they fly across in November that they just have a week or so off while we visit schools and sort out any paperwork,etc. this could be pushed out if we can't get rental lease in order to prove we live in the school district.

I was wondering if anyone may have been in a similar situation and did things differently? Or if anyone had any ideas that we might not have thought of. This is our biggest stress as we want to be sure they're in the right school and also that we can rent in the right place.


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I think it will depend on where you are moving too. The schools here wouldn't have anything to do with us till after we actually moved here. They refused to even answer any questions, the school board gave us some info but that was it.


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There are all kinds of school evaluations online, posting rankings and such. Look at several and see what districts tend to get high marks on several of them. Google "good schools" and you'll find websites.

And the people at your job have good local knowledge. Get in touch with somebody who can say what areas are known for better schools and which to avoid. Try to talk to several people because everybody can be opinionated.

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We emigrated to Pennsylvania just over a year ago with four kids. Getting the whole education thing right was one of our top priorities and actually determined which area we lived in.

I was able to enter into email correspondence with someone from each of the School Districts we were considering in advance but we could not arrange anything more in-depth than that until we could evidence we were resident in the school district. In our case, my husband had to move out to America ahead of us in order to start his new employment. In that time, he found us a house to rent that turned out to be next door to an Elementary School. He went to the School District for an appointment with the signed lease to prove residency and I emailed across all the forms they needed from the UK (medical forms to prove the kids' vaccination status were their primary concern). Only then, when our kids were registered at the school, was my husband able to go into the school and meet the Principal and have a brief tour.

We flew in on a Thursday afternoon and my kids were on a tour of the school the next morning and started school on that Monday. It was a bit of a whirlwind.

As I explained above, we chose where we were willing to live based not just on where we could afford to rent and eventually buy (we bought a house this summer) but also on the quality of the schools. Do you know the website www.greatschools.org/? It is really useful. I then advise narrowing your field of school districts and making contact with the person in charge of admissions for each school district and asking them what they will require in order to register your children at their schools. Most schools also maintain a website that you can look up and which will give you a feel for the ethos of the school, the extra-curricular activities offered etc.

Best wishes


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