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Old 01-26-2020, 08:18 PM
 
1 posts, read 714 times
Reputation: 10

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I've been lurking on this thread on and off for years as I find most of the people on here to be pretty level-headed, mostly fair, and well informed. It's fun to remember this forum exists and read through it from time to time. So first off, thanks for all that.

Second, as it seems housing and "where to live" posts get the most play, I want to share our experience. Please note this is our own lived experience and everyone has to find what is the right *fit* for them. Don't take offense.

We are a young family that lives in Cleveland, but were looking to move out to the 'burbs for the reasons that everyone else does...schools, safety, and being around other families. For us, there were really only 2 options we seriously considered: Rocky River and Shaker Heights. Ohio City could be a dream neighborhood, but anyone who doesn't acknowledge the realities of the BS you deal with there has their head in the sand. Having kids in a place that regularly has daytime and early evening (serious) crime isn't fun. Still would love it if I was kid-less though! But I digress...

We were 50/50 bt RR and SH, but then that WaPo article dropped and we both saw a school system which was being, or soon to be consumed, by an environment which seems undoubtedly stressful for the kids. It was just a great read, highly recommend everyone read it, but to us it put SH schools in a very negative light. (I saw someone else already posted it on here)

This put on down the path of Rocky River. It checks all the boxes...nice community, great lake access, great schools, not far to downtown, and some even a little bit of entertainment. It's not traditionally charming (to us), but no place is perfect. I don't see how anyone can go wrong with buying in RR and that was out mindset. "This is what everyone does!"

But as we sat down and thought about what made our lifestyle so enjoyable, the lack of a serious commute was the greatest variable. Moving to the west side, when jobs are in east side was what made us come back around to SH. Some people are all about the commute, but we could never go back to a life with anything longer than 20 minutes, even in snow.

Look, to live in SH requires some level of cognitive dissonance. You know living there your home will, at best, anemically appreciate in comparison to other surrounding communities. You also know that the level of taxation is unbelievable and borders on criminal. When you couple that with the ages of the homes, the gvt of SH asks its home owners to shoulder an incredible burden. Right or wrong, a home has traditionally been the main path to wealth building for much of the middle class in the US and when you buy in SH there is this sinking feeling you are forfeiting all of that.

AND YET, when you speak to the families who live there, drive around the community, see some of the new development, and feel it's proximity to much of Cleveland's best attractions, it's so hard not to love it. It really is a place that we felt fit us, more so than any of the other communities we looked it. I still can't believe we ended up putting roots down there, but also couldn't be more excited about it. Just don't expect me to vote for any tax increases...! (Man, there needs to be a course correction on that front. )

If any of you are going through the same search, feel free to DM me. I've spent way too much of my time and emotional energy figuring out where our family would call home, but in the end we are proud that it will be Shaker Heights. You all just need to talk to people, in person, and spend time in the communities to find what fits you. Cleveland is a great place with something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for!

PS - In regards to the schools, we decided to deal with high school when that day arrives. It's a long ways off for our family. For now, we feel 100% comfortable (and thrilled?) with the elementary system.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:01 AM
 
99 posts, read 42,243 times
Reputation: 159
@CTown23


Congrats. What section of SH did you end up buying in?



I think schools, particularly HSs (as long as one has access to good AP classes), are in large part what you make of them. Not everyone wants/needs to go to an Ivy. And, learning to learn, getting a solid educational foundation, and becoming a good global citizen is far more important than getting straight 4.0 and a bazillion AP credits (in my admittedly humble opinion). I was a middling student in nowheresville OH (no true AP classes) and walked away from a Partnership at one of the most widely recognized global professional firms. High school will not make or break your professional career IMHO.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:52 AM
 
9,064 posts, read 5,961,321 times
Reputation: 5044
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechieTechie View Post
@CTown23


Congrats. What section of SH did you end up buying in?



