House-Hunting 101: Finding the Right School

Today’s write-up is in response to another reader request: How do you find the right school while searching for the right home?  Clearly, finding the best school is a crucial deciding factor in every family’s new-home search. There’s a lot of information to sift through, but, fortunately, a lot of what you need to know can be found online.

The Web site that most of my friends with kids turn to is It’s chock-full of need-to-know info, and allows you to find all of the top-rated schools in your city, compare schools in the same zip code or in the same district. You can then sort the school lists by school type, GreatSchools rating, parent reviews and the number of students per full-time teacher.

The National Center for Education Statistics ( tracks an almost overwhelming amount of public-school data. You can quickly see how Hawaii’s test scores stack up against other states and find information—student/teacher ratio, enrollment by race/ethnicity or grade, number of students eligible for free lunch—about individual schools. Similarly, details classroom profile data and state test scores. And, you can always refer to this magazine’s 2010 “Grading the Public Schools” article,

In addition to researching public schools, you may also want to consider Oahu’s private schools. You can find descriptions and contact information for many of the island’s private schools on the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools Web site (  or at You can also read our 2011 Private School Guide (written by yours truly) in this month’s magazine or at

Once you’ve selected a school(s), the next step is finding a home. Most real estate agencies’ Web sites have filters that allow you to narrow your search by school or school district. For a local resource, I really like Prudential Locations’ search-by-school function ( Choose a school from the pull-down menu, and the site pulls up a list of homes for sale in the area.

If you have any other savvy tips or want to ask us a question, e-mail us at