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Old 02-13-2009, 01:05 PM
 
9 posts, read 38,627 times
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My husband, my 2 1/2 year-old-son, and I are relocating to northern Virginia this spring. We are very drawn to the City of Alexandria for its sense of history, its walkability, and its arts/shopping/dining scene. I am concerned, however, that we would be entering into to dicey territory in terms of the public school system. Most of the houses that interest us are in Del Ray or just west of there and would be served by Mount Vernon or George Mason for elementary and then George Washington for middle school. Mount Vernon gets a 2 on greatschools.net; George Mason is not listed. Are things as bad as they are reported to be? Does anyone have personal experience with the gifted & talented programs? Bit dubious of on-line ranking systems for elementary schools, so I'm just looking for some first-hand info. Of course, my son's current ambitions include short order cook, so maybe I shouldn't stress about academics!
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,565 posts, read 33,287,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngruskin View Post
My husband, my 2 1/2 year-old-son, and I are relocating to northern Virginia this spring. We are very drawn to the City of Alexandria for its sense of history, its walkability, and its arts/shopping/dining scene. I am concerned, however, that we would be entering into to dicey territory in terms of the public school system. Most of the houses that interest us are in Del Ray or just west of there and would be served by Mount Vernon or George Mason for elementary and then George Washington for middle school. Mount Vernon gets a 2 on greatschools.net; George Mason is not listed. Are things as bad as they are reported to be? Does anyone have personal experience with the gifted & talented programs? Bit dubious of on-line ranking systems for elementary schools, so I'm just looking for some first-hand info. Of course, my son's current ambitions include short order cook, so maybe I shouldn't stress about academics!
I have been one of the biggest defenders of Alexandria City public Schools on this site. Alexandria City Public Schools has the unenviable distinction of being between two power house school systems in Fairfax and Arlington. Alexandria schools would pretty much be average for the rest of Virginia.

As for Mount Vernon comm. school i've heard positive things from the ones who send their kids to the school. George Mason i've heard good things about too. Now the middle school is where it gets messy both of the city's middle school's lost their fully accredited status recently. I still dont think it is the worst school in Virginia but defintely underacheiving. My only advice is to visit the school yourself and make your own observations. TC Williams is ranked a 2 on greatschools but i went my final two years of HS there and i really enjoyed the experience and got a quality education. You should not make decisions on websites alone.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:04 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,292,771 times
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I know GW had a much better reputation than Hammond in the 90s, and Geo Mason and MacArthur were usually the highest ranked of the city's elem schools.

Both GW (middle) and TC (senior high) were remodelled/completely rebuilt within the past few years, so definitely very good school facilities. The sports programs are traditionally strong and well funded at the jr hi & high school levels. The crew (rowing) and girls and boys ice hockey programs are among the largest and oldest in the Northern Region (i.e. of the VHSL) and are very competitive.

Last edited by irvine; 02-13-2009 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,358 posts, read 20,154,735 times
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I am a proponent of Alexandria, the City has so much going for it - your child is so young, hopefully you are instilling values in him (sadly, that's not always the case).

You love the area - go for it, give your child a sense of that and he will do well. I don't have children, but I firmly believe that education starts and ends in the home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngruskin View Post
My husband, my 2 1/2 year-old-son, and I are relocating to northern Virginia this spring. We are very drawn to the City of Alexandria for its sense of history, its walkability, and its arts/shopping/dining scene. I am concerned, however, that we would be entering into to dicey territory in terms of the public school system. Most of the houses that interest us are in Del Ray or just west of there and would be served by Mount Vernon or George Mason for elementary and then George Washington for middle school. Mount Vernon gets a 2 on greatschools.net; George Mason is not listed. Are things as bad as they are reported to be? Does anyone have personal experience with the gifted & talented programs? Bit dubious of on-line ranking systems for elementary schools, so I'm just looking for some first-hand info. Of course, my son's current ambitions include short order cook, so maybe I shouldn't stress about academics!
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:00 PM
 
9 posts, read 38,627 times
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I agree; education starts and ends in the home. I went through a public school system that now gets "1s" across the board on greatschools.net (granted I went through it in the 70s and early 80s, but it didn't have a very good reputation then either) and did just fine (I have a Ph.D. and a law degree). That said, my commitment to public education has it limits. What scares me and what I'd like to learn more about is both anecdotal and empirical (info taken from the "school safety" section of the VA D.O.E. report cards available on-line) evidence suggesting that the Alexandria schools are less safe than those elsewhere.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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You may want to consider Arlington. Alex has some great things about it, like Del Ray, but the school situation is not as good as North Arlington's.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:38 AM
 
56 posts, read 191,308 times
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It's tough when you are coming from a different area. I too graduated from TCW and got a great education. I have degrees in engineering and law but concede I attended a long time ago. I find the online rankings disconcerting and it seems a socio-economic dichotomy is forming nationwide.

The only way to really know if the school district is for you is to visit, talk to the teachers, observe the students and decide. Best wishes.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Burke, VA
269 posts, read 898,620 times
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Originally Posted by DWS43 View Post
It's tough when you are coming from a different area. I too graduated from TCW and got a great education. I have degrees in engineering and law but concede I attended a long time ago. I find the online rankings disconcerting and it seems a socio-economic dichotomy is forming nationwide.

The only way to really know if the school district is for you is to visit, talk to the teachers, observe the students and decide. Best wishes.

It's funny that everyone here is agreeing that "your kids will do fine" etc. in a bad school, when people are always up in arms about bad schools in PG County over in nearly Maryland and shouting "DON'T DO IT"! Point is, rankings and ratings don't lie, a Bad School is a Bad School and I can't believe people are advising the OP to overlook that. I would never send my child to public schools in Alexandria, as these are low performing per the statistics and test scores. If you want good schools, choose the better communities in Fairfax County, it's that simple!
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:29 PM
 
56 posts, read 191,308 times
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I do not know you but I have respectfully read your posts. You were nice enough to quote me yet I do not see any mention of "your kids will do fine" anywhere in my post. What I did advise the OP to do is check out the school system for herself.

I graduated from this school system over 20 years ago as was referenced by "I attended a long time ago." My advice remains the same. Do your research and make up your own mind. Have a good day.

Last edited by DWS43; 02-17-2009 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,565 posts, read 33,287,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWS43 View Post
I do not know you but I have respectfully read your posts. You were nice enough to quote me yet I do not see any mention of "your kids will do fine" anywhere in my post. What I did advise the OP to do is check out the school system for herself.

I graduated from this school system over 20 years ago as was referenced by "I attended a long time ago." My advice remains the same. Do your research and make up your own mind. Have a good day.
I graduated the Alexandria school system three years ago and have attended one of VA's best (York County) and one of VA's poorest (Hampton City) to compare it to. I seen academically motivated children prosper in all three districts and i've seen unmotivated kids fail in all three districts.

Skapov, i'm glad as a black family you have the means to live in Fairfax County's better neighborhoods and attend their better schools, but for some of us we don't have the means and have to do the best with what we are given. Alexandria City schools aren't perfect but don't tell me it's the worst district you can send your kid to in the DC area.
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