I think schools, particularly HSs (as long as one has access to good AP classes), are in large part what you make of them. Not everyone wants/needs to go to an Ivy. And, learning to learn, getting a solid educational foundation, and becoming a good global citizen is far more important than getting straight 4.0 and a bazillion AP credits (in my admittedly humble opinion). I was a middling student in nowheresville OH (no true AP classes) and walked away from a Partnership at one of the most widely recognized global professional firms. High school will not make or break your professional career IMHO.
Having a great academic record at a highly regarded high school, combined with excellent SATs or other awards (such as STEM awards), can save a student and family much money. Princeton and a few other highly endowed universities fulfill financial need with grant aid in place of student loans.

https://admission.princeton.edu/cost-aid

Ohio State and many other universities have privilege-laden honor programs and very good academic merit-based scholarship programs for the best students.

Merit-based scholarships - The Ohio State University

Another aspect of matriculation at a top university is the ability to network among future leaders. A disadvantage is that the competition for positions at top graduate programs, professional or otherwise, may be more difficult from a top school due to the large number of superb students at those schools. It's possible that a stellar performance at a lesser university actually may open more doors.

I've known teachers of gifted students and they praise international baccalaureate programs and John Hopkins programs for gifted students, and apparently very few high schools devote the resources needed for these programs.

https://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/facts-and-figures/

Oberlin, Shaker Heights, and Westlake are the only Greater Cleveland high schools with IB programs.

https://blog.prepscholar.com/interna...-complete-list

Admittedly, knowledge and skills (academic and personal) are very important factors for success. Excellent academic programs with an emphasis on personal progress and achievement and access to extra-curricular activities (perhaps more readily available at a smaller high school, according to the Gates Foundation).

Students can do much on their own, especially in the internet age. Yet how many students utilize the excellent online programs now available to students, or even read extensively to improve their knowledge (e.g., a high school student who read the Oxford History of the United States and took a few practice tests likely would have a great chance of passing the SAT U.S. History subject (achievement) test and earning advanced placement credits at the university level). Additionally, for life, this student would be one of the few Americans to have an excellent grounding in American history, which can greatly contribute to an enjoyable life and achievement in our society. Ditto, for STEM courses.

BTW, I wonder how many American high school U.S. history teachers have read the Oxford History of the U.S. So, how many U.S. history students are even familiar with the Oxford History of the U.S., let alone would devote time to reading it rather than use spare time to play electronic games, watching screens, participating in social media?

The best high school educations do emphasize self-learning, and this often requires teachers with superb knowledge of subject matter and teaching skills. The presence of such teachers, who pursue excellence in teaching, often correlates with above average teacher salaries and a dedication to excellence in a school system, typically marked by programs such as IB and achievement tests. Of course, school systems with such an emphasis on education also often have a plethora of superior students with a dedication to academic excellence.

Interested parents should check out college readiness at greatschools.org for any district, keeping in mind that different school districts can have very different demographics. There is a major fallacy in the U.S. that every student is capable of a superior academic performance with a "good" education, ignoring both the home environment and inherent intellectual ability, curiosity, and motivation. In athletic activities, these differences in ability and motivation (practice) are readily understood and accepted.

Note the large differences in Advanced & STEM course participation here. Availability and quality of such programs is important, but prospective parents may want to understand what influences participation rates.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/pe...lege_readiness

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/sh...lege_readiness

Check out the GreatSchools College Success Awards.

https://www.greatschools.org/gk/csa-winners/

Several schools in Greater Cleveland perform very well, but those with "10" rankings include Brecksville-Broadview, Solon, Kirtland and Aurora, apparently ranked in order of achievement.

Orange earned a "9" and apparently Shaker Hts. wasn't ranked for some reason (see Ohio school listings by name). It's possible that high schools ranked below "4" aren't listed.

Last edited by WRnative; 01-27-2020 at 08:23 AM..
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:59 AM
 
3,424 posts, read 3,397,207 times
Reputation: 3112
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post

Oberlin, Shaker Heights, and Westlake are the only Greater Cleveland high schools with IB programs.
This confirms the fact that, despite the so-called 'negativity' surrounding Shaker Schools, they are still top-notch and still a head-turner for the Ivies and other top colleges -- I know for a fact, even recently, that Shaker grads can often get into these schools with a bit lower GPAs ... why? Because Shaker has a longstanding reputation as being a 'tough-A' district... You get As, here, you've really earned them; Shaker generally doesn't do curves. B's at Shaker are the equivalent of As in most places. I also know, personally, a lady who worked at one of the top tony East Coast prep schools, and they considered Shaker a near equivalent in terms of the quality of their honors students....
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:38 AM
 
