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Old 10-16-2013, 11:58 AM
 
288 posts, read 490,724 times
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Yes, it's a lottery, though you get to list your schools by numerical preference. So you can leave the level 4 schools out, but that reduces your chances of getting assigned to any school. If you don't get a lottery assignment, you can enter a second round, but the choices are more limited. If you miss the lottery assignment altogether (rare, but does happen), they must administratively assign your kid a seat, which might mean you end up with an unpopular school. That's how John Connolly, the mayoral candidate got the less popular Trotter school. The first round they did not get an assignment, but they listed the Trotter the next round and got a seat. They ended up loving that school anyway and now the Trotter is getting popular. So I would not rule out level 3 or 4 or turnaround or pilot schools, because you need to do some research and see what resources are available to those schools, whose the principal, and if there is an active PTA.

Here's the upcoming school info sessions for November-December 2013. The BPS school coordinator has been circulating this information to Boston parents (but it also turns up in Google results so it's public information). I would recommend going if you have questions about the lottery. Then I believe a large number of parents in the old West Zone (Roslindale, JP, West Roxbury, Hyde Park) are going to meet up informally to have parents present about individual schools their children attend--so you get a direct perspective from BPS parents (down to the details like extracurriculars) and get to meet other potential parents to see if you like the community. I would see if there's a version for Dorchester families. Check the city-data archives as I believe there was a Dorchester parent who recently went through the lottery process and he might have insight on how to meet other Dorchester families.

http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/f...ons_lndscp.pdf
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:37 PM
 
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Given your need for a three bedroom house with a nice yard, and fenced in preferably...and garage with cars and T access to DT Financial Dstrict...and looking in Dorchester, then why dont you just look across the Neponset River and into some of Quincy's nice neighborhoods and even parts of Milton close to the trolley that takes you to Ashmont? They both have better schools than the BPS system, and they are not that much further away.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:00 PM
 
Location: West Roxbury, MA
289 posts, read 448,902 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goyguy View Post
Dorchester covers a vast swath of territory. It's comprised of no less than seventeen distinct neighborhoods, most of which have sections of varying appeal.
And Mattapan gets a lot of bad press but is far from universally "undesirable." The same could be said for the Boston schools, in particular at the secondary level. You have the three "exam schools" - the unmatched Boston Latin School, and the well respected Boston Latin Academy and O'Bryant - as well as the district schools which are mediocre as a rule but with exceptions. The quality of many elementary schools is consistently improving but is still "all over the map." You have to, as they say, do your homework.

Urban paranoia is grossly overdone. Few are the locations where children have to be kept locked indoors even during the day. Steer clear of Four Corners, Bowdoin St, Geneva and Blue Hill Ave's, Columbia Rd west of Edward Everett Square, and Morton St west of the firehouse where Gallivan Blvd intersects. That's about the only ironclad rule.

No casting of aspersions intended, but these topics regarding these neighborhoods have been done to death. A quick forum search of the communities' names will reveal this.
Thumbs down on the schools. And getting into Latin is *not* a good fit for everyone. The teacher-politics there are cut-throat and some shouldn't be within a football field's length of a child. Mocking, degrading and actual bullying of some kids by some teachers is far from uncommon.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:01 PM
 
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Grew up in Dorchester in the bad old days and lived to tell the tale. My urban childhood set me up to be fast, flexible, independent and resilient. Dorchester is the 9th most diverse town in the United States now. In my humble opinion it is very important for children to be exposed to ethnic, racial, and socio-economic diversity. For a young person to experience people in the community striving to better themselves and their families is a positive value system to be exposed to. There is a lot of open green space, all over, and two City beaches, lots of programs, sports, and youth activities. As a native Bostonian, I find the surrounding towns and suburbs of Boston either to conservative, bland or too honkytonk and dilapidated. The schools of course are the issue but if you can swing Pope John Paul ll Academy, St Brendan's or another private school, you will do ok. Boston Public is too political for my taste, but with a new mayor coming soon there could be some very positive changes. If you are committed to public school you can find a charter that might work for your needs. There are good magnet high schools and programs throughout the city in addition to the exam schools. In any public school system you have to research, learn about the resources and advocate for your children. Yes there crime and poverty in many of the neighborhoods, but common sense dictates you would research the neighborhood and crime stat and not move onto a street with known gang activity in any city. As for your child's safety, well look in the news, there are so many social problems in the suburbs today, where is a child truly safe?. With the vitality and activities an urban setting offers children, it seems like a good lifestyle choice. I know many fine people who have grown up in Dorchester from all kinds of homes, for the last four decades who live very interesting, productive and rewarding lives. One thing all Dorchester Kids prize for most of their lives is their affiliation with Dorchester.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:38 AM
 
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I wish I can lie to you and say yeah, Boston Public Schools all stink to high heaven. Flee! But BPS is gaining popularity and city officials have projected that there will be an increase in enrollment in the next five years. According to the following projected enrollment report:

