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Old 06-06-2008, 04:07 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,028 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello!

I currently live in Johannesburg, moving to the US next year. I have a 2 year old who has some developmental delays and will need special assistance in school. I would like to move to a city/school district that has a good inclusion program, especially at the elementary level. I am partial to warm weather all year round, and a thriving arts/music scene but all of that comes second to a top integrated school system and good children's hospitals. So far friends have recommended Cambridge MA and Fairfax County VA. Would appreciate your thoughts (Also let me know if I can provide more info to make it easier for you to respond-I am being general because I really am quite flexible on most things). My priorities are (in order):

1. Excellent, integrated school system
2. Top hospitals
3. Ethnic and religious diversity
4. Arts/music
5. Warm weather
6. East Coast/closer to East than West

Thanks so much,
Marian
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Ireland
650 posts, read 1,110,252 times
Reputation: 313
Hi Marian,

I'm looking at emigration also, with children. Did you find GreatSchools.net yet? You can choose cities in the southeast and see how they score, and find more information on the local school systems.

And of course you can go to some of the southeast states' boards in these forums and ask for recommendations and advice.

Good luck with your search!

Last edited by LilyLaLa; 06-06-2008 at 09:17 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:30 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,028 times
Reputation: 10
thanks very much LilyLaLa, I'll check out the websites and search on other boards as well. Let me know if you find anything interesting-red flags, warnings, recommendations etc. I have lived in the US before for 13 years, but was single then so having kids now I almost feel like I am moving there for the first time...

best,
MArian
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,651,567 times
Reputation: 3335
I'd be careful with GreatSchools and similar sites. They can help you compare schools in the same state, but not between states, since they have different standards.

For example, I can look at 2 schools in St. Louis and compare them just fine. But Missouri has very high standards for education. So if I compare a Missouri school with, say a state with lower standards, the Missouri school will generally look worse.
If Alabama (just using an example) has low standards and 80% of kids get the standard grade or better on testing, but Missouri has higher standards so 60% of kids may make the grade.

GreatSchools is probably fine for comparing schools in one state. But when comparing schools in different states I would do other research than just that.

Missouri has the unfortunate task of having some of the highest standards, and some of the worst funding in the country.

Anyway, I would think most major cities would be able to accommodate your child, maybe private schools especially. My Mom is a special education preschool teacher here and even this small school can accommodate them to a certain degree, though not like a specialized school would.

Is your child delayed enough to need a special school or just delayed enough to need extra help in school? Some kids can go to public school and just need certain therapies (speech therapy for instance). Others are much more delayed and require more attention that a public school may be able to give. There are schools set up just for disabled and severely delayed or autistic children. But high-functioning kids may be able to attend public school.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:22 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,028 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks STLCardBlues1989. My son will do fine in a regular school, but will need the additional therapies. The sense I am getting is that within any state, and even any city I should be able to find a school that meets my needs. But I had also heard that there are generally certain states that do a better job with integrated classrooms than others. Will see if any other members feel strongly about their school districts, but from what you've written I could also just find a nice city which meets my other requirements, and technically, I should be able to find a good school there. I also have another child who is developing normally and it would be great if they could be in the same school. Thanks for the info on greatschools, I'll put that search on hold till I have narrowed down my search a bit more.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,651,567 times
Reputation: 3335
The only thing I'd be careful of is that if living in any major city I would send the kids to a private school if at all possible.

Big city public schools generally aren't as safe or as good as private schools.
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