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Old 08-23-2010, 01:53 AM
2,031 posts, read 2,315,838 times
Reputation: 1491


In a couple of years my wife, who is Russian, and I are likely moving back to the States (we live in Russia now). There are a host of reasons why, the biggest being the future education of our 2 year-old son (the Russian system is in a shambles, for the most part).

I have always had an interest in Mississippi (from Minnesota originally); I have even been there once or twice. Something about the extremes (North--like Alaska/South) attracts me, and Mississippi is about as South as it gets. So that's why I'm writing here.

I'm writing most about Jackson basically because it's the largest city in the state and I would expect we'd move there, if anywhere.

1) How are the schools in Jackson? Are they the best in the state, or is education better in other areas of Mississippi? In a similar vein, would there be any chance that there's a school that offers Russian classes in Jackson? Our son is (or will be) bilingual, and it would be great if he could study Russian while there.

2) How safe is Jackson in terms of crime? I lived in Minneapolis for five years, and the gang problem was very real, but isolated to specific areas. I suspect the same is true for Jackson?

3) To you think it would be difficult for a Russian to find a job there? My wife has a degree and can speak English at a quite high level. She's a successful audit accountant here; she also has experience in an international firm. What are local professional attitudes about English as second language hires like?

4) I currently am the director of a language school over here, something I'm not particularly optimistic about doing in the States (and that's fine). If I were to change up careers (no problem, I'm really flexible), what would be the best path for me professionally, in Jackson? Or, perhaps better-asked, what are the major industries that could offer job opportunities there?

5) Any chance there's ice hockey in Jackson? Obviously--being from MN, I'm a huge fan, and like the idea of hitching on to a lower-league team. I wouldn't mind joining a beer league, if they exist, as well. Also, is tennis easily accessible there (we're both avid players)?

I appreciate your input. I understand there is a ton of subjectivity in my questions, but I'm trying to "get a feel".
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:35 PM
Location: Mississippi
190 posts, read 585,290 times
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1. The public schools in Jackson are for the most part not very good. The suburbs would be your best bet (Madison, Ridgeland, Brandon, Flowood, Clinton). There are also some good private schools in these areas. Sorry, but I can't give you any info on the Russian classes.

2. Jackson has quite a bit of crime, although most of the violent crime is isolated to certain areas. Property crime is everywhere in the city.

3. Don't think your wife would have any trouble. Might want to look here:

4. Wish I could help, but can't really give you much info based on your background.

5. No hockey. We did have the Jackson Bandits (minor league team) for a couple of years, but they were owned by Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom fame, so once all that hullaballoo started, that was the beginning of the end. There used to be an ice rink, but it closed a couple of years ago, so no place that I know of to skate or play hockey in the area. You've got the MS RiverKings in Southaven riverkings.com: Home Page. There used to be a team on the MS Gulf Coast called the MS Sea Wolves. Not sure if they are still around or not. Looks like some of the universities in the state are beginning to pick up the sport on a limited basis. Dawg Ice Hockey

As for tennis, you shouldn't have any trouble with that. There are private offereings like

River Hills Club

Courthouse (http://www.mscourthouse.com/act_tennis.cfm - broken link)

The Club:
Tennis (http://www.theclubms.com/about/locations1.htm - broken link)

or for public you have the Ridgeland Tennis Center and several other options in the Jackson metro area.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:18 PM
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Jackson has an International Baccalaureate program that I believe goes from Elementary to High School now. I graduated from Jim Hill's I.B. program, and I am currently a graduate student at Northwestern and 2 other friends and I.B. graduates are currently attending grad school at Columbia University and Georgetown, so I would say we got a top notch education. You should definitely look at the I.B. program in Jackson for your child's educational needs.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:45 AM
2,031 posts, read 2,315,838 times
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Thanks for the responses, you two.

Bummer about the lack of hockey. I had thought it was making inroads in the South. Guess that doesn't apply to MS, though :-(

About my background: I was an editor for two years, and have been teaching English abroad for nearly a decade, with the past two being in a management position. I have a BA in English. Really, I have little idea what kind of work I should pursue upon re-entering the US/Mississippi job market. I'd consider myself hard-working and a quick-learner, so I hope I could find something, perhaps in some kind of management role.

Thanks for the news about the IB program. Is Jim Hill's expensive?

Again, your input is appreciated.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:11 AM
Location: Mississippi
190 posts, read 585,290 times
Reputation: 191
Jim Hill is a public school in Jackson. Once again though, I'm not at all fond of Jackson Public Schools, but I'd encourage you to look at the overall product before making your own decision.

Hockey is definitely making its way south (and to MS), unfortunately the lack of a suitable facility in the central MS area kept it from really taking root here. I used to go to the Bandit games. A bunch of fun and folks really enjoyed it. The problem was the coliseum is an older facility and also owned by the State (Dept. of Agriculture), and in Jan. and Feb. each year the Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock show is in town (another fun event). It basically sent the hockey team on a two month road trip each year while it was in town. I believe the Worldcom group was talking about a new arena when their bottom dropped out. Probably more info than you wanted to know, but I have a feeling hockey will eventually return to central MS at some point, if a new facility is ever constructed. Of course if you're up for a road trip, you could always head over to Atlanta or Dallas for some NHL hockey (or Nashville if you wanted to venture out a little further).
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:56 AM
Location: Jackson, MS
1,008 posts, read 2,966,271 times
Reputation: 599
The public elementary schools in Jackson are actually good schools, but no one seems to talk about them. Murrah High School in Jackson is one of only two schools in Mississippi that consistently ranks in the Top 1600 schools by Newsweek in the US [Oxford High School is the other MS school that is ranked]. I would send my child to Murrah High without hesitation.

Jackson also has two schools with the Montessori program, which offers multi-aged classrooms with a strong emphasis on interactive, self-directed learning for pre-school and elementary children. At the heart of Montessori education is the emphasis on developing a child's sense of independence, responsibility, and respect for others. Each class includes students from more than one age group. For example, in a 3-6 classroom there are 8 three-year old children, 8 four-year old children and 8 five-year old children. The 6-9 classrooms also have a three-year age group of children, 8 six-year old students, 8 seven-year old students and 8 eight-year old students. The three-year age span provides a family-like grouping in which learning takes place naturally. The children stay with the same teacher for three years.

If you prefer private schools, there are plenty to choose from in the Jackson metro area:
St. Andrews Episcopal
Jackson Academy
Jackson Prep
St. Joseph Catholic
Madison-Ridgeland Academy
and more
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