Home Buyer's Guide to the Best School Districts In Orlando

A Home Buyer's Guide to the Best School Districts In Orlando

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Orlando is a huge, sprawling city, so you need to make sure you buy a home in the right place. Check out this guide to the best Orlando school districts.

A Home Buyer's Guide to the Best Orlando School Districts

Imagine saying this: "Buying my home was the easy part of moving to Orlando." Hard to do, right?

But it's not buying your home that poses the biggest headache. It's choosing where to look for your home in the first place. And if you have a family (or anticipate one in the future), one of the most important aspects of that search is the public school district in which you'll reside.

There is a headache-inducing number of factors that go into choosing a school district. When it comes to Orlando school districts, sorting through these factors reveals some very high-quality options. The city has some of the most excellent schools in Florida, if not the country.

That said, how do you tell the great from the merely good, and how do you avoid the bad entirely? Keep reading this summary of school districts in Orlando to find out.

Orlando Schools vs Orlando School Districts

Before we begin, it's important we clarify our terms. Let's talk about the difference between entire school districts and individual schools.

The reason we make this distinction is that Orlando has less than a handful of actual school districts. However, within those districts, there are dozens of schools with a wide range of quality between them.

So, while we will offer analysis of the districts themselves, we consider it more helpful to highlight a couple of schools within the districts. Even the worst school district can have a stellar school. Likewise, not every jewel in the best school district's crown is equally shiny.

By looking at some individual schools, you can get a better sense of the districts for yourself. We hope this is especially helpful to those with limited budgets, as properties in the best school districts may exceed some people's price ranges. There is still a way to find a good education.

The Big Four 

When it comes to Orlando school districts, there are four that stand out because of their proximity to the Orlando metro area. We're going to focus on them. You won't see Brevard or Marion County Schools on our list, or any district other than these top four.

Let's start with the cream of the crop.

Seminole County Public Schools

Simply put, Seminole County is one of the best school districts in the State of Florida. U.S. News put seven of the district's 18 high schools on its Best High Schools rankings list.

One of those schools, Hagerty High School, is ranked as the 27th best high school in the state. GreatSchools give Hagerty a 9 out of 10 rating, and around 80% of the entire study body is fluent across all subjects, from Algebra to English.

Seminole County gets incredibly high marks for its diversity. A student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1 assures students get to know their teachers and their classmates well, making for a warm learning environment.

Orange County Public Schools

There are more than 264 schools total in the Orange County system, and it's no coincidence that this is the district most central to the city.

With almost 200,000 students across the system, it could be easy for students to get lost in their education. Fortunately, the district maintains a 16 to 1 student-teacher ratio to ensure this doesn't happen.

That ratio gets even better at the district's top high school, Orlando Science Charter School. Orlando Science is actually both a middle school and a high school, and its student-teacher ratio is 13 to 1. Students at Orlando Science test very well, with 84% proficient in math and 82% proficient in reading.

Volusia County Schools

Volusia ranks slightly lower than Orange County in our estimation. One of the reasons for this is that it has the same student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1 despite having one-third of the students in the Orange County system (just over 60,000).

Volusia schools do get high marks for the diversity of their academic offerings. Students in high school can pursue IB and AP programs, with AP offerings that range from Calculus to Microeconomics.

Lake County Schools

At the bottom of our list is Lake County Schools. Since this district is bringing up the rear, let's start with the bad news.

Academics are not a strong suit at Lake County. Only 49% of students test proficient in reading. When it comes to math, the school doesn't fare much better at 51% proficient. This poor performance may have less to do with the school itself than the lack of opportunities for children in their surroundings.

Nearly 70% of the students in the district are on free or reduced lunch. This traditional marker of economic need highlights the fact that school may be one of the only places where the least privileged children experience stability. It's hard to focus on academics when you spend most of the day hungry.

On the bright side, over a third of the teachers in the Lake County district are in their first or second year teaching. This could be seen as a drawback, but don't underestimate the importance of the passion teachers in their first years bring to the job. These also tend to be the teachers with their fingers on the pulse of education's future.

Take the Good with the Bad

There is a wide variety when it comes to Orlando school districts. On one hand, you have some of the highest performing schools in the country. On the other, you see schools in underserved communities that struggle to rise above the realities of their environments.

We know you have a lot to consider when making your move, and we hope this rundown of Orlando school districts and a couple of the schools within them opens your eyes to your range of possibilities.

When it comes to any aspect of buying a home, we're always here to help.

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