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Old 12-25-2012, 09:17 AM
 
284 posts, read 423,791 times
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We are looking at a house in Greenwich (yes, our house search is still on for those who remember me from previous posts) and we stumbled on one that looks good, but is zoned for Hamilton Elementary School. Looking at school rankings online, it seems that Hamilton is far below the state/national average (it's ranked as a 4 whereas most good schools in FFC are 8-9) and I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with this school or can shed some light as to why it's ranked so far below other schools in the area?
Also, does anybody know if school zoning is exclusively based on neighborhood proximity or do residents have a choice of what school in the town to attend regardless of which neighborhood they live in? Thank you.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,570 posts, read 40,120,453 times
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I hope you are not looking at those school rating sites to determine a ranking. We have discussed them many times here as using questionable ratings and criteria to judge a school. Use the state website below to obtain objective information about schools in Connecticut. Look for schools that perform at or above the state averages on the Connecticut Mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests. and reasonable class sizes.

State Department of Education - CEDaR

Hamilton School in Greenwich is listed an an interdistrict magnet school which means it draws students from all over Greenwich and neighboring towns. Are you certain this is the regular school that this house is zoned for? You are correct that the school performs under the state average on tests but that could be for different reasons. I would contact the Board of Education office and confirm and then visit the school. Greenwich has excellent schools so I am sure just about any school there would provide a high quality education to your children. Jay
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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I too was confused by the rankings so just now did a little research. I think the problem with the school may be a socio-economic one. More than 60% of the total enrollment is minority, which would mean nothing except for the fact that more than 50% of the enrollment is also on free or reduced lunches also.
Not everyone on Greenwich is wealthy and this particular school seems to draw mostly the lower rungs of the local income strata.

If you check the Greenwich school system website, you'll find that students are assigned a school based on property address. There are two magnet schools in town, Hamilton Ave. and one serving the Byram area to the west.

The state has been discussing with the school system the very high minority enrollments in those two schools with the thought that magnet schools should be drawing a cross section of the town. Which is not happening. Instead, parents are choosing to keep their children in neighborhood schools.

You would have to check with the school district to see if there was some way to enroll in another town school.

Here are a couple of links, but there is more information on this on this subject on the internet.


Two Greenwich schools still racially imbalanced - GreenwichTime

Hamilton Avenue School - Greenwich, CT | PublicSchoolReview.com
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:50 PM
 
673 posts, read 1,232,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elinyc View Post
We are looking at a house in Greenwich (yes, our house search is still on for those who remember me from previous posts) and we stumbled on one that looks good, but is zoned for Hamilton Elementary School. Looking at school rankings online, it seems that Hamilton is far below the state/national average (it's ranked as a 4 whereas most good schools in FFC are 8-9) and I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with this school or can shed some light as to why it's ranked so far below other schools in the area?
Also, does anybody know if school zoning is exclusively based on neighborhood proximity or do residents have a choice of what school in the town to attend regardless of which neighborhood they live in? Thank you.
The price reflects everything. There are no cheap properties in Greenwich. If it has a lower than avg price then it must have some very undesirable market attributes. We are talking about a market where owners have insane holding power and tonnes of potential buyers.

Therefore, even without knowing the real answer I am confident the answer is no, you cannot choose another neighborhoods school or else price differential btw neighborhoods won't exist. As always, the price reflects everything..........

If it matters I do know that old Greenwich homes cost more than cos cob for the same type of house specifically due to school zoning.

Last edited by Konig1985; 12-25-2012 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
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Konig: lots of "cheap" rentals in the Byram area.
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:14 PM
 
673 posts, read 1,232,490 times
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Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
Konig: lots of "cheap" rentals in the Byram area.
You already said it. Its cheap for a good reason - Byram. Many buyers are in fantasy thinking if they scour hard and long they can find that "cheap" house in the same school district, at similar condition relative to competition and similar attributes. Try finding a comparable rental in old Greenwich at the same price - if u can you should quit your current job and become a real estate tycoon.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:09 PM
 
582 posts, read 1,012,278 times
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Hamilton Ave and New Lebanon are the lowest performing schools in Greenwich. They're not "bad", but compared with most schools in Greenwich they pale in comparison. These schools are located in the Byram section of town, which is by far the most affordable section and borders Port Chester, NY.

If the school system is your top priority, personally I'd look at homes that were not zoned for one of those two schools (yes, your kids would go to the school in your zone unless you got them into the other magnet school, Dundee). There are 11 elementary schools here and pretty much every other one ranges from "very good" to "excellent" - ie one of the top ranked schools in the state.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
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My kids went to the lowest performing and most diverse school in our town and I think they were lucky for it. They got to see that not every kid has a mom and dad that can afford to give them everything they want. They got to see that not evey kid lives in a nice big single family home with a big backyard. They got to meet kids from a lot of different backgrounds and cultures including kids from Israel, Equador, Italy, Iraq, China, India, Russia and Poland. They do not look at other kids race or religions and question it. Because the school performed lower there was extra help for all kids that attended school there so my kids got extra things like one-on-one reading with a reading teacher twice a week. They would have not gotten that in other schools in our town. I think it is important to look beyond the numbers and see that there is more to school than just reading, writing, math, history and science. The OP may be able to find that in the school they are asking about. Jay
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:13 PM
 
673 posts, read 1,232,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
My kids went to the lowest performing and most diverse school in our town and I think they were lucky for it. They got to see that not every kid has a mom and dad that can afford to give them everything they want. They got to see that not evey kid lives in a nice big single family home with a big backyard. They got to meet kids from a lot of different backgrounds and cultures including kids from Israel, Equador, Italy, Iraq, China, India, Russia and Poland. They do not look at other kids race or religions and question it. Because the school performed lower there was extra help for all kids that attended school there so my kids got extra things like one-on-one reading with a reading teacher twice a week. They would have not gotten that in other schools in our town. I think it is important to look beyond the numbers and see that there is more to school than just reading, writing, math, history and science. The OP may be able to find that in the school they are asking about. Jay
I agree totally with Jay here. I learned a lot more in 2 years of military training with people across economic strata than 18 years of schooling with upper middle class.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:52 PM
 
832 posts, read 1,319,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
My kids went to the lowest performing and most diverse school in our town and I think they were lucky for it. They got to see that not every kid has a mom and dad that can afford to give them everything they want. They got to see that not evey kid lives in a nice big single family home with a big backyard. They got to meet kids from a lot of different backgrounds and cultures including kids from Israel, Equador, Italy, Iraq, China, India, Russia and Poland. They do not look at other kids race or religions and question it. Because the school performed lower there was extra help for all kids that attended school there so my kids got extra things like one-on-one reading with a reading teacher twice a week. They would have not gotten that in other schools in our town. I think it is important to look beyond the numbers and see that there is more to school than just reading, writing, math, history and science. The OP may be able to find that in the school they are asking about. Jay
I had the same experience in my hometown and experienced no disadvantage for it (and like you said, plenty of advantages).
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