"K2 enrollment is projected to increase by almost 19% in four years. Enrollment in all grades is projected to rise by almost 7% in four years."
http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/f...esentation.pdf

You can see an increasing enrollment trend in the previous five years:
http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/f...osal_final.pdf

As potential parents, my husband and I are relieved to know that other parents are having more faith in the local schools and want to stay in the city. But we also are nervous that the lottery will get super competitive and concerned that resources will get spread out even more. The city has to work hard to add more seats by shifting kids around buildings because currently we're already at top capacity for elementary school seats. My husband and I are very much aware that a lot of schools in the city still need work. We find some of the inequities in the system troubling. But talking to other parents, we've come to realize that it could work out just fine. You just have to be willing to do more of the legwork and have some tolerance for unpredictability.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:05 PM
 
2,079 posts, read 3,245,624 times
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Originally Posted by abolgani View Post
We are looking at homes in the Ashmont area on the west side of Dorchester Ave. I checked out the schools within walking distance of our potential home and there are a few tier 1-2 schools but then there are also tier 3-4 schools. What are the chances we can get into the tier 1-2 schools? Is it really a lottery?

The west side of Dorchester Ave (Dot Ave)? That is Ashmont Hill. I would never in a million years move there. Not safe. No.

Lived in 8 different houses in Dorchester for 12 years and I can tell you that very few areas of Dorchester are anymore safe. A few areas close to the Neponset area, and that's about it.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:11 AM
 
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Thank you everyone for the feedback! We are still researching. So in terms of crime what sort of crime can I anticipate on the west side of Ashmont Hill? Is it mainly petty crime? Car break in's? Or is their violent crime?
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:47 AM
 
2,079 posts, read 3,245,624 times
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Originally Posted by abolgani View Post
Thank you everyone for the feedback! We are still researching. So in terms of crime what sort of crime can I anticipate on the west side of Ashmont Hill? Is it mainly petty crime? Car break in's? Or is their violent crime?

I did not say "the west side of Ashmont Hill". You wrote that you are looking at the "west side" of Dorchester Avenue along the Ashmont St area and that IS Ashmont Hill.

Ashmont Hill is defined as the neighborhood the lies between these four borders: Welles Ave and Ashmont St. (parallel streets) and Dorchester Ave and Washington St.

I lived - and once house sat for a summer - in 3 houses in Ashmont Hll in the 80's and early 90's and by the 90's it was getting dicey.

High crime area, guns, break ins, robberies, etc. esp after dark.


Why even ask here? Go the the Boston police and ask for crime stats. That will tell you a lot.
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:50 AM
 
2,079 posts, read 3,245,624 times
Reputation: 1552
Quote:
Originally Posted by Popsiclestick View Post
Grew up in Dorchester in the bad old days and lived to tell the tale. My urban childhood set me up to be fast, flexible, independent and resilient. Dorchester is the 9th most diverse town in the United States now. In my humble opinion it is very important for children to be exposed to ethnic, racial, and socio-economic diversity. For a young person to experience people in the community striving to better themselves and their families is a positive value system to be exposed to. There is a lot of open green space, all over, and two City beaches, lots of programs, sports, and youth activities. As a native Bostonian, I find the surrounding towns and suburbs of Boston either to conservative, bland or too honkytonk and dilapidated. The schools of course are the issue but if you can swing Pope John Paul ll Academy, St Brendan's or another private school, you will do ok. Boston Public is too political for my taste, but with a new mayor coming soon there could be some very positive changes. If you are committed to public school you can find a charter that might work for your needs. There are good magnet high schools and programs throughout the city in addition to the exam schools. In any public school system you have to research, learn about the resources and advocate for your children. Yes there crime and poverty in many of the neighborhoods, but common sense dictates you would research the neighborhood and crime stat and not move onto a street with known gang activity in any city. As for your child's safety, well look in the news, there are so many social problems in the suburbs today, where is a child truly safe?. With the vitality and activities an urban setting offers children, it seems like a good lifestyle choice. I know many fine people who have grown up in Dorchester from all kinds of homes, for the last four decades who live very interesting, productive and rewarding lives. One thing all Dorchester Kids prize for most of their lives is their affiliation with Dorchester.
It matters A LOT that you state when you grew up in Dorchester. 60's? 70's 80's? 90's? I lived there in the late 70's to the early 90's. In the sections east of Dorchester Ave it was safe and great. Not now. Case closed. (My apologies to those who still live in that area. Closer you get to Adams and Neponset, safer it is, right? And I sitll LOVE Dorchester and would back there and buy a house in a heartbeat if I didn't worry about safety.)
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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The house that we have our eyes on is on Atherstone Street inbetween Fuller and Bailey Streets. Is this area considered Ashmont Hill? In regards to crime I will see what information the police can tell me. I mean in general is the area some place where I would hear gun shots every so often? Is their a lot of gang activity? Again we want to start a family so we want the area to be safe. Is it safe for children to go out trick or treating?
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