142 posts, read 129,061 times
Reputation: 364
Folks, I ranked the top 25 high schools (public and private) in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron region (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit) based on total National Merit Semi-Finalists (NMSF) over the past decade (Class of 2011 through Class of 2020). I also included the current Ohio Department of Education overall Report Card Grade (Grade) for each of the public schools:

SCHOOL NMSF Grade
1. Solon 214 A
2. St. Ignatius (Cleveland) 134
3. Shaker Heights 98 C
4. Hawken School (Gates Mills) 92
5. Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights) 88
6. University School (Hunting Valley) 82
7. Hudson 77 A
8. Westlake 68 B
9. Revere (Richfield) 57 A
10. Brecksville-Broadview Heights 53 B
11. Western Reserve Academy (Hudson) 52
12. Laurel School (Shaker Heights) 43
13. Rocky River 41 A
14. Orange (Pepper Pike) 41 B
15. St. Edward (Lakewood) 39
16. Archbishop Hoban (Akron) 35
17. Copley 32 B
18. Mentor 32 B
19. Beachwood 30 A
20. Chagrin Falls 29 A
21. Mayfield 29 B
22. Wadsworth 28 B
23. Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls) 27
24. Twinsburg 26 B
25. Medina 26 B

I sourced the NMSF totals through various Cleveland-area journalists who provided the NMSF Ohio List produced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation each year in September. As always, please contact me with questions or comments.

Enjoy!

DR J

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTown23 View Post
I've been lurking on this thread on and off for years as I find most of the people on here to be pretty level-headed, mostly fair, and well informed. It's fun to remember this forum exists and read through it from time to time. So first off, thanks for all that.

Second, as it seems housing and "where to live" posts get the most play, I want to share our experience. Please note this is our own lived experience and everyone has to find what is the right *fit* for them. Don't take offense.

We are a young family that lives in Cleveland, but were looking to move out to the 'burbs for the reasons that everyone else does...schools, safety, and being around other families. For us, there were really only 2 options we seriously considered: Rocky River and Shaker Heights. Ohio City could be a dream neighborhood, but anyone who doesn't acknowledge the realities of the BS you deal with there has their head in the sand. Having kids in a place that regularly has daytime and early evening (serious) crime isn't fun. Still would love it if I was kid-less though! But I digress...

We were 50/50 bt RR and SH, but then that WaPo article dropped and we both saw a school system which was being, or soon to be consumed, by an environment which seems undoubtedly stressful for the kids. It was just a great read, highly recommend everyone read it, but to us it put SH schools in a very negative light. (I saw someone else already posted it on here)

This put on down the path of Rocky River. It checks all the boxes...nice community, great lake access, great schools, not far to downtown, and some even a little bit of entertainment. It's not traditionally charming (to us), but no place is perfect. I don't see how anyone can go wrong with buying in RR and that was out mindset. "This is what everyone does!"

But as we sat down and thought about what made our lifestyle so enjoyable, the lack of a serious commute was the greatest variable. Moving to the west side, when jobs are in east side was what made us come back around to SH. Some people are all about the commute, but we could never go back to a life with anything longer than 20 minutes, even in snow.

Look, to live in SH requires some level of cognitive dissonance. You know living there your home will, at best, anemically appreciate in comparison to other surrounding communities. You also know that the level of taxation is unbelievable and borders on criminal. When you couple that with the ages of the homes, the gvt of SH asks its home owners to shoulder an incredible burden. Right or wrong, a home has traditionally been the main path to wealth building for much of the middle class in the US and when you buy in SH there is this sinking feeling you are forfeiting all of that.

AND YET, when you speak to the families who live there, drive around the community, see some of the new development, and feel it's proximity to much of Cleveland's best attractions, it's so hard not to love it. It really is a place that we felt fit us, more so than any of the other communities we looked it. I still can't believe we ended up putting roots down there, but also couldn't be more excited about it. Just don't expect me to vote for any tax increases...! (Man, there needs to be a course correction on that front. )

If any of you are going through the same search, feel free to DM me. I've spent way too much of my time and emotional energy figuring out where our family would call home, but in the end we are proud that it will be Shaker Heights. You all just need to talk to people, in person, and spend time in the communities to find what fits you. Cleveland is a great place with something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for!

