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Old 12-26-2006, 03:07 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
2 posts, read 7,545 times
Reputation: 11


We're upping roots from Colorado and heading for The Big City -- specifically, my wife will be starting work in March very near to the Ballston metro stop in Arlington, and I'll be looking for something around there, Alexandria, DC etc..

My wife and I are no strangers to big city life, having both lived in London, England for many years, but we've been advised to look for a place to live out in the suburbs, mostly because of schooling issues. This is not what we really want, not only as walking around has a big draw for us but also because two parents with hour+ commutes leads to a lot of daycare time and risks (if the Metro fails us both at 5:45pm, for example).

Anyway, we have three boys, one in 2nd Grade, one KG and another due to start KG in 18 months.

For accomodations we're thinking of finding a decent apartment complex as my wife is military and we'll be moving in another 3 years anyway. House buying is therefore not a concern at the moment.

Any advice on the quality of elementary schools in Arlington, Alexandria, or other local areas would be very much appreciated. Additional credit given for recommending an area combining good schools, apartment availability, walkability and public transport
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:25 PM
Location: NOVA - retiring to OKlahoma
569 posts, read 1,194,291 times
Reputation: 368

I live in the area, but alas I have no children in school. I will tell you that generally Arlington County has a good school system. With your kids in elementary school and KG you really shouldn't have any worries.

As far as an apt goes, if you want to live in Arlington it is going to be pricey, especially in the Ballston area. You may want to look into SFH rentals also because you may find a smaller house for about the same as an apt on the subway line. Real estate in this area has gone through the roof the last few years which as also affected the rental rates. On the plus side, Arl Co is small, so if you didn't live in walking distance to the subway the commute would only be a few minutes to the Ballston area.

I will make this suggestion though, if you move into Arlington move to what is known as "North" Arlington. "L.A.", (Lower Arlington, as it's fondly known around here, which is south of Rt. 50) is predominately lower income families and older, long time Arlington residents.

I"ve included links to the Arlington County Schools, the Washington Metroplitan Area Transit Authority (subway map) and the Washington Post's classifed page for rentals. You should be able to get a better idea as far as the schools are concerned, ie. curriculum, SOL scores, etc. With the Metro site you can see where the stops are to give you an idea of where to look. The Post's site will obviously give you an idea of what apt's are renting for around here.

Good luck!


http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm (broken link)

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Old 12-26-2006, 08:21 PM
2,462 posts, read 8,587,486 times
Reputation: 999
North Arlington has great elementary schools, with many students able to walk to school. Ballston and Clarendon are very popular with young professionals and empty nesters who can afford the premium for living in an "urban" suburban neighborhood on the Metro and easy driving to D.C. There are lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance. Not as many families with young children in the apartments, but there are a number of residential neighborhoods nearby with single-famiy homes, some of which are modest but more and more of which are rather expensive. The Shirlington area, which is on the border of Arlington and the City of Alexandria, is more affordable, with postwar garden-style apartments. There are also a fair number of rental homes available in North Arlington, and though you might not be in easy walking distance of Metro, it's only a few miles away.
On the whole, Arlington is very "livable," with manageable traffic and excellent government services (schools, libraries, parks, etc. )but the nicer parts are not cheap. Quite ordinary "box" colonials with 3 Br and 1.5 bath sell for more than $500K. There are some nice neighborhoods in South Arlington (south of Rt. 50, generally), but they can be hard to find from out of town.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:03 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
2 posts, read 7,545 times
Reputation: 11
Great information and very helpful. Thanks very much.
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Old 02-24-2007, 01:45 AM
10 posts, read 68,367 times
Reputation: 14
Default Arlington Schools

We live in North Arlington and we have a 6 year-old child at Taylor Elementary. Fabulous school! Also highly recommended are Nottingham and Jamestown. I even looked at private schools when we first moved here and I believed they surpassed in some instances or equaled the private schools. Test scores are high. My child has gone on 3 field trips in kindergarten. One to the Kennedy Center and two to a Planetarium.
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