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Old 08-19-2008, 12:19 PM
5 posts, read 16,132 times
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We have 4 children (13-17) and we are looking for a GREAT location for them and for us! Great school is as important as the activities . We don't want to have a big yard. We would like to walk as many as possible.
What community is the best for what we are looking for?
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:57 PM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,929,204 times
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All of those communities can boast of top-ranked public school districts. In close order, the official ratings are: 1. Wyoming (top in the state!); 2. Sycamore; 3. Madeira; 4. Anderson; 5. Mason

Each of those school systems' host cities/villages are also "nice places to raise kids," a euphemism for places kids can't wait to leave: BO-O-O-O-ORING! Montgomery (Sycamore district) and Madeira are an easy walk or short drive from the mall sprawl called Kenwood, so would top an adolescent's list if they're of the mall-rat persuasion. There's a somewhat smaller concentration of "retail activity" along Beechmont Ave in Anderson Twp. Wyoming has only a two-block stretch of businesses, none of them especially kid-friendly in terms of hanging out, along Wyoming Ave as well as a cluster of shops and a small cafe adjoining the library and middle school at Wyoming Ave and Springfield Pike, then a convenience store and some other retail/service establishments in the blocks of "the Pike" headed into Woodlawn. Madeira has a cutesy downtown similar to Wyoming's, and Mason is a 21st-century suburb with its attendant spread of restaurants and retail. Among all the locales, only Wyoming has readily accessible bus service which serves both the Tri-County mall sprawl and downtown Cincinnati. "The 78" has been the means of escape for many a Wyoming teen on a languid weekend day or after-school afternoon.

Since all of these areas are on the affluent end of the economic scale, none lack for organized community activities, recreation commissions, et al. That goes along with a rich and varied menu of extracurriculars in the schools. In terms of school spirit, Anderson Twp would be the most fun to live in because there are two high schools in the district - Anderson and Turpin. The athletic rivalry between them is the stuff of legend and perennial newspaper stories.

House lots are the largest, on average, in Mason. It's one of those former small rural outposts which has been engulfed by suburban expansion over the past 10-30 years. Anderson and the Sycamore school district would rank next on that list, trailed by Madeira and Wyoming. While the style of homes is almost uniformly upscale and expansive in four of the communities, Wyoming is where you'd be able to find a cozy ranch-style or Cape Cod dwelling as well as anything from a 1920's bungalow to a 4-BR '60s Colonial to a many-roomed Victorian. Although it's "decidedly upper-middle-class," and notoriously prone to sometimes not letting the rest of the world forget it, there's actually a healthy socioeconomic mix alive and well in Wyoming which is absent in the other areas mentioned. Also present there is a level of diversity (~15% AA, ~5% Asian/Hispanic/"other", ~80% White; ~25-30% Jewish, ~20% Catholic) lacking in any of the remaining four vicinities save for a noticeable pan-Asian presence and substantial Catholic population in the Sycamore district.

With all that considered, my reco for your circumstances would be to go with the Sycamore district (Montgomery over Blue Ash) or Madeira primarily, with Wyoming next in the running followed by Anderson and lastly by Mason. If you want to cast a wider net, West Chester (Lakota schools), Loveland, and Fairfield are comparable in every way mentioned to Mason and Anderson. For a nice house with a "manageably sized" yard, with good-but-not-great schools and a multicultural community feel, throw the Princeton (Evendale, Sharonville, Springdale, and Glendale of its six cities/villages) and Winton Woods (Greenhills and Forest Park) school systems - and Finneytown - into the mix.
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:56 AM
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Thank you so much for your answer! It is very helpfull.
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:01 AM
Location: Philaburbia
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Wyoming and Madeira are the smaller of the school systems you mentioned. Sycamore and Mason are huge; Anderson/Turpin aren't quite as huge just because there are two high schools in the district instead of one.

I'm most familiar with Madeira, a small town which built up around the railroad; in the downtown proper there is a grocery store, several drug stores, coffee shops, restaurants, specialty stores, library, banks, etc., all within easy walking distance of most the rest of the village. There are quite a few story and a half Cape Cod style houses in the older part of the village, but plenty of brick ranches and Colonials and other styles as well. The schools are mostly within walking distance. I'm not sure about public transportation; I'm sure I've sideswiped a Metro bus or two along the line while not exceeding the speed limit in Madeira (yes, it's one of those towns where you gotta watch that ... LOL ... ).

Anderson is very suburban, and although it seems on the surface like the township is filled with four-bedroom colonials built in the 60s and 70s, there's a mix of housing from farmhouses to 1920s bungalows to new McMansions and townhouses. There might even be a working farm or two in there somewhere! Within the school district is one village, Newtown, along the Little Miami River. Not much in Anderson is walkable, alas; it certainly was built to serve the automobile!

Hope this helps ... Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:49 PM
Location: Cincy
252 posts, read 859,921 times
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Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Wyoming and Madeira are the smaller of the school systems you mentioned. Sycamore and Mason are huge; Anderson/Turpin aren't quite as huge just because there are two high schools in the district instead of one.

Hope this helps ... Good luck!

A bit of a correction from the above reply, Sycamore is a very mid sized district, not huge. Below are the latest populations and rankings, ohio just released the new school data this week. I have provided some very helpful links for you. Also, on this board you will recommendations for Anderson schools, but if you are ever researching, Anderson is in the Forest Hills School District.
Madeira 1389 excellent
Wyoming 1964 excellent w/distinction
Sycamore 5480 excellent w/distinction
Forest Hills 7327 excellent w/distinction
Mason 10158 excellent w/distinction

Default County Report Card Home Page


I highly recommend Sycamore, although as you can see above there are several districts with high rankings. For me, Sycamore was the most diverse.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:31 PM
710 posts, read 2,648,357 times
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Anywhere that you can't walk to the store or the town square is a horrible place for a teenager. When you can't drive the new subdivisions are elaborately constructed prisons.

Big yards really aren't that important once you turn 12, then you are just stranded until you turn 16. Look at Wyoming, it is walkable and the kids can hop on a bus if they want and go downtown [i think the 78]
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:05 AM
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 10,665,956 times
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I had very similar criteria and chose to live in the Sycamore School District. I have two parks and a nature preserve within walking distance of my home. The grocery and pool are walkable, but since they're a bit farther away we usually bike to them. I lived in Wyoming and Madeira before I had children and they were very nice communities as well. I hope this helps you.

Here's a link so you can look up the school district ratings for yourself:
https://dnet01.ode.state.oh.us/DistrictRatings/Districts.aspx (broken link)

Last edited by Sunnydee; 08-31-2008 at 08:07 AM.. Reason: additional info
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