PS - In regards to the schools, we decided to deal with high school when that day arrives. It's a long ways off for our family. For now, we feel 100% comfortable (and thrilled?) with the elementary system.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:43 AM
 
9,064 posts, read 5,961,321 times
Reputation: 5044
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_j_planning View Post
Folks, I ranked the top 25 high schools (public and private) in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron region (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit) based on total National Merit Semi-Finalists (NMSF) over the past decade (Class of 2011 through Class of 2020). I also included the current Ohio Department of Education overall Report Card Grade (Grade) for each of the public schools:

SCHOOL NMSF Grade
1. Solon 214 A
2. St. Ignatius (Cleveland) 134
3. Shaker Heights 98 C
4. Hawken School (Gates Mills) 92
5. Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights) 88
6. University School (Hunting Valley) 82
7. Hudson 77 A
8. Westlake 68 B
9. Revere (Richfield) 57 A
10. Brecksville-Broadview Heights 53 B
11. Western Reserve Academy (Hudson) 52
12. Laurel School (Shaker Heights) 43
13. Rocky River 41 A
14. Orange (Pepper Pike) 41 B
15. St. Edward (Lakewood) 39
16. Archbishop Hoban (Akron) 35
17. Copley 32 B
18. Mentor 32 B
19. Beachwood 30 A
20. Chagrin Falls 29 A
21. Mayfield 29 B
22. Wadsworth 28 B
23. Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls) 27
24. Twinsburg 26 B
25. Medina 26 B

I sourced the NMSF totals through various Cleveland-area journalists who provided the NMSF Ohio List produced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation each year in September. As always, please contact me with questions or comments.

Enjoy!

DR J
A couple of problems with National Merit Semi-Finalist totals: 1) They don't reflect the relative size of schools; e.g., Beachwood would rank much higher if percentage of NMSFs as a percentage of the average high school enrollment over 10 years was considered; 2) There is no consideration of the demographics of the respective schools; Shaker Heights would be at the top of the list, perhaps by a wide margin, if this factor was weighted, as I don't see another school on the list with the demographic challenges faced by SH.

The failure of the Ohio state school ratings to properly consider demographics is one of several problems with the Ohio ratings. Your list, with no ratings for private or parochial schools, even though they are eligible for state vouchers, demonstrates the disgusting exemption of private and parochial schools from the state testing and rating system.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:14 PM
 
3,424 posts, read 3,397,207 times
Reputation: 3112
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_j_planning View Post
Folks, I ranked the top 25 high schools (public and private) in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron region (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit) based on total National Merit Semi-Finalists (NMSF) over the past decade (Class of 2011 through Class of 2020). I also included the current Ohio Department of Education overall Report Card Grade (Grade) for each of the public schools:

SCHOOL NMSF Grade
1. Solon 214 A
2. St. Ignatius (Cleveland) 134
3. Shaker Heights 98 C
4. Hawken School (Gates Mills) 92
5. Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights) 88
6. University School (Hunting Valley) 82
7. Hudson 77 A
8. Westlake 68 B
9. Revere (Richfield) 57 A
10. Brecksville-Broadview Heights 53 B
11. Western Reserve Academy (Hudson) 52
12. Laurel School (Shaker Heights) 43
13. Rocky River 41 A
14. Orange (Pepper Pike) 41 B
15. St. Edward (Lakewood) 39
16. Archbishop Hoban (Akron) 35
17. Copley 32 B
18. Mentor 32 B
19. Beachwood 30 A
20. Chagrin Falls 29 A
21. Mayfield 29 B
22. Wadsworth 28 B
23. Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls) 27
24. Twinsburg 26 B
25. Medina 26 B

I sourced the NMSF totals through various Cleveland-area journalists who provided the NMSF Ohio List produced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation each year in September. As always, please contact me with questions or comments.

Enjoy!

