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Old 07-08-2007, 07:59 AM
 
20 posts, read 155,060 times
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Hi,

I have been living in Hudson county (Jersey City/Hoboken/Weehawken) and working in NYC. Unfortunately we are having a baby and planning to move to Middlesex county - primarily because, being an Indian, that area offers a convenience of grocery stores. And of course, secondly I can afford a 2 or 3 bedroom. After looking at various rental/real-estate websites, the rent/cost may not be a great issue for me.

I haven't grown up in the states and all these years I never bothered to learn about the "school district" thing. so now things are very confusing ... and I need some basic help (beyond what is available in Wikipedia!!)

(a) Now, I don't want to move around too much (tired of moving around every 2 years since the last 10 years). I want to finalize an area where I can stick around for the next 10 years as well as that area can serve 2 main purposes:

(i) purpose of commute to NYC - basically within 10-15 mins to some NJTransit station (like Edison, Woodbridge, Metachen etc)

(ii) school district - now how the hell does this thing work? ... for instance:

(1) should I start with an idea of which are the better high schools, then work backwards to find out which are the better middle schools and then work backwards to find out which are the better primary schools? Does it work this way? Some colleagues of mine told me that it works this way in Westchester county in upstate NY.

(2) Being an Indian, I found the idea that sending kids to a high school with a higher proportion of Indian kids might be more useful for them to keep in touch with at least a little bit of the language/culture.

(3) So, where do I start? Let's say I select an area of Woodbridge, say within 10 minutes to the Woodbridge station - let's say hypothetically there is a listing of 10-15 primary schools, 10-15 middle schools and say 8-12 high schools on sites such as njmonthly.com and new jersey depart of education. how do I start selecting which schools ? And which schools are both good and have a say a little more than normal Indian kid population?

(4) Suppose there are multiple school options available in a particular area, then is there an issue for a kid to get into some schools? Does one need to start the application process early?

(5) Does anyone have any sites that list the basic steps (like Step 1, Step 2 kind) of what to do if one needs to get the kids into a good primary school, then a good middle school, then a good high school?

I tried to talk to a lot of people whom I knew with kids - the problem is that most of the people (whom I know) themselves lack research and often pass off their lack of knowledge by pretending instead that I have dropped from Mars ...

Thanks for helping me out ...
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:26 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 32,098,244 times
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Having lived in Iselin for the past 8 years, and in Avenel for almost 25 years before that, I think I can provide some advice.

If you want to be near the Indian grocers, shops, etc., and have your kids in school with a large proportion of Indian students, you should buy in either Iselin or North Edison. Of the two, North Edison has the better schools, but the schools in Iselin are generally the best in Woodbridge Township, with the exception of a few schools in Colonia.

Alot depends on your budget and what you want to get for your money. The housing is nicer in North Edison, but it's also more expensive- you won't find much, in anything for under $400k. In Iselin, you can spend as little as $250k and get a nice 3 BR, 1 or 2 BA house, many of which are within walking distance of the shopping area and the train station at Metropark.

While Metuchen and Woodbridge are both convenient to the trains (and offer some really nice housing options and good schools), you won't find the Indian population that you're looking for.

Bob
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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BobKovacs, thanks for your reply. A few more questions if you don't mind: within Woodbridge, what do you recommend: Avenel or Iselin or Woodbridge Proper ? Apart from Edison and Woodbridge (incl Iselin), which other areas would you recommend in the Middlesex county for schools?
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:30 AM
 
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What is the difference between "regional school district" and "school district"?

Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2007, 04:48 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 32,098,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb273 View Post
BobKovacs, thanks for your reply. A few more questions if you don't mind: within Woodbridge, what do you recommend: Avenel or Iselin or Woodbridge Proper ? Apart from Edison and Woodbridge (incl Iselin), which other areas would you recommend in the Middlesex county for schools?
A lot depends on what you want the most. Iselin is the perfect situation if you want good schools, convenience to the train, and convenience to the Indian shops/services on Oak Tree Road. Woodbridge proper will also give you good schools and convenience to the train, but you'll have to drive to the shopping. Also, the housing stock near the train station in Woodbridge is more expensive than in Iselin, and alot of it is also older (100 years, vs 50 years or less near Metropark). I wouldn't recommend Avenel at all- the train station has barely any trains stopping at it, and the area in general has becoming very crummy in the past few years. We finally got my mother to move out of there last year, and it was just in time.

As far as other areas with good schools, you can look at Metuchen or North Brunswick. Metuchen has a train station as well, but tends to be quite a bit less diverse than the other areas, and the housing is much more expensive. North Brunswick doesn't have a train station of it's own, but the schools are very good, and alot of the area is fairly new (and the prices reflect that).

Bob
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:34 AM
 
1,363 posts, read 5,341,822 times
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I think East Brunswick has a pretty decent Indian population as well.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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East Brunswick has excellent schools. More info (school district report card) website is NJeducation.state.nj.us/rc/rc06/index.html
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:39 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,617 times
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Smile Considered Piscataway?

Have you considered piscataway.
Its nice out there
The train station close by is Dunellen(just 5 minutes)
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:05 PM
 
Location: GA
2,736 posts, read 9,340,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb273 View Post
What is the difference between "regional school district" and "school district"?

Thanks.
Regional schools serve more than one town.
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Toms River, NJ
1,106 posts, read 4,364,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb273 View Post
Hi,

(3) how do I start selecting which schools ? And which schools are both good and have a say a little more than normal Indian kid population?

(4) Suppose there are multiple school options available in a particular area, then is there an issue for a kid to get into some schools? Does one need to start the application process early?
Bob obviously knows the are so he can actually make recomendations. I'll just add to how to "pick" a school district.

First, you do not need to apply to public schools in NJ. The district is based on where you live. Most towns have one high school but may have more. I would look at how a high school is performing first. If the high school is doing well then you would look at the elementary schools. Some districts bus so you need to find out how they determine which student goes to which elementary school. This is how you can then determine where you would like to look for a house. As a teacher, imo, the performance of a middle school is less important. In general students seem to loose brain cells during the middle school years (probably related to puberty). I believe the foundation in elementary school will prepare them for the high school.
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