Top 9 Virginia School Districts to Buy a Home
Top 9 Virginia School Districts to Buy a Home
If you're looking for a new home in Virginia and want to make sure your children are getting an excellent education, you'll want to know which school districts are the best in the state. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors®, 24% of home buyers said that school quality was important when looking for a new home.
The good news is that Virginia has plenty of great school districts to choose from. In fact, Virginia is home to five of the best school districts in the country, according to Niche.com's 2019 Best School Districts ranking. The 133 public school districts serve 1.25 million students each year.
So which Virginia school districts are the best? We looked at independent media sources and the Department of Education's School Quality Reports data to pinpoint nine of the frequently top-performing districts. Here are a few Virginia school districts that top the list:
Falls Church City Public Schools
This district consistently ranks as one of the best in Virginia, and for a good reason. The Falls Church City district's schools are some of the highest-performing in the state, with strong test scores and graduation rates. The district serves about 3,000 students and covers an area of just over two square miles.
Falls Church City runs five schools from preschool to grade 12 with a premier IB continuum curriculum. It is the only district offering IB curriculum to all students in the state and one of just nine in the US. It prides itself on small class sizes and its inclusive special education. It had a 98% graduation rate in 2021, with proficiency rates above 90% in reading and math.
Falls Church City is located in Virginia's Washington Metropolitan Area west of Arlington, just minutes from the nation's capital. It is the smallest incorporated municipality in Virginia. Only 14,600 people lived in the city at the 2020 Census.
Arlington Public Schools (APS)
Arlington's public schools have a long tradition of excellence, dating back to the 1800s. Arlington Public Schools is the state's 12th largest district. Washington Post ranked it in the top 2% of districts in the nation on its Challenge Index in 2022. Niche.com called it the best place to teach in Virginia and ranked it the state’s no. 2 school district.
APS runs 40 schools from preschool to grade 12, serving over 27,000 students. The 24 elementary schools funnel into six middle schools, one secondary grades 6-12, four high schools, and four other programs. The district has a graduation rate of 95%, with 83% of students taking at least one college-level course. Like many top systems, it has a strong commitment to equity and inclusion, with various programs and resources for students of all backgrounds.
Arlington often ranks as one of the top places to live, but it also has a high cost of living. This urban community is just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, so its location is highly desirable. Other perks include a relatively low crime rate, low unemployment, and high outdoor recreation access. Residents enjoy miles of trails at the area's parks. In fact, Arlington was one of the first communities to have LEED Platinum certification, in part because of its sustainable urban planning.
Plus, residents have a thriving arts and culture scene, many historical attractions, and hundreds of dining and shopping options.
York County School Division
The York County School Division is one of Virginia's top school systems, with high test scores and graduation rates. York County runs 19 schools from preschool to grade 12, serving over 12,000 students. It runs ten elementary schools, four middle and high schools, and one charter school.
The district had a graduation rate of 96% in 2020, with 64% of students graduating with an advanced studies diploma. Its schools have magnet programs in arts, math, science, and technology.
York County is inside Virginia's historic triangle, about halfway between Richmond and Hampton Roads. The triangle includes Jamestown and Williamsburg. York County has a long tradition of excellence in education. It is home to the College of William & Mary, Virginia's second-oldest college. Its schools reflect the community's commitment to academic rigor and excellence.
With all these amenities, York County still retains a more rural feel. It has a temperate climate ideal for enjoying the many rivers, lakes, and outdoor attractions all year. It has over 200 miles of coastline, so waterfront living is an option. A low cost of living is paired with a strong local economy, with the Port of Hampton Roads nearby.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
The Virginia Beach City Public Schools is one of Virginia's largest school divisions, with over 63,000 students. Virginia Beach City is the only division in the state with all its high schools accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Virginia Beach City Public Schools runs 86 schools from preschool to grade 12. The district has a graduation rate of 94%, with 54% of students receiving an advanced studies diploma. In 2017, Niche.com ranked Virginia Beach City as the 9th best school system in Virginia by Niche.com.
Virginia Beach is an independent city located on the southeastern coast of Virginia near the North Carolina border. It is Virginia's most populous city, with over 450,000 residents.
Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches, parks, and golf courses. Attractions include several museums like the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and the Virginia Aquarium. Residents have a thriving dining scene, many festivals, and an arts scene to keep them busy. The scenery, climate, and abundant things to do draw people from all over to call the town home.
Albemarle County Public Schools
A more rural district, Albemarle County runs 26 schools from preschool to grade 12, serving over 14,000 students. It has several specialized academies and high schools to address a range of learning needs.
The district had a graduation rate of 93% in 2020, with 64% of students taking an advanced studies diploma. The district's schools offer a number of unique programs, including Environmental Science, Health Medical Science, and a STEM Academy.
Albemarle County is located in central Virginia, west of Richmond. It is a largely rural county with a population of just over 100,000. The county is home to the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and many historical sites.
The appeal of Albemarle County is its small-town feel and charming scenery. Living in town affords an urban lifestyle, but you can live on a homestead or farm without being too far from modern entertainment and shopping options.
Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools
The Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools runs 16 schools from preschool to grade 12. It is one of Virginia's smaller school districts, with just over 11,000 students. While run by an independent government, the city of Williamsburg does co-operate schools with James City County.
The district had a graduation rate of 90% in 2020, with 80% of students testing proficient in reading and math. The district's schools offer some unique programs, including an International Baccalaureate program and a Governor's School for the Arts.
Williamsburg is Virginia's oldest incorporated city, dating back to 1699. It is located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is home to just over 15,000 residents. The city is a popular tourist destination for its historic sites and Colonial Williamsburg.
On the whole, James City County provides a blend of urban and rural lifestyles. Residents get access to championship golf, many dining options, the upscale shopping amenities of a tourist town, and world-class cultural attractions. Plus, there are miles of hiking and biking opportunities.
Fairfax County Public Schools
Fairfax County Public Schools is Virginia's largest school division, with over 188,000 students. It's also one of the largest school districts in the nation. The district runs 221 schools from preschool to grade 12.
Incredibly for its size, the district had a graduation rate of 95% in 2020, with 64% of students taking an advanced studies diploma. Fairfax County was ranked as the 4th best school system in Virginia and has been recognized for having one of the most challenging high schools in the US.
Fairfax County is Virginia's most populous county, with a population of over 1.2 million. The county is located in northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. It is home to several large corporations and government agencies. Local cities include Fairfax, Alexandria, and Reston.
The overall cost of living is higher here, but in exchange, you're living in a high-demand area with multiple dining, arts, shopping, and real estate options. Plus, it is one of the nation's best school systems.
West Point Public Schools
West Point Public Schools runs two schools, divided into PreK-5 and grades 6-12. It is located in Virginia's Tidewater region and serves just over 800 students. WPPS is unique in that the student body comprises students who live both in and out of the district. Of the total population, 19% of students' families pay tuition to attend West Point Schools.
The district had a graduation rate of 92% in 2020, with over 90% of students scoring proficient on reading and math exams. The student-to-teacher ratio is low, reaching 14:1 in the secondary school setting.
West Point is a small town located on the Virginia peninsula between the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers. It is home to just over 3,000 residents and is a busy tourist destination. It provides a rural, waterfront lifestyle.
Loudoun County Public Schools
Loudoun County Public Schools is Virginia's third-largest school division, with over 82,000 students. It runs 98 schools from preschool to grade 12, including 18 high schools, 17 middle schools, and 61 elementary schools.
The district had a graduation rate of 97% in 2020, with over 60% of students taking an advanced studies diploma. The student-to-teacher ratio is low, reaching 13:1 in the secondary school setting.
Loudoun County is Virginia's second-most populous county, with a population of just over 400,000. The county is located in northern Virginia, west of Washington, DC, and beside Fairfax County. It is home to a number of large corporations and government agencies. Major cities include Leesburg, Sterling, and Ashburn.
Loudoun County is the happiest county in America, according to SmartAsset.com, which uses an index that evaluates factors including physical well-being, family stability, and economic security. Other benefits include a thriving high-tech sector. According to the Loudoun County Economic Development Department, 70% of global internet traffic passes through "Data Center Alley'' in Virginia's Loudoun County.
Virginia's Top Schools
As you can see, Virginia's top schools offer unique programs and high achievement standards. It's no wonder Virginia is a top state for education with so many great options. When you're ready to buy a Virginia home, consider one in these top school districts.