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Old 06-09-2011, 07:01 AM
 
3 posts, read 4,586 times
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Hi everyone, I'm new here and would appreciate any advice you can give me It looks like it is very likely that my husband will be relocating from New England to Northern Virginia. He is in big retail management, so the exact location is a bit unknown, and probably going to vary and be spread out - but it will most likely be from around Fredericksburg to around the Woodridge area. We have young children, so schools are a top priority.

I have been looking at great schools and school digger and getting a little concerned. It looks like even the top ranked school districts have fairly low rankings. I know these rankings aren't the most accurate judge of a school or district's quality, so I was hoping to get some insight from people who know about them first hand. My assumption is that the rankings are probably affected somewhat by the more diverse population, since they seem to be calculated just by standardized tests. If anyone could give me some input on the quality of schools in the area - mainly Spotsylvania, Stafford, Prince William, but I'm open to nearby areas too- I would love to hear it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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All of the school districts in NoVA are top notch and I am not saying it in terms of opinion, they actually perform extremely well when compared to the nation.

Prince William is most definitely the better of the three you mentioned but really you cannot go wrong here.

If Guggenheim had actually wandered over the Potomac, he's anti-public school waiting for superman movie would have been a moot issue.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge
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We are extremely happy with the Prince William County School System and the education our daughter gets there. Also our schools have many specialty programs that may be of interest from the Elementary to High School Levels.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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The variances you see in test scores are most certainly due to economic diversity. Schools with the lower scores tend to be situated in areas where the feeder neighborhoods are low income. Your best bet is to get a general idea of what you think is a decent school(s) from the websites and then go online and try to get in touch with families who actually use the various schools.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Thank you so much for the feedback, it definitely makes me feel better. This is a pretty big move, especially since we are packing up three very young kids and going somewhere we don't know, so hearing good things about the schools is a relief.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:19 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
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You have four school systems in the corridor you mention. None are fully unacceptable. A lot depends on your budget and your desire for lifestyle (city living, subdivision living, rural living, etc.)

Prince William: You'd be living in the lower-income area of the county. I'd avoid Freedom HS. Gar-Field and Potomac might be okay if your kid is high-achiving and a self-starter, but you can do better. Woodbridge and Forest Park are the better high schools in eastern PWC.
Stafford: Colonial Forge is the best-regarded of the schools in that district.
Fredericksburg City: James Monroe has a lot of professor kids who do well and a lot of other kids who don't.
Spotsylvania: A hair below Stafford, maybe.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
You have four school systems in the corridor you mention. None are fully unacceptable. A lot depends on your budget and your desire for lifestyle (city living, subdivision living, rural living, etc.)

Prince William: You'd be living in the lower-income area of the county. I'd avoid Freedom HS. Gar-Field and Potomac might be okay if your kid is high-achiving and a self-starter, but you can do better. Woodbridge and Forest Park are the better high schools in eastern PWC.
Good areas and low socioeconomic area can be found in any county in the country. In general, the NoVA school systems are quite top notch.

Western PWC (Haymarket, Gainesville, Bristow, Noksville) definitely has a higher socioeconomic group of people; which results in a better group of schools.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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You might consider looking at parts of Fairfax county. The reputation of the school system there is much stronger than any of the three areas you mentioned, although there can be large variations between specific schools.

Obviously, the commute would be worse, and in general Fairfax county is more expensive, but it is another option if you don't like what you are seeing in the other areas.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Thank you for all the responses. I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I get the impression that there would be more variation between different schools in Prince William County (and all the counties getting closer to DC and more urban, diverse), with the less desirable schools in areas with more crime, gangs, etc. My impression of Spotsylvania on the other hand, is that the lower socio economic areas are more rural and that there is less of a difference between one school and another. Am I way off ?
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenRI View Post
Thank you for all the responses. I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I get the impression that there would be more variation between different schools in Prince William County (and all the counties getting closer to DC and more urban, diverse), with the less desirable schools in areas with more crime, gangs, etc. My impression of Spotsylvania on the other hand, is that the lower socio economic areas are more rural and that there is less of a difference between one school and another. Am I way off ?
You are spot on. The closer you get to DC, the more disparity between upper income and rough areas within the same county; which is a lot like PWC.

Spotsylvania is indeed more of a rural setting, where there is less of a difference. It's interesting that you pointed this out, as I never thought of it that way. You do also have the option of Fauquier county, to the west of PWC.
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