Schools consultant?

We just relocated here from NYC and are trying to figure out where to target our housing search which is obviously impacted by schools (i.e., which cities/districts/schools to target, strong private options, etc.). In NYC, there were several individuals in each borough who provided "school consulting" - informing parents on the options in their neighborhood or how to optimize a housing search around schools. Since we're new, the number of district options (Berkeley/Piedmont/Oakland/Albany, etc.) are overwhelming, and we don't know the nuances with each (lottery/ranking/forced assignments/magnets, etc.)  

There are a few recommendations for consultants like this on this platform, but they're old, and the folks cited are no longer providing the service. 

Is there anyone in the area who is doing this currently? Should it help, we are primarily concerned with K-5, as that's the upcoming gauntlet.

Thanks for any recs!

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RE: Schools consultant? ()

Since you are new to the area, why not rent a house at a price you can afford, to try out a neighborhood? Then research school options in that vicinity (you don't say how old your child/ren are and when you need K-5 schools). An important thing to know about the East Bay that may be quite different from NYC is that there are microclimates here - the weather varies a lot by neighborhood depending on where you are in relation to the bay and the hills. Pick an area where the weather is to your liking, and go from there in terms of your schooling needs. Welcome to the East Bay!

RE: Schools consultant? ()

I agree with the previous poster, it’s a good idea to rent and then get ideas from neighbors and people who are like-minded. The East Bay is waaaaay more chill than NY, so you probably don’t need a consultant. In general, if you live in a “good” school district, then you can just send your kids to the neighborhood school. If you don’t, or the neighborhood school is not a good fit, you have to start navigating the maze of intra and inter district transfers, charter schools, and private schools. There is lots of school choice in CA, for better or worse, so you will always have options. I know plenty of people who moved to an expensive neighborhood for the schools, and then ended up in private school anyway, and the inverse is also true - plenty of families prefer the convenience and community of a neighborhood school and many of them offer excellent academics anyway. I also know kids who commute long distances to other districts or charters, and others who walk to school. Once you get a feel for a neighborhood and meet some people, you’ll have more reliable school info. 

RE: Schools consultant? ()

Hi and welcome to the Bay Area! I am not aware of schools consultants around here. As the mom of a current college student, my advice is live where you want to live. The house, neighborhood, commute, price, weather, should be what impacts where you live. Register for whatever the public school is in the locale you have chosen (Really. I know many families who "moved for the schools" and were OK but not overwhelmed with the result, and other families who stressed over the "perfect" private school and never found it, and other families who did send their child to expensive and/or highly rated schools and the kid did not end up at a college better than any other.) You and your children will benefit from the sense of community and place that result in living somewhere you enjoy and supporting your local public school.