Changing Schools After Moving

While there’s a lot to be said for neighborhood public schools—no tuition or complicated application requirements, a sense of community, and that oldfashioned walk to school—parents in Tacoma and Pierce County have an array of enrollment options for educating their kids: 19 school districts with 279 public schools serving 132,018 students, and 62 private schools serving 9,476 students. You can find your designated neighborhood school by typing in a house address at the Pierce County School Finder. If your neighborhood public school isn’t your first choice, consider an innovative school, charter school, private school, online school, or homeschool.

Because every child is an individual in learning style, personality and talents, school districts offer a variety of learning environments to fit the needs of every child, as well as choice enrollment. This means parents can apply to the school that is the right fit for their child. Because of space limitations, families are encouraged to explore their neighborhood school along with other options.

We are committed to learning environments that fit every student. A 14.8% improvement in three years and we’re not letting up. Volunteers and community partners play a huge role in student success. Our emphasis on early learning sets a foundation for achievement. ~Tacoma Public Schools


  • Walk around the grounds and buildings of the new school with your child to show them where everything is, ahead of the time when they start school.
  • Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Perhaps your child can meet some classmates before the first day at the new school.
  • Talk to the principal of the new school. Ask about how the school helps new children adjust to the school, such as a buddy system.
  • Talk to the school counselors and inform them that your kids are experiencing not just a new school but a major house move as well.
  • If your child has additional needs, talk to the appropriate staff at the new school about its facilities and support programs.
  • If you haven’t already, look into extracurricular activities (associated with the school or not) to give the kids opportunities to meet new friends.
  • Get a copy of school guidelines. Your children may be used to different rules on dress codes, makeup, locker use, PE class and the like.
  • Help your child have the right clothes and equipment, such as sports uniform on sports day. Before buying uniforms, though, you may want to wait until you get to the school to see what items most kids wear.
  • Make sure your child knows how to get to and from school—for example, which route for walking, or where you’ll pick up and drop off, or where the bus stops are.
  • Visit the after-school care facilities if your child will be using them.
  • If possible, get a copy of your child’s weekly timetable so the whole family knows what’s happening and what your child needs each day.
  • Learn as much as you can about your children’s new school, to help them feel more comfortable. Kids are most focused on fitting in, so knowing what that means to them can help.