DR J
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:27 PM
 
661 posts, read 909,551 times
Reputation: 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTown23 View Post
I've been lurking on this thread on and off for years as I find most of the people on here to be pretty level-headed, mostly fair, and well informed. It's fun to remember this forum exists and read through it from time to time. So first off, thanks for all that.

Second, as it seems housing and "where to live" posts get the most play, I want to share our experience. Please note this is our own lived experience and everyone has to find what is the right *fit* for them. Don't take offense.

We are a young family that lives in Cleveland, but were looking to move out to the 'burbs for the reasons that everyone else does...schools, safety, and being around other families. For us, there were really only 2 options we seriously considered: Rocky River and Shaker Heights. Ohio City could be a dream neighborhood, but anyone who doesn't acknowledge the realities of the BS you deal with there has their head in the sand. Having kids in a place that regularly has daytime and early evening (serious) crime isn't fun. Still would love it if I was kid-less though! But I digress...

We were 50/50 bt RR and SH, but then that WaPo article dropped and we both saw a school system which was being, or soon to be consumed, by an environment which seems undoubtedly stressful for the kids. It was just a great read, highly recommend everyone read it, but to us it put SH schools in a very negative light. (I saw someone else already posted it on here)

This put on down the path of Rocky River. It checks all the boxes...nice community, great lake access, great schools, not far to downtown, and some even a little bit of entertainment. It's not traditionally charming (to us), but no place is perfect. I don't see how anyone can go wrong with buying in RR and that was out mindset. "This is what everyone does!"

But as we sat down and thought about what made our lifestyle so enjoyable, the lack of a serious commute was the greatest variable. Moving to the west side, when jobs are in east side was what made us come back around to SH. Some people are all about the commute, but we could never go back to a life with anything longer than 20 minutes, even in snow.

Look, to live in SH requires some level of cognitive dissonance. You know living there your home will, at best, anemically appreciate in comparison to other surrounding communities. You also know that the level of taxation is unbelievable and borders on criminal. When you couple that with the ages of the homes, the gvt of SH asks its home owners to shoulder an incredible burden. Right or wrong, a home has traditionally been the main path to wealth building for much of the middle class in the US and when you buy in SH there is this sinking feeling you are forfeiting all of that.

AND YET, when you speak to the families who live there, drive around the community, see some of the new development, and feel it's proximity to much of Cleveland's best attractions, it's so hard not to love it. It really is a place that we felt fit us, more so than any of the other communities we looked it. I still can't believe we ended up putting roots down there, but also couldn't be more excited about it. Just don't expect me to vote for any tax increases...! (Man, there needs to be a course correction on that front. )

If any of you are going through the same search, feel free to DM me. I've spent way too much of my time and emotional energy figuring out where our family would call home, but in the end we are proud that it will be Shaker Heights. You all just need to talk to people, in person, and spend time in the communities to find what fits you. Cleveland is a great place with something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for!

PS - In regards to the schools, we decided to deal with high school when that day arrives. It's a long ways off for our family. For now, we feel 100% comfortable (and thrilled?) with the elementary system.
Invest in stocks and for-profit real estate. Using your home as a primary wealth-building vehicle will long-term leave you where you started, no further ahead and no further behind. I wouldn't buy a home based on the hope that it does any better than the traditional appreciation in sales price. SH has been great to me and my family, but we work on the east side. I'd suggest that you tailor your home purchase to the intangibles, and not to the idea that west side home values are higher and may go higher at a faster rate. If taxes really irritate you, as another recent poster here has indicated, then I'd guess east side-inner-ring burbs aren't for you.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:53 PM
 
99 posts, read 42,243 times
Reputation: 159
Food for thought....consider how a commute will impact both:
1. The amount of time with your kids
2. How easy it will be to move stuff around when things come up (because they always come up).



Taxes are taxes. And RE values can rise or fall at any time. Trust your gut (and it sounds like your gut is saying SH).
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:26 AM
 
6,292 posts, read 7,371,265 times
Reputation: 4177
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
Oberlin, Shaker Heights, and Westlake are the only Greater Cleveland high schools with IB programs.
https://www.shaker.org/IB.aspx

Shaker is actually one of only eight public school systems in the country to offer the IB program all the way through from K-12
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