If you are relocating to the Scottsdale area and you have children, the area you choose to live in will likely be heavily influenced by your evaluation of the schools. Pennewell Simpson Partners can make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your family.
Scottsdale has long been recognized as having some of the best schools in the state, but you should pay close attention to the ratings of each school within each district. There are 3 schools districts that cover most of Scottsdale, with Scottsdale Unified School District and Paradise Valley School District being the largest. Visit their websites for information, including school ratings.
Choosing the Right School for Your Child
Parents have a choice of where to send their children to school. Each school district publishes a boundary map for their district, and children are assigned to a public school based on where they live. Unlike many other geographic areas of the country, you may also choose to apply to another public school through open enrollment, or may apply to a charter school or private school.
What is Open Enrollment?
Arizona state law allows students to apply for admission to any public school, based on available classroom space. First priority is generally given to applications received by mid-January for the following school year. Once a student is accepted into a school, he does not normally need to reapply, and priority is generally given to siblings.
What are Charter Schools?
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that were established to provide additional choices for families, and are usually established with a special focus, learning environment or objective. Most public charter schools are operated independent of local school districts by either non-profit or for-profit entities, although school districts may also sponsor charter schools. The schools and students must continue to meet Arizona’s performance standards.
What Are Magnet Schools?
Magnet Schools generally have a focused specialty such as art or technology and offer yet another choice for parents. A Magnet School can mix grade levels within one classroom and can operate on a year-round schedule. They are not governed by neighborhood boundaries and are required to accept students regardless of domicile district.
Some families choose to send their children to private schools. Private schools do not receive state funding and are not under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Department of Education code. Tuition is generally required and in some cases scholarships are available. There are many private schools to choose from in Scottsdale.
How are AZ Schools rated?
The Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) reviews the performance of all public schools (district and charter) using an array of testing and performance measures. The department is currently transitioning away from assigning letter grades for performance, and in the interim will assign the Reward rating to the highest performing schools, the Focus rating to schools showing some gaps, and the Priority rating to the lowest performing schools.
AIMS test results are available for every school
Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) is a Criterion Referenced Test designed to measure each student’s progress against the Arizona Academic Standards. Students in grades 3-8 take the AIMS as do students in High School. SAT, ACT and Stanford 10 test results are also available for most schools. Check the district websites for results.
Looking for a trusted professional to help you make the right choice?
Pennewell Simpson Partners knows a lot about finding the right school – both of us have first-hand experience in choosing schools when we relocated to Scottsdale, and understand how challenging it can be. We look forward to hearing from you and to welcoming you and your family to the Scottsdale community.