But the best resource is calling the school district itself.
Just because a house is within a certain school district doesn't guarantee that the child will go to a specific school. If there is over-enrollment, the child may be sent to another school.
We've seen and heard of stories where parents pulled out all the stops to buy property in a certain school district, only to be the told their children will be sent to neighboring schools instead. There are no guaranteesâ€¦.especially since there may be school redistricting in the future.
Once you've located the specific school, then you can use http://www.greatschools.net to rate each school.
You can also rate by API score. Go to the following site for API scores for all schools in Alameda County:
Scroll down to Oakland - typically, the higher the API, the better the school.
Figuring out schools can be a bit overwhelming and I totally understand. I have two kids 9 and 13 and both are in Oakland schools and have been since they started school.
The way Oakland schools work is there is a hierarchy for enrollment. If you live in the neighborhood you have a higher priority than if you do not. If you have a child enrolled in a school and you have a younger one who is trying to enroll in the same school, they are also given priority.
As part of the options process, you can actually submit a request for your child to get into a school that is not in your neighborhood. This is the options process and here is a link to the Oakland School Website for more details about the process. http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/Page/72.
Based on this you don't necessarily have to live in the neighborhood where your child goes to school. There are not guarantees, but what I can tell you is enrollment changes up until the first few weeks of school, so even if you do not get into the school you first initial tried to get into, there is a waiting list and often if you can hold out, your child can get in. This can be a bit stressful (happened to me with my oldest), especially for those of us who like to plan in way in advance (like myself)
There are some schools that are more in demand than others. It is often based on the number of neighbors who chose to enroll in the local school along with overall performance and perception. There are a lot of great schools in Oakland and I have been happy with the education my sons are getting. It is a very personal decision for many. What I think is a great school may not be what you think is. I have a son at Kaiser Elementary and one at Claremont Middle. It has not been perfect (I don't think any school can be), but I have to say I have been very happy with the schools (academic and community).
I really encourage you to visit schools as well to get an idea of schools. GreatSchools is a great place to get started and you can also check out the Berkeley Parents Network http://parents.berkeley.edu/. This listserve is not just for parents in Berkeley but also surrounding areas and is a good resource as well. There are public schools, but also charter schools to check out.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
Hope this helps!
Alain Pinel Realtors
The Oakland Unified School District has an online tool to help you figure out which school district you would presently be located inside of: http://mapstacker.ousd.k12.ca.us/
You can type in the address of a house you are considering buying, and it will show you the school. Just keep in mind that the school boundaries do change over time, so there is probably no guarantee.