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Old 02-09-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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I am relocating to NORVA area and am interested in the best area for elementary schools (2 sons, 3rd and 1st grade). I am leaning to Loudoun County (Ashburn) due to the number of schools on schooldigger.com, but also considering Fairfax County (Reston, Chantilly, Centreville) based on commute. Any insight/suggestions would be appreciated, along with local source/website for single home renting.

Thanks in advance for your help
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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If you want to find the "best" elementary schools, follow the money.
The schools with the highest test scores, the ones that real estate agents highlight in listings, the ones that send lots of students to TJ, etc. are generally the schools in the most affluent neighborhoods. for the most part.
See the thread "Which school pyramids are considered "desirable" in Fairfax County?" in this forum for more than you ever wanted to know about school quality.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:38 PM
 
229 posts, read 672,417 times
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Originally Posted by adteaf View Post
I am relocating to NORVA area and am interested in the best area for elementary schools (2 sons, 3rd and 1st grade). I am leaning to Loudoun County (Ashburn) due to the number of schools on schooldigger.com, but also considering Fairfax County (Reston, Chantilly, Centreville) based on commute. Any insight/suggestions would be appreciated, along with local source/website for single home renting.

Thanks in advance for your help
One school in NoVa that's not in a traditionally wealthy area is called Greenbriar West ES. It's located in Fairfax (Chantilly), but is also a feeder school for Centreville kids. It is 42% asian, 40% white, etc.

Greenbriar West is a GT center and neighborhood school that also feeds into Rachel Carson MS, which also has a GT center and has the 2nd highest # of kids going to TJ in NoVA. Rachel Carson is located in Herndon, north of Oak Hill which has million dollar homes.

The only "drawback" is that if your kids don't get into TJ, they will either go to Centreville, Chantilly, or Westfield HS which aren't ranked up there as elite gold Nova High Schools. I think Oakton may be part of that triangle too, and Oakton is better, but huge.

To follow up on what ClaireMarie said, Cooper MS is located in McLean also, and feeds into Langley HS. Cooper is a really good school, but not a GT center. Cooper sends kids to TJ at the low single digits. This phenomenon is similar at Thoreau. Both are great middle schools, but send very few kids to TJ maybe because their GT level students go to Longfellow and Kilmer instead.

Therefore, the "follow the money" rule of thumb doesn't necessarily apply across the boards based on the Rachel Carson MS example compared to Cooper and Thoreau.

Last edited by tankdude; 02-10-2009 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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I think that Greenbriar West ES feeds into Rocky Run MS, which also has a GT center, rather than into Carson, and then on to Chantilly High. Carson's attendance area is a bit further to the north.

Here is the current list of school assignments.

Gifted and Talented Programs, Instructional Services Department
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I think that Greenbriar West ES feeds into Rocky Run MS, which also has a GT center, rather than into Carson, and then on to Chantilly High. Carson's attendance area is a bit further to the north.

Here is the current list of school assignments.

Gifted and Talented Programs, Instructional Services Department
This must be a recent change due to the overflow of GT students at Rachel Carson. When I was on the market for a home, Greenbriar West GT fed to Carson GT.

This is not unusual as Luther Jackson recently became a GT center also.

Rocky Run wasn't recently reported as having a lot of kids going to TJ.

The more established schools like Longfellow and Carson send the most kids to TJ. Kilmer sends about 1/2 of what those two schools individually send.
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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The "follow the money" approach works better than any other for those who aren't in the position to spend months combing through data and interviewing school officials.
And keep in mind that there's NO great benefit in attending a school that includes a GT center if you are not actually in the GT program.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
The "follow the money" approach works better than any other for those who aren't in the position to spend months combing through data and interviewing school officials.
And keep in mind that there's NO great benefit in attending a school that includes a GT center if you are not actually in the GT program.
With the advent of the internet, no one should be spending months combing through data or interviewing school officials. FFX Cty does a pretty good job providing data that's readily accessible.

There is no "great" benefit, but if a GT school is rolling out 94-99% SOL results, with maybe 1/2 the students being GT, then that proves that the neighborhood kids aren't so bad themselves and the non-GT teachers are doing their jobs.

Greenbriar West Elementary School Test Scores - Fairfax, Virginia - VA

Carson Middle School Test Scores - Herndon, Virginia - VA

Carson MS, being in Herndon which isn't exactly Langley Forest or Ballantrae Farm, and sending the 2nd most # of kids to TJ is a heckuva accomplishment.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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I have heard wonderful things about Carson and am aware of quite a few families where one or both parents will endure a lengthy commute to DC just so their children can attend this school.

While Carson is located in Herndon, it has a very different demographic than, say, Herndon Middle School (less than 8% of its students receive subsidized lunches, compared to 27% at Herndon Middle). In addition, the GT Center at Carson includes students from Oakton-area communities such as Crossfield, Fox Mill and Waples Mill that are quite affluent.

As a result, and without diminishing any of Carson's accomplishments, it is perhaps not too surprising that Carson traditionally sends such a large number of students on to TJ. Some of the parents were "following the money" - just to another part of the county.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:13 PM
 
229 posts, read 672,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I have heard wonderful things about Carson and am aware of quite a few families where one or both parents will endure a lengthy commute to DC just so their children can attend this school.

While Carson is located in Herndon, it has a very different demographic than, say, Herndon Middle School (less than 8% of its students receive subsidized lunches, compared to 27% at Herndon Middle). In addition, the GT Center at Carson includes students from Oakton-area communities such as Crossfield, Fox Mill and Waples Mill that are quite affluent.

As a result, and without diminishing any of Carson's accomplishments, it is perhaps not too surprising that Carson traditionally sends such a large number of students on to TJ. Some of the parents were "following the money" - just to another part of the county.
There are pockets of expensive homes throughout NoVa, but that doesn't mean those are money areas, especially not old money. FFX Cty has the 4th highest median income in the US, so it's not surprising that the price of homes parallel that.

In general, the median income in McLean is about $157k (median house value at $893k), the median income in Great Falls is about $207k (median house value at $1,534k), while the median income in Oakton is about $114k (median house value at $702k).

So, with the term term "following the money," when it applies to NoVA, people think McLean and Great Falls long before they think of Oakton.

BTW, to qualify for subsidized lunches in FFX, you have to make no more than 185% of the poverty level in the US. For a family of 4, that's roughly $25k (1.185 x $21,200).

That's not exactly affluent, especially in FFX Cty.

Last edited by tankdude; 02-10-2009 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:58 PM
 
229 posts, read 672,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankdude View Post
There are pockets of expensive homes throughout NoVa, but that doesn't mean those are money areas, especially not old money. FFX Cty has the 4th highest median income in the US, so it's not surprising that the price of homes parallel that.

In general, the median income in McLean is about $157k (median house value at $893k), the median income in Great Falls is about $207k (median house value at $1,534k), while the median income in Oakton is about $114k (median house value at $702k).

So, with the term term "following the money," when it applies to NoVA, people think McLean and Great Falls long before they think of Oakton.

BTW, to qualify for subsidized lunches in FFX, you have to make no more than 185% of the poverty level in the US. For a family of 4, that's roughly $25k (1.185 x $21,200).

That's not exactly affluent, especially in FFX Cty.
BTW, to qualify for subsidized lunches in FFX, you have to make no more than 185% of the poverty level in the US. For a family of 4, that's roughly $39k (1.85 x $21,200).

That's not exactly affluent, especially in FFX Cty.
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