When building or buying a new home, there's a lot of checks and balances to go through as a new home owner, and even more so if you're a parent with kids in school. On today's episode, Chelsi and Whitney discuss school districts and zoning and how that affects our home owners moving into a new area. Listen in for resources and helpful tools to find the school your zoned to as well as tips on how to get your home prepped and ready for "back to school"!
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:19] Thank you for joining us on today's episode of the Welcome Home Podcast. I'm Whitney Pryor, and I've got Chelsi Frazier here with me. Hi, Chelsi!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:27] Hello!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:28] Today, it's just the two of us.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:32] Yes!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:32] We're going to be talking about an important topic that I don't know that we've covered yet.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:37] I don't think so.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:38] I think it's a really important one.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:40] Yeah, definitely. I know you guys get this question a lot. Any time we are out in communities and doing events, people ask us this, but with it being back to school time, which how is it even back to school? I think the Summer just flew by!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:55] It did. It flew by for real.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:58] Yes, some kiddos started last week and we got some starting this week as well, just being the beginning of August. We're going to cover school zones and some helpful tips and advice for things to do at home that help with this transitional time going back to school, kind of two topics that are related to back to school. For school zones, I think most people know what that means, but just in case, what school is your home zone for? If you live in this area at this address, then your zoned for a particular school. If you live in a smaller community where they don't have multiple Elementary, Middle or High Schools, it's not an issue.
Whitney Pryor: [00:01:39] Right, I grew up in a small town!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:42] Yes, I didn't know this was the thing until I moved to the big city and then started a family. For a lot of people, this might not be an issue, but if you live in a city that has multiple campuses, then this is something that you're either aware of or will be aware of at some point because as they're having to build new schools to keep up with the growth, then they have to change zones to make sure the correct number of kids go to the correct number of schools.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:07] I think for relocation buyers, it's probably going to be different for them, too. I don't think necessarily everywhere in the United States has what's called an "ISD" or a "zone". ISD stands for Independent School Districts. In Texas, when you get into the bigger cities, a lot of times you have this ISD. If you're looking for a home in Waxahachie, in the city of Waxahachie, then your children will be zoned for Waxahachie ISD. Depending on where you live in Waxahachie, your children will be required to go to a specific public school in that area. I think out of state, in some areas, it might be different or you might have a choice of where your child can go. You might be able to register them for whatever school you want. That's not necessarily the case in most Texas areas. There's some exceptions, but most of the time it's dependent on where your specific address is in neighborhood is.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:13] That's a great point, because if you're going to a Charter School, Private School, Academies, then this is definitely not what we're talking about. We're talking about public school districts. You have a great point. If you're new to an area, how do you find out what zone you live in? That's the biggest question. Or if you're wanting to stay in a particular school zone, where do you find that that information out? We're going to kind of go over a couple of things that we've come across that we utilize to know that information. School district websites, typically, are going to have a map. If you go online and look for attendance zones or school boundaries, mapping tools, they're all called a little something different, but it's typically going to be a map that says attendance zones or school boundaries.
Whitney Pryor: [00:03:59] Yes, and that tool is super helpful. You can always do the old fashioned way and call the school district. They will ask you for your specific address and they'll be able to tell you where that address is zoned for. If you haven't chosen a home and you're still looking for which communities are zoned to which schools, then definitely those maps online on their websites are super helpful because you can zoom in and see where specific neighborhoods are, as far as, where zoning is.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:04:35] These maps have come a long way. It used to be where you would download a PDF and you couldn't see the street super clearly. It was a little harder. A lot of them now are tied to Google Maps, and so it's just embedded there in the website. You could even, like you said, type in an address or zoom to an area or just click on the map and it'll tell you which Elementary, Middle and High School is on that. Again, not all districts have that, but we are seeing more and more of them with that very user friendly Google map.
