Military relocation, looking for best school system.

Asked by Amber, NC moving to VA Wed Aug 27, 2008

My daughter will be 5 next year and we are moving before the spring. I've been house searching online, but I've been getting disappointed to see the homes we like being in not-so-desirable school districts. When I see how close the drive is to a school with better overall test scores, it makes me wonder if I have any options there? Has anyone been able to request a certain school if you provide the transportation? She is in a private preschool and she's such a smart girl, I just don't want her to get stuck in low-scoring schools. It's really going to make or break what house we buy. Currenly we are looking in VA Beach, but since he's stationed at the Naval Station, we are open to Norfolk, too. Thanks for your help!

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Candy Dennis, Agent, Norfolk, VA
Fri Apr 24, 2009
Good Morning. I am a Norfolk native and am very familiar with all of the areas of Norfolk. We have wonderful schools, both public and private, that you could visit when you arrive for your house hunting adventure. My grandchildren currently attend Larchmont Elementry School and my daughter has been very pleased with the education they've received. The teachers as well as the principle are very active with all of the children. I have another grandchild who currently attends Ghent Elementry. She has been there since Kindergarden. They have an interesting model program. My suggestion would be to actually find the neighborhoods that appeal to you then visit the schools personally. The school staff of any school, if you schedule an appointment, will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss their school's stats as well as give you a tour of their facility. I would be happy to speak with you at anytime. Candy Dennis, Long and Foster, Norfolk
623-2500. Best of luck and don't hesitate to call if I can be of assistance.
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Julie Humphr…, Agent, Chesapeake, VA
Sun Oct 5, 2008
Hi Amber,

I just had a buyer from Chicago that is relocating to the Hampton Roads area; they really found a huge help. As an agent we are not suppose to "steer" clients to certain areas, however, as a born and raised native of Virginia Beach, I know the more desirable areas. I would be more than happy to provide you with any information you are seeking. Please feel free to contact me directly.


Julie Humphrey
EXIT Realty Specialists
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Karen Darden, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Thu Oct 2, 2008
Realtors are not allowed to steer you to a particular neighborhood, but can provide resources and suggestions for you to make an informed decision. The City of Virginia Beach Public Schools has a great website for you to research the schools. Here are a few good links to look at when buying a home:

Word of mouth is a good way to go as well. However, keep in mind that everyone's opinion is their own. Try and speak to as many people as you can to get a true feel of the neighborhood or school.

As far as being out of district and driving to a desired school, the City of Va. Beach does not allow that unless it is for child care before/after school or if you child is accepted in to a gifted program, or an academy program,

Please contact me directly if I can be of assistance.
Web Reference:
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Gina Wilkins…, , Virginia Beach, VA
Tue Sep 30, 2008

I always recommend John B. Dey Elementary, Great Neck Middle, and Cox High if you are choosing Virginia Beach. They have great scores, teachers, and standards. Here is the site for Virginia Beach Schools if you would like to look at them: I live in Cape Henry off of Shore Drive and my Husband is retired Navy Capt and was stationed at the Naval Station. The commute for him was just fine and our kid got to attend those wonderful schools.

There are great areas in Norfolk as well. I would recommend the Ghent or Larchmont Area if you are looking in there. Maury High School District is the best there.

I hope this helps, if you would like a relocation disk just contact me at Thanks again.

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Kelly, , Virginia Beach, VA
Mon Sep 29, 2008
I know exactly what you are going through! As a military spouse and mother of three, my biggest concern when we move, is finding a great school for my kids. I have lived in Virginia Beach now for over 10 years and have been very happy with our schools (Red Mill, PA Middle, and Kellam). My kids are actively involved in sports and, for public schools, the curriculum is fairly challenging. Good luck with your search! Kelly
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Evelyn, Home Buyer, Pennsylvania
Thu Sep 25, 2008
Without a doubt the Great Neck area schools.
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Rose, Both Buyer And Seller, Norfolk, VA
Mon Sep 22, 2008
I currently live in Norfolk and am moving to VB also for a similar reason. We were planning to send our son to private school in Norfolk but decided with the extra money we could get a bigger house in VB. The best elementary school in Norfolk is Mary Calcott. The middle schools all kind of suck, from what I've heard. There's also Granby Elementary which is a magnet school and kids can go there from anywhere in Norfolk but it's a lottery as to who gets in. is a good website for getting school rankings. We're moving to Kempsville school district. Kempsville has been a stable school district since I moved here 10 years ago. Cox and Kellam are the highest ranked and people always want to be in Cox district. But I've also been told there are alot of drugs in Cox high. I don't know how true that is, just what people told me. Stay away from Green Run. The elementary school has good rankings but it's not a good area. Good luck. Wherever you are if your husband is stationed in Norfolk try to be near I-64 otherwise the traffic in VB can be murder. The only area of Chesapeake I would live in and travel to Norfolk base is Churchland. Hope this helps.
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Angie Nishni…, Agent, Richmond, VA
Wed Sep 10, 2008
The most demanded school HS districts in Chesapeake are Great Bridge, Hickory, and Grassfield HS.
For Va Beach, it is Cox, First Colonial, Kempville, and Kellam.

I was born and raised in Va Beach, but when I bought a home I opted for Chesapeake. I got more for my money and am in a great school district. Both cities have strict rules about districting. Schools receive money based on students, so the option of you providing transportation probably will not matter. I recommend researching the schools and buying in a favorable district you like.

I would recommend to all my buyers. I also recommend that they visit the school when they find a home that interests them. I also recommend looking in BOTH cities and comparing the values house to house.

