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REAL ESTATE TIPS: Big vs. small school districts: Both win in the end

This is the second part in a two-part series with points to ponder when home buyers are looking at school districts while considering where to buy a home.

It seems that a lot of people – at least in my circles – have an opinion about what type of school is better: big or small. I think that they are both good and will provide what you are looking for as the best fit for your family and student. This week, I am going to share with you some points to consider based upon my experience. These are 100 percent opinion; there is no journalism research on this. At all. That is my disclaimer. So, with that in mind, here is what I think.
n Big schools may offer more variety.

I was taking one of my son’s best friends to his home in a different school district. I asked him if he was excited for high school next year and told him that one of my favorite things was picking out my class schedule. He told me that he had been doing that for two years. At his school, their middle school kids have a variety of classes to pick from that may not be offered at smaller schools. Bigger schools have the students to fill additional things like extra classes, sports and activities. This is more difficult to offer when a student body is so small. It isn’t a good or a bad thing.

* You know almost everyone in a small school.

I know most of the parents in all of my boys’ classes. Many of the parents went to high school with my husband or went to church with us. Since my inlaws are both from Dalton, many of the parents are related to us. With some classes, there really aren’t that many parents and families we don’t know. I recently spoke with a young mom from a very big city – like population of 850K. She said that she was going to be struggling to find after school care until she got home from work. I suggested a high school kid in her neighborhood but she told me that just seems strange to her in a city so big because there are so many people that she doesn’t know.

* Big schools mean more friends to choose from.

I went to a very small private school in kindergarten. We had 10 kids in our class. By the time we were in 6th grade, we had six kids in our class. Your options for finding a best friend or special someone are less when your grade has 100 kids than when it has 300 kids. I’m not saying that a child won’t find great friends in a small school. My husband did and they are all close to this day – 25 years after graduation. I am just saying that in terms of math and numbers, more students equals more options. Our youth group at church is the same way. Very small. Our kids happen to love it! Some parents might want a bigger youth group. It is just personal preference and again, it is simply numbers.

* In a small school, you are a big fish in a little pond.

One of my friends was telling me that her relative had been a very good athlete in the first small high school he started attending. When a job transfer took the family out of their small school and into a very big city, he was suddenly not the star athlete but just another athlete. While the example here is athletics, it could just as easily be drama, music or academics.

The truth is, I don’t value one size of school over another. I love that my boys go to Dalton, a very small school. But I also love another local school, which is extremely large. We have friends who live there now and friends who attended the school district years before. Location can play a role in the school you pick. It may be close to your job, relatives, shopping centers, or some of your favorite places to eat. As you can see, for me personally, district size is not important, the people are (and proximity to food!). I know that at the end of the day, no matter what school my boys attend, they will make friends, learn and have opportunities to grow. A good school district isn’t a substitute for parents who love their kids well at home. So big or small, support your school and the staff and show your team spirit. Have a blessed week!

Esta Ryder, Realtor
President’s Club
Ryder Realty, LLC

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