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:06] Yes, I think it's super important, of course, if you have children to know what the school is like and if that's going to be a good fit for your children. Depending on how far in advance you're doing research of this, you've got to keep in mind that school zones or areas tend to change every year in a fast or rapidly growing area. If you're looking in a suburb that is growing in population pretty, pretty quickly, then you've got to keep in mind that those school zones will probably change on a yearly basis. Don't put too much stock into that specific school that the community might be zoned to because that could change to another school in that same district.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:51] Yeah, that's a great advice. It's ideal to find a school district as a whole that you believe in, that you love, and that's going to meet your child's needs. Typically, when you find a highly rated school district, every campus is going to be great in different ways. I know we all want our kiddos to stay with their friends, but also sometimes that just happens. They often have growth committees that you can volunteer to be a part of to give your input. We've seen several districts do that throughout the years and bring in parents and community members to speak into that. Some districts will give you the option to finish out the year at your campus. If your child is going into fifth grade, but they've been re-zoned for another Elementary School and it's their last year of Elementary, they'll give you the option to just finish out at that campus. You can choose and sometimes you do see that.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:45] Go to a whole new school for the last year.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:46] Yeah.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:48] That's, that's pretty important. Another thing that happens too, if you are building a home and it looks like the completion of the home is going to be somewhere around September or October. You're like, "well, my kids, we don't want to start them at a brand new school." A lot of schools will offer, if you have a contract on a home, they just ask that you show that, and that can be proof. You can start in their district if you have that contract. I believe there's time limitations on it, as far as, how far out you can go. I don't know that you can have your child in there for the whole year while your home is being built, but if it's just a few months away from being complete, then they'll go off of that contract for your kiddo to go ahead and start school there.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:40] Yeah, districts are usually pretty flexible. If you call, if you communicate and let them know or get with your builder and get a letter, then we've seen them being very open with our homeowners on that. Now that we've kind of covered some of those tools and resources for school zones, we're going to transition into another topic that's related to back to school, is getting your home organized for back to school. Earlier when we were talking about today's episode and what we were going to discuss, one of our marketing team members, who's also a mom, brought up a really great point that she thought would be great for us to talk about on the show was giving some ideas on getting prepared at home to ease anxiety and stress of going back to school. What are some things you can do in your home space that will help in that transition, so we're kind of cover some of that stuff.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:34] Well, number one for me is a really loud alarm clock. I was telling you about this the other day. My daughter is not a morning person. She's nine now and I've decided that it's time for her to wake up on her own. I researched really loud alarm clocks on Amazon and ordered it. It is working and I'm so excited. This is our fifth alarm clock and finally found the one that will wake her up.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:02] Do you hear it across the house?
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:05] Oh, yeah, luckily it's set for like 5 minutes after I wake up because I don't want to wake up to that thing. I'm already awake, but yeah, it's super loud. My dog kind of goes crazy and is like, what is going on? There's an ambulance outside our house who needs help, but it's just my daughter trying to wake up.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:25] I remember my sister was in Junior High and she must have had the same problem because my parents got her this huge Garfield alarm clock. At the top, it had the two bells and a little thing that goes back and forth and hits it. It was literally so loud and obnoxious. It woke up the whole house.
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:45] Everyone in the house hates you!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:47] Yeah, so I guess it worked, though.
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:50] So that was top on my list this year, for sure.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:53] Number one, good alarm clock.
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:55] Yeah!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:55] Good night's sleep, that's obviously another one that would come before the alarm clock. One big thing that we talked about, was creating a routine. What are the first things that you do when you get home from school and make those things a habit, so that you're just used to doing it every day and you're less likely to forget. What are those things that you need to get out of your backpack that your parent needs to see every day like your folder, your homework, and then what things do you need to just immediately put away in the same spot that you don't need until the next day? They're waiting for you and you don't have to remember later to go pick it up. Just get home and put your backpack up.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:33] Yeah, and that's where having a mud bench in a home is really helpful because then you can just put your backpack there, take your shoes off, take out your water bottle, fill it up and put it back. I mean, it's just all right there. But if you don't have that space, a shelf somewhere would be a great idea to be able to place all of that stuff on.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:52] Yeah, a hook, one of those 3M hooks that is not going to damage your wall. You can put those anywhere. You can have a cubby space anywhere, just as long as you have that one location. I have to say, because our listeners are mostly in Texas, everybody just did fist pumps because we looked out the window and it's raining!
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:09] Like hard, this is the most rain we have had all Summer, in the last 5 minutes.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:13] Oh, that's a welcome. That is a welcome right there. What else can you do at night to help the morning go better? What things can you just get done that you know you're going to need every day or it's less to do in the morning. You can pack a snack, like you said, redo your water bottle and charge your devices. You have that one space where you plug in your iPad or your laptop. Most kiddos are having to take those to school every day. A dedicated space is just like a reoccurring thing.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:41] Yeah, we replaced a couple of our outlet plates with the ones that have the USB chargers in them because we're constantly looking for the blocks to charge devices. We just have a couple of spots. One of them is in the kitchen and that's just kind of our device spot where we plug everything up for the day or for the night. Like you said, they have computers a lot of times now and you have to bring them charge to school every day, so we just have that as like a charging corner pantry. We've got a drawer or like a cute little basket on the pantry shelf that is all school snacks, that way we can just grab and go.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:21] Yeah, I love it. I'm sure listeners, you probably have tons of tips, so definitely send those in and we can share them, as well, on social media. We had a podcast back in May with home organization gurus Jenny and Erica. They had tons of really great tips for home organization, so check that one out, as well. We just wanted to wish you all a great school year and thanks for tuning in.
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:44] Yes, thank you listeners for tuning in, listening to us today, and getting more information about our school systems and how they work. We'll link in the show notes to more information. We look forward to having you on the next episode of the Welcome Home Podcast.
Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor: [00:13:01] Welcome Home.