School websites and SOL results are found on my website:

Hope that helps! Best of luck to you in finding your new home.
If you need any questions answered, feel free to contact me.


Angie Nishnick
Realtor, CSP
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Andie, Home Seller, Virginia Beach, VA
Tue Sep 9, 2008
I'm surprised that no one has suggested Chesapeake. The commute can almost be better from there to Norfolk depending on where you live. Great Bridge is supposed to have the best schools in Chesapeake, but we had some military friends who raved about Western Branch schools too. If you do want to be closer to the Norfolk base, Larchmont Elementary is supposed to be one of the better choices and maybe you will move on before middle school.
We currently live in Va Beach because my husband was stationed at Oceana and it made better sense, but we loved living in Chesapeake when we were stationed here before.
Something else to think about might be depending on what your husband does and if you want to stay here longer than one tour, he could get orders to a different base in the area so you might want something central. Good luck with everything!
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Lori Jeltema, Agent, Suffolk, VA
Mon Sep 8, 2008

No one can gage how suitable a school is but YOU..the parent. Take a week to visit the schools personally and find out what schools are best for your children. Use the internet as a resourse then call the schools and ask for information regarding their standings and make an appointment to visit them yourself. Sometimes, the highest rated schools by others don't match your family needs. Being military, you may be used to Dodds schools and certain programs that make a difference. It's just that important.. Don't forget to check out Peninsula schools. I know it may be a hassle with the tunnel but you have military facilities all over the Peninsula and it may cut down on the time spent going to the commissary, doctor appointments, etc. if you use the facilities there. Since you're in NC, call the lodging on the base and come up for a week. We've stayed at both Southside and Peninsula lodging and they are vey helpful, convenient and economical.

I'll be glad to help you with your home search and with finding the location of the schools so you can make a decision. I'm both former military and retired military spouse.

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Kellie, , 32542
Sun Sep 7, 2008
We moved to Virginia Beach recently and are also in the military. We found that we really had to sacrifice square footage and lot size to afford the school district we wanted to be in or blow our budget. Instead, we bought a lower priced , older , larger home with more land in a great older neighborhood. Although the elementary school is good, the middle school and high school are not so great. We decided to put our children in an affordable Christian school with a multichild discount. Our kids are in a safe environment and will receive a solid education and we got the square footage and large lot.
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J, , Virginia Beach, VA
Tue Sep 2, 2008
Most people believe that the Great Neck Schools are the best. DO NOT move to Norfolk unless you don't care about your kids education. Virginia Beach schools that are the very best; Old Donation and Kempslanding Middle are the magnet schools. Your child has to apply. If they do not get in then the next best is John B. Dey and Trantwood Elementary.
For middle school, if your child cannot make it into Kempslanding for middle school then Great Neck Middle or Lynnhaven Middle schools are the best.
These are in Great Neck. It has the lowest jet noise zone also. I have lived here a long time and know what I am saying about the schools. We moved to Great Neck just for these two reasons.
Now, one is in high school and one is in middle school.
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Amy Miller, Both Buyer And Seller, Newport, RI
Thu Aug 28, 2008
We lived in Virginia Beach for 8 years. Buy a house in a great school district - you will pay more, but the education and neighborhood is worth it. Schools sell houses in Virginia Beach. We bought in the Cox high school district when our eldest child was in second grade. Don't live in Norfolk unless you want to pay for private school.
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Jennifer Kel…, Agent, Charlottesville, VA
Thu Aug 28, 2008
My son is 6 and I went through the same thing last year when he started school. We opted not to move school districts and to put him in a private school until 2nd grade. In order to attend a school outside your zoned district you need to get approval and I have found with friends who have tried that it is generally not approved. Old Donation is a public school that your daughter can attend starting at 2nd grade if her test scores qualify her. You may attend Old Donation no matter what district you are in. Red Mill seems to rank the highest on test scores for public schools and is known amongst locals as a good school. There are several homes in a wide price range in that district. Here is a link to view some:
I am a military spouse as well and know the area and school districts well and would love to help you find your perfect home, in a school district you like. Please feel free to email or call me directly.
Jennifer Keltner
Long and Foster Realtors
direct 757.560.5333
Web Reference:
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Kelly, Home Buyer, Astoria, Queens, NY
Thu Aug 28, 2008
I know a great agent, she specializes in families...and does a lot with Military families. She can give you all the info you need on schools and neighborhoods. Her name is Patty and she works with Long and Foster Virginia Beach (Lynnhaven Office). I grew up in Virginia Beach and I personally feel that there are some great schools there. In SE Virginia Beach the Princess Anne Elem, Middle School, and Kellam High are pretty good. But in
other areas...the schools that feed into Cox High School are pretty great too. You should really give her a call!! Amazing!
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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Thu Aug 28, 2008
The best thing to do is look at the local county sites for information or through sites such as Realtors are NOT allowed to make school recommendations. Most areas have some accomodations for student placement outside of district lines but usually this is for very special circumstances. Good luck. Getting all the information you need for relocation can be tough but the internet has made it a lot easier to check on the schools in an area.
Web Reference:
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Drew Hitt, , Virginia Beach, VA
Wed Aug 27, 2008
This is defintely one of those times when a real estate agent would be very useful. Most likely a female, with children so she can give you great insight to the schools of the area you're looking for. I could tell you a great school district for high schools, but I don't have a child of school age to tell you the best elementary school. Give a local realtor a call and see what they can tell you about their local knowledge. You've got your William E Wood, Remax, Long and Foster, Wainwright, all good places to look for a good agent.

Best of luck!

(I buy houses, I'm not an agent so I wouldn't be your best bet for knowledgable elementary school districts)
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