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Old 10-12-2019, 08:35 PM
 
1 posts, read 510 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi I’m new to the forum. I’m thinking of moving to Montclair. I have two toddlers aged 2 and 4.

How is the Montclair school system? I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some say to ignore the poor rankings because they are affected by the town’s demographics given the socioeconomically disadvantaged part of town. Others warn me to either not move there because of the schools, or send the kids to private if we do move there. These people say move to Millburn/Short Hills or Livingston.

**What’s the real deal?** We love the vibe and culture of Montclair and don’t want to go to a cookie cutter suburb. But we want to also give the kids the best opportunities. I’d rather not send them to private schools because I value public education and of course the money savings.

SO, hypothetically if you took two well-off siblings from a high socioeconomic background and dropped one at Montclair schools and one at Millburn schools, will the Montclair kid not do as well? Will they have less opportunities to succeed, and less chances of making it to their desired college? Or is a school like Montclair high really a great school with plenty of opportunity but just has a bad rep/ranking because of the socioeconomic diversity (which for example brings down test scores)?

Short version, am I doing a disservice to my kids by sending them to Montclair schools instead of a top ranked school district like Millburn, or Livingston, or Ridgewood, etc??

For simplification, assume the cost of the house is the same. Commute to Montclair is 15 minutes shorter from work. And everything else is equal. So we can just focus on schools.

Thank you!
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:06 PM
 
3,139 posts, read 2,376,300 times
Reputation: 2369
https://www.usnews.com/education/bes...h-school-12652
https://www.usnews.com/education/bes...h-school-12647

The schools are great. The taxes are high as a result, but when you're comparing Montclair to Millburn you're splitting hairs. One is 18 in the state and the other is 82 but it's NJ, anything in the top 100 is great and they all swing so wildly up and down because they're all so close to start. For all you know your kids will hate the town of Millburn and rebel by screwing around in school. They might do the same in Montclair or Princeton or anywhere else. I mean, they're 4, you've got some time.

If you like the town move to the town, don't stress about the schools you'll be putting your kids in ten years from now, you have no idea if you'll even still be living in the area because work changed or whatever.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:08 AM
 
454 posts, read 405,726 times
Reputation: 321
We asked ourselves the same questions a few years back and couldn’t filter through the mixed reviews to make a strong decision. We bought in glen ridge next door which has great schools. Better on paper but less diverse. GR HS is 22 in state with an 11:1 teacher ratio and Montclair is in the 80s with a 13:1 ratio. But it’s basically splitting hairs at that level. We could walk into a Montclair town or short drive to other Montclair towns. Plus we have gas lamp lined streets and similar housing stock. Similar vibe. And a short train (Montclair has 5 train stations, followed by Glen Ridge, all 3 min apart by train) so the train is 3-18 min faster depending on how far north you go in Montclair. it was a no brainer. Although we did bid on houses in both towns. Both towns have an ask low/sell high sealed bid approach on a vast majority of houses. Glad we lost in Montclair. It’s pretty hard to actually buy a house so my advice is to maybe bid on houses in both neighborhoods. We were seeing the same crowds of people at open houses in both towns, so maybe it’s not uncommon.

Not a lot of people question GR schools. Residents spend a lot on taxes and tell themselves it goes to schools (which is true) 60% of a 20-35k tax bill goes directly to schools. Similarly in Montclair, that is also the case, but I’ve heard complaints about the Montclair schools, and some Montclair residents feel that they are not getting as much value out of their taxes. Although most rave about the Montclair magnet system. But again, some Montclair residents do complain, and I’ve heard some send their kids to private. Very rarely do you hear GR residents complaining about the schools or sending to private.

Glen Ridge was no consolation prize. It’s regarded as a premier town. It’s just small and not a lot of people know about it. Basically a 4 block wide by two mile long sliver alongside Montclair.

Comparing the two

-GR is better ranked, but less diverse
-Montclair has one main town and satellite towns surrounding stations. So better walkability to store and shops
-Montclair has magnet school district which also means there is no specific zoning for elementary schools and your kids may go to school on the opposite end of town, not the one closest to you. Although they do make sure kids of one household are not split up
-Both towns have sidewalks and are vibrant. Kids are out in strollers and the parks are full. Montclair seems to have larger population of younger families
-GR has basically no stores. But every is a walk or short drive into Montclair and relies on Montclair as their commercial base
-GR has gas lamp lined streets. Montclair does not. Drive through GR at night, it is eerily very peaceful and has a great historical vibe

Last edited by JaRuss01; 10-13-2019 at 06:51 AM..
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:58 PM
 
15,717 posts, read 5,614,348 times
Reputation: 6050
Quote:
Originally Posted by qetuo135 View Post
Hi I’m new to the forum. I’m thinking of moving to Montclair. I have two toddlers aged 2 and 4.

How is the Montclair school system? I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some say to ignore the poor rankings because they are affected by the town’s demographics given the socioeconomically disadvantaged part of town. Others warn me to either not move there because of the schools, or send the kids to private if we do move there. These people say move to Millburn/Short Hills or Livingston.

**What’s the real deal?** We love the vibe and culture of Montclair and don’t want to go to a cookie cutter suburb. But we want to also give the kids the best opportunities. I’d rather not send them to private schools because I value public education and of course the money savings.

SO, hypothetically if you took two well-off siblings from a high socioeconomic background and dropped one at Montclair schools and one at Millburn schools, will the Montclair kid not do as well? Will they have less opportunities to succeed, and less chances of making it to their desired college? Or is a school like Montclair high really a great school with plenty of opportunity but just has a bad rep/ranking because of the socioeconomic diversity (which for example brings down test scores)?

Short version, am I doing a disservice to my kids by sending them to Montclair schools instead of a top ranked school district like Millburn, or Livingston, or Ridgewood, etc??

For simplification, assume the cost of the house is the same. Commute to Montclair is 15 minutes shorter from work. And everything else is equal. So we can just focus on schools.

Thank you!
Montclair schools are fine. The kids at any school all feel the same pressure more applied by parents and family then by peers but it happens in all schools you need to remember that. Find a town you're happy in the school will take care of itself.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Montclair, NJ
473 posts, read 1,014,886 times
Reputation: 152
If kids want to challenge themselves, those opportunities exist in Montclair. Lots of AP classes and good college placement. I went to private school and send/sent my kids to Montclair HS. Not every teacher is great, but you learn to navigate the system. The HS is a BIG school so there are limited resources. If your kid is a good student with the potential for A's and Bs, but getting along with C's, the motivation has to come from them or you. If you want a little more individualized attention, Glen Ridge probably a good choice. If there is a real weakness, I'd say it's writing skills, the foundation of which should be formed in middle school, but isn't. By the time your kid is in Calc BC, or some other high level class at MHS, it's a pretty small learning community. There have been some admin and physical plant issues (it's a 100YO building) in the past couple years that they are working to resolve. Keep in mind that when it comes to college applications, you have a lot of kids from Millburn / Chatham/ Summit applying to the same top schools. I'm of the mind that going to most competitive school at all costs is an antiquated notion and we have ivy league degrees on both sides going back generations. I do know this, my kids wouldn't (or wouldn't have in the case of the 2 grads) go to another school, public or private, even it was free. PM me if you want to learn more.
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