Parents: Understanding Vancouver, WA Public Schools

Public Schools in Vancouver, WA: Focus on Elementary Schools

Many cities make special requirements for enrolling children in elementary schools. In some cases, for example in San Francisco and New York City, the city institutes lotteries to ensure diversity in schools, meaning that children could get assigned  to schools all the way across town. In Washington, and this includes Vancouver, things are different: your child can attend any school in your district (called intradistrict choice) or a neighboring district (interdistrict choice). Under the “No Child Left Behind” act, students attending a Title I school designated as “in need of improvement” may attend a higher performing school in the district.  And, if as a parent you feel a private school offers better education than your local public schools do, but you cannot afford the tuition, know that low-income students are eligible for scholarship funding to attend private schools. As of June, 2012, Washington State does not offer public charter schools, though parent groups pressuring the state to reconsider that stance.

The Vancouver Public School District offers 25 elementary schools, though each serves students for a different period of their educations. You’ll find kindergarten only at the Nierenberg Center, K-5 at Chinook Elementary and even K-12 education through non-traditional schools like Vancouver Home Connection.

Using a source like, you can review not only how the district fairs on average in terms of national testing. Vancouver earns a 5 on the site’s 1-10 rating system, but this is the average for all schools, so if you are interested in one in particular, you should spend the time looking closely at that one school.  After all, at the time I created this blog, Chinook Elementary rates an 8, while Martin Luther King Elementary rates a 2. Such ratings are subject to change, of course: all the more reason for careful, constant study.

As a parent, you know there’s a lot more that goes into assessing a school’s quality than just test scores. Luckily, parent, teacher, and student reviews of each school in Vancouver are readily available on, and the resource is 100% free. Once you find the district that best suits your needs, you can use ZipRealty's search features  to search for homes in Vancouver, WA near that district. 


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