Page 3 of 3
By GreatSchools Staff
If the key to prime real estate is location, location, location, then the foundation of an exceptional education may be community, community, community.
“The secret to our success has to do with the parents and the community,” says Williamson of Fort Thomas, echoing every other superintendent interviewed for this story. With a median home price of just $176,960, Fort Thomas is a far cry from the verdant Massachusetts suburbs. But, says Williamson, an intensely committed parent body — the first line of fire when it comes to supporting a school — makes all the difference. So too does greater community involvement, like Fort Thomas’s dynamic partnerships with Western Kentucky University, Thomas Moore College, and the Cincinnati Ballet.
For some cities, community support happens in the voter booth: In Mesa, Ariz., residents consistently support their schools by passing educational bonds and taxes in local elections. “Education is a commodity everyone here values,” explains Mesa’s superintendent, Michael Cowan.
However, community support is not something you can simply purchase with high taxes or university partnerships. From parent involvement to committed teachers, an abiding focus on education suffuses the character of these cities.
In the end, the Utt-Grubbs chose Cary not only for its great schools but also its educational culture: three large universities; more PhDs than anywhere else in the nation; and Research Triangle Park, the country’s largest high-tech research park.
Granted, the family doesn’t own their home. They’re leasing for now, trading in one American dream (owning a home) for another (a bright future for their kids). But their gamble seems to be paying off. Sam landed a job as a wireless engineer with Verizon, and Kelly runs her creative media company from home. Perhaps even more important, 9-year-old Andrew and 7-year-old Christopher love their school, Carpenter Elementary.
What really matters when it comes to finding the right city to bring up your kids? That’s for you (and every other parent) to decide. But the Utt-Grubbs' story offers living proof that sometimes you can have it all.
So how do you find the proverbial needle in the educational haystack? Our study of some 18,000 U.S. cities identifies the top places nationwide with the best public school districts by population (small, midsize, and large cities) and median home price (under $100K, $100K-199K, $200K-399K, $400K-599K, $600K-799K, and $800K or more).
We eliminated cities with fewer than five public schools and 10,000 people, and — for all but the largest cities in the country — those with too high an unemployment rate. School ratings are based on a combination of GreatSchools ratings and National Assessment of Educational Progress data.
For more information, check out our methodology for choosing the best districts.
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.