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Old 03-04-2011, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Texas
25 posts, read 64,716 times
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Hello! I am looking for opinions regarding the areas of McLean/Falls Church vs. Burke/West Springfield. My family will be relocating to NOVA for a two-year Pentagon tour. We have elementary age children and strongly desire top notch schools, family friendly neighborhoods, sports programs for kids, and churches. We plan on renting a home (approx $3000-$3500/month). Collegues have recommended Burke/West Springfield to us but while doing research it seems McLean and Falls Church have the best schools. Any thoughts from the experts? I so appreciate any info you can give me

Kate
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Old 03-04-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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They are both good areas. Burke/West Springfield is more affordable and has more military families. Test scores in McLean and areas of Falls Church near McLean (or the City of Falls Church itself) are somewhat higher than in the Burke/West Springfield schools. However, schools in both areas are part of a single county-wide system (except for the City of Falls Church, which has its own small system), and test scores for individual schools typically will exceed state and national averages by a substantial margin.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:10 PM
 
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Colleagues probably recommend Burke/West Springfield because that's where a ton of people that work at the Pentagon live. It's very family friendly and a fairly easy commute to Pentagon via express bus. The sports teams, schools and churches are all great and its incredibly family friendly.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,681,138 times
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Burke/West Springfield might leave you with a few extra bucks left over from your housing budget.
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Old 03-05-2011, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Maine
2,014 posts, read 2,709,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katea View Post
Hello! I am looking for opinions regarding the areas of McLean/Falls Church vs. Burke/West Springfield. My family will be relocating to NOVA for a two-year Pentagon tour. We have elementary age children and strongly desire top notch schools, family friendly neighborhoods, sports programs for kids, and churches. We plan on renting a home (approx $3000-$3500/month). Collegues have recommended Burke/West Springfield to us but while doing research it seems McLean and Falls Church have the best schools. Any thoughts from the experts? I so appreciate any info you can give me
Kate
Go for McLean/Falls Church. Average SAT scores are higher there, so obviously those elementary schools are better.

You'll be happier paying more for your housing.
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Old 03-05-2011, 07:21 AM
 
1,182 posts, read 2,541,382 times
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I would look in Burke. The schools are outstanding! And you'll get more for your money.

The Pentagon Express Bus makes the commute very easy. You can also take VRE into the District or drive to the Springfield Metro.

There are tons of military and government families living in Burke. Your kids will make friends quickly and easily. We've done three tours in the DC area. Burke is by far our favorite place to live. Look in Burke Station Square. We loved it! Burkestation.net

Just a hint: Rent less than you can afford. Everything is expensive in the DC area.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:05 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,637,365 times
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In post after post, Burke/West Springfield is the default recommendation for all military families on C-D. It's not the only area where military families live in NoVa, but it's an attractive area with good schools, a decent commute, and more affordable housing than the most expensive parts of NoVa, including McLean. There's plenty to like, and little not to like.

However, if certain Burke/West Springfield posters think that information about test scores among NoVa schools is irrelevant, and that the primary consideration for the OP should simply be finding less expensive housing that is relatively close to the Pentagon, I hope they'll supplement their earlier posts to provide more information to the OP about other nearby areas, such as Central Springfield and the Alexandria parts of Fairfax County. For example, many military families live in the Lee, Hayfield, West Potomac and Mount Vernon school districts as well. They are closer to the Pentagon than Burke/West Springfield. If Burke/West Springfield offers "more for your money," than McLean/West Falls Church, then parts of these areas may offer "more for your money" than Burke/West Springfield.

Last edited by JD984; 03-05-2011 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,681,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post

However, if certain Burke/West Springfield posters think that information about test scores among NoVa schools is irrelevant, and that the primary consideration for the OP should simply be finding less expensive housing that is relatively close to the Pentagon, I hope they'll supplement their earlier posts to provide more information to the OP about other nearby areas, such as Central Springfield and the Alexandria parts of Fairfax County. For example, many military families live in the Lee, Hayfield, West Potomac and Mount Vernon school districts as well. They are closer to the Pentagon than Burke/West Springfield. If Burke/West Springfield offers "more for your money," than McLean/West Falls Church, then parts of these areas may offer "more for your money" than Burke/West Springfield.
IMO there isn't anything wrong with the other communities and they offer some good options. Thanks for supplementing. The OP asked specifically about McLean/Falls Church and Burke/West Springfield so that's probably why the responses have focused on those two areas.
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:09 PM
 
1,328 posts, read 2,697,603 times
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Other than schools and commuting ease one reason military choose the Burke/West Springfield area, as well as Kingstowne, Hayfield etc is access to military amenities. Commissary, PX as well as medical. Your husband while stationed at the pentagon will be cared for at the clinic there, but your family might be assigned to Ft Belvoir or Bolling etc, it depends on where you actually live rather than branch of service. If there are serious medical issues in your family, you might want to research the various facilities (such as Bethesda and Walter Reed as well) and see which one has a particicular specialty.

Trust me traveling back and forth to Ft Belvoir from Mclean wouldn't be fun. But wouldn't be so bad to WR.

Of course that might not be issue. Just food for thought. Another thing to think about, have you confirmed he will actually be at the Pentagon. My DH is "assigned" there but works in another location.

Again, just something to think about. And welcome...
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Maine
2,014 posts, read 2,709,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
However, if certain Burke/West Springfield posters think that information about test scores among NoVa schools is irrelevant, and that the primary consideration for the OP should simply be finding less expensive housing that is relatively close to the Pentagon, I hope they'll supplement their earlier posts to provide more information to the OP about other nearby areas, such as Central Springfield and the Alexandria parts of Fairfax County. For example, many military families live in the Lee, Hayfield, West Potomac and Mount Vernon school districts as well. They are closer to the Pentagon than Burke/West Springfield. If Burke/West Springfield offers "more for your money," than McLean/West Falls Church, then parts of these areas may offer "more for your money" than Burke/West Springfield.
JEB77, my comment about test scores is more in response to another poster who religiously cites average SAT scores for schools as proof of their school pyramid's desirability. I don't think that average test scores, on their own, can convey the quality of education available in a particular school. An elementary school may have some terrific teachers but lower average standardized test scores. That does not mean that a student cannot get a wonderful education there. Much of it depends upon the teacher and the attitude and aptitude of the student. My student had a horrible teacher at a highly sought after FCPS elementary school. High scores don't always mean your student will get a great teacher.

Regarding the commute: Driving to the Pentagon from any area is tough if you aren't guaranteed a parking pass. If you do obtain one, you forfeit the subsidized mass transit money that can be used for Metro, bus, or VRE. For many people, it's simpler, faster, and cheaper to use the bus/slug/Metro to get to work. My husband's commute from Springfield to the Pentagon via bus is faster than it was for him when we lived in Mount Vernon.

The OP inquired about McLean vs. Burke/West Springfield, so recommending other areas might be considered off-topic. After reading the OP's comments on the Colorado and Nebraska forums, McLean seems like a good match for her.
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