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Old 12-28-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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We have fallen in love with a house in Kansas City, Ks and are wondering if this is a good neighborhood and if the schools are good in the Kansas City School District....and if there is a better school then another can you take your child to that school or are you zoned for certain schools due to your location within the City? The area of interest is the Westheight Manor Historical District...we love old homes and like to restore them. And a side note, we have two little girls under 5. Any help you can give would be greatful...we are wanting to live fairly close to KUMC where I will be working. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Westheight represents the old glory days of KCK. The big church on the corner, the funeral parlor, and Wyandotte HS brings back a lot of memories. Westheight is a little enclave surrounded by what has become not the safest place to live. I don't think the people who live there are bothered by the crime in that part of the city. I can't think of schools near there I could recommend.
Have you looked into Westwood ,its a little South of KUMC and I would recommend Pembroke School that is nearby. Having said that I don't think any homes in the area have the same charm as Westheight and the neighborhood has remained stable for many generations.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Thriftylefty....thank you for your insight to the area. We are currently living in a similar area to what you describe of the Westheight neighborhood here in AZ. It is almost like a bubble effect, our actual area is fine with no distrubances, but if you go 3-4 blocks from here in any direction you wouldn't feel too safe. Again, I really do appreciate what you said...and you are right about not finding any homes similar to the ones there.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Most people are not familiar with most of KCK, the exceptions being Rosedale (KU Med area), Strawberry Hill (downtown KCK neighborhood with a view of downtown KCMO and eastern European history), Westheight (which not many outsiders actually know of), and of course Village West (exurban destination retail and tourist area). KCK is a very insular city and exists as if it were 50 miles away rather than being part of the immediate KC metro, similar to Topeka or St. Joseph. There just aren't many reasons for most people to go deep into KCK, so it remains mostly unknown.

That said, Westheight is not necessarily isolated as it is actually one of several neighborhoods that are clustered together to form a historically middle-class area in a mostly working-class town. It's also where the few middle-class remain in inner-city KCK and they are mostly Catholic and have only held on so long because of the Catholic schools and loyalty to the community - most have strong roots there.

Westheight does have the most significant architecture and largest houses, but it is also on the northern edge of the cluster of neighborhoods it is a part of. That northern edge (roughly State Avenue) has historically been the black/white divide, the black being north of it. However, south of that line has become what is probably a majority Hispanic now whereas 20 years ago it was majority white. The Hispanics (mostly Mexican, but others as well) have chosen much of the area as a place to raise their families, remodel houses, and have opened all sorts of shops and restaurants along the commercial corridors. They've done so to the extent that now they're actually spreading north into longtime solidly black areas, which is good because it breaks up the segregation. So Hispanics have essentially "gentrified" a formerly mostly working-class white area which surrounds the cluster of neighborhoods I keep referring to. But by no means does the area look Yuppie, but rather like Mexico.

The other neighborhoods that are (or historically) middle-class housing stock are St. Peters, Arickaree, the area surrounding Wyandotte High School, and Westvale. Basically from Westheight (Washington BLVD) on the north, Central Avenue on the south, 14th St on the east, and 31st St on the west).

There is a well-known Catholic high school in the area on 18th Street, Bishop Ward as well as Donnely College, a small Catholic college next to Bishop Ward. There's also a new grocery store and strip mall in the area on 18th St at I-70. 18th Street Expressway is the area's connection to KU Med and Johnson County to the south. My suggestion to you OP is to check out the area in person. One other quick fact is the mayor, Joe Reardon and his wife Amy and their kids choose to live in the area. They live in St. Peters.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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Wow....now that is the kind of information I was hoping for....thank you so much MOKAN. Diverse neighborhoods are what both my husband and I are use to, and to hear that kind of information makes me think that this may be the home we would feel the most at ease. We are hoping within the next two months we will be able to head up that way and check out these areas in person....thanks again for the information.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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I re-read your OP and saw you have 2 girls who are soon enough going to be school aged. I would definitely thoroughly check out St Peter's parochial school before too seriously considering this area. I would also check out the public elementary schools thoroughly. Westheight kids probably go to Mark Twain Elementary, but could go to New Chelsea. Mark Twain is a mere couple of blocks from Westhight, across from Wyandotte High School, which is in a safe area. New Chelsea however is several blocks away in what could be considered the wrong direction. Not sure if that makes a difference in the quality of the schools. Other grade schools in the area are ME Pearson and Frances Willard. You can get a snapshot of the public schools here:

School Building Report Cards

Personally, I'd probably just stay out of KCK because of the schools. Westwood, Roeland Park, Mission, northern Overland Park, Merriam and Shawnee are a bit diverse, have good schools and all have pockets of character and older houses. Those are all suburbs just south of the Wyandotte County/KCK line in Johnson County, KS, which is known for its good schools. KU Med is just north of Westwood and Roeland Park by several blocks. KU is at 39th. The county/city line is 47th.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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Before everyone starts shrieking FEAR!FEAR!FEAR! about how terrible the urban schools are and how great Johnson County school system is, it should be noted that Sumner Academy, a public school in KCK (not far from the Westheight neighborhood) is currently and consistently rated the best school in the state of Kansas and the entire KC metro area.

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science - Ranking America's High Schools 2011 - The Washington Post

p.s. - The second best high school in the metro is on KCMO's notorious eastside.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Why is Westheight not more well known in metro KC? It really is a neat area.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.davis View Post
Before everyone starts shrieking FEAR!FEAR!FEAR! about how terrible the urban schools are and how great Johnson County school system is, it should be noted that Sumner Academy, a public school in KCK (not far from the Westheight neighborhood) is currently and consistently rated the best school in the state of Kansas and the entire KC metro area.

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science - Ranking America's High Schools 2011 - The Washington Post

p.s. - The second best high school in the metro is on KCMO's notorious eastside.
I'm more familiar with Sumner, but I'm not sure about these schools are rated. They may be the best options in their respective districts, but I have a hard time thinking of Sumner as the best overall in the area, let alone one of the best in the nation. Maybe they're some of the best in regard to the kids they have to work with, but beyond that, no, I don't buy it. Besides, part of a school is the kids that go there and socialization and I know damn well the kids at Sumner aren't the best in that regard. Again, they're the cream of the crop in their respective districts, but as mean as it is to say, that's not really saying much considering the overall horrid districts. Not that money means everything, but according to the school report cards I posted a link to above, it looks like every freaking school in the KCK district is majority "economically disadvantaged". I'm sure the same is true for KCMO.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:52 PM
 
Location: KC
385 posts, read 809,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOKAN View Post
I'm more familiar with Sumner, but I'm not sure about these schools are rated. They may be the best options in their respective districts, but I have a hard time thinking of Sumner as the best overall in the area, let alone one of the best in the nation. Maybe they're some of the best in regard to the kids they have to work with, but beyond that, no, I don't buy it. Besides, part of a school is the kids that go there and socialization and I know damn well the kids at Sumner aren't the best in that regard. Again, they're the cream of the crop in their respective districts, but as mean as it is to say, that's not really saying much considering the overall horrid districts. Not that money means everything, but according to the school report cards I posted a link to above, it looks like every freaking school in the KCK district is majority "economically disadvantaged". I'm sure the same is true for KCMO.

Economically disadvantaged has nothing to do with intelligence. The purpose of Sumner Academy is to help take away the fact that low SES does sometimes have a negative effect on achievement in schools. Students must keep a certain level of grades etc and all teachers I believe are required to have a masters or at least working towards one if I remember correctly. It wouldn't suprise me at all for Sumner to be a top school with these kind of expectations. Just remember that poor people are just as likely to be geniuses as the wealthy, the key is providing students with an opportunity for success and them using it.
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