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Old 09-26-2009, 02:49 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
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HI, guys! I have been reading everyone's posts for a few days now and I just can't seem to find the specific answers that I am looking for. A lot of you all's information has been awesome but all the information is also quite overwhelming because it seems like the best schools for the area we are moving to run neck and neck.

So my question is:

My husband is getting out of the Army and we are moving to VA. I am from Manassas and I love the entire Northern VA area but as an adult, I don't want the long commute and neither does my husband. We want to be able to spend more time with our sons.

1) We are wondering, where are the safest areas to live in Alexandria (the answer can be neighborhoods, area codes, please try to be specific because we don't know Alexandria very well but family and friends live nearby and it's closer to our jobs)?
2) Which elementary schools are the best in the Alexandria/Arlington area?
3) Which elementary and middle schools feed into Thomas Jefferson and Woodlawn?
4) Which neighborhoods would get us into the elementary schools that feed into the middle schools that feed into Thomas Jefferson or Woodlawn?
5) Are the elementary schools full day?
6) Do the elementary schools teach a foreign language and offer band and sports?

My husband and I will be working in Ft. Belvoir and D.C. and our first child just started Kindergarten. I am realistic about the prices and I know that Arlington is more expensive than Alexandria. Right now, I am leaning towards Fairfax Co. schools b/c of our current budget. We would like to keep our rent under $2000. Our sons education and low crime (safety) are more important to us than getting more house for our money. Of course, if we could get all of those things that would be icing on the cake.

I appreciate and welcome all candid responses. Thanks!

Last edited by NOVAChick; 09-26-2009 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:19 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,295,086 times
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Default Mckinley Elem is the highest ranked in Northern Virginia (and the lowdown on Arlington)

First, no schools "feed" into HB Woodlawn or Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology or simply "TJ."

In Arlington County, students have the option to attend Thomas Jefferson located in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, and must apply for admission. Arlington provides free bus transportation.

The City of Alexandria does not send any students to TJ.

HB Woodlawn (sometimes called "Hippie High") in Arlington County is a "secondary program" with a stellar academic reputation, and it admits students based on a lottery system. Students must be highly self-motivated to succeed here, as there are few traditional rules, and unique privileges, which include free blocks, and an open campus. And everyone is on a first name basis. Students take part in the hiring of faculty, the creation of courses, and many other issues. Its students are officially students of their home school (e.g. Wakefield, Yorkotwn or W-L) and are eligible for athletic participation only at their home school.

For a look into the culture of the school check out
the HB Woodlawn Underground Student Handbook: What the Underground Student Handbook is
and
http://www.hbwoodlawn.org/postarticle.pdf

THe HB Woodlawn Student Paper: About VSS Verbum Sap Sat

Arlington's Mckinley Elementary was ranked number one in Northern Virginia a year ago, according to results on the state's standardized test, the Standards of Learning exam or "SOL." The other two very popular elementary schools in Arlington with similarly high test results are Arlington Science Focus and Arlington Traditional. Arlington Traditional has no boundaries and accepts students on a lottery system. Arlington Science focus is an option within an elementary school cluster that consists of Taylor, Key Spanish Immersion, and Jamestown. Students are guaranteed admission only if they live in the portion of the Lyon Village and Clarendon neighborhoods zoned to Key.

Other neighborhood schools with excellent results include Taylor, Jamestown, Nottingham, Long Branch, etc, etc.
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:31 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
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Smile Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
First, no schools "feed" into HB Woodlawn or Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology or simply "TJ."

In Arlington County, students have the option to attend Thomas Jefferson located in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, and must apply for admission. Arlington provides free bus transportation.

The City of Alexandria does not send any students to TJ.

HB Woodlawn (sometimes called "Hippie High") in Arlington County is a "secondary program" with a stellar academic reputation, and it admits students based on a lottery system. Students must be highly self-motivated to succeed here, as there are few traditional rules, and unique privileges, which include free blocks, and an open campus. And everyone is on a first name basis. Students take part in the hiring of faculty, the creation of courses, and many other issues. Its students are officially students of their home school (e.g. Wakefield, Yorkotwn or W-L) and are eligible for athletic participation only at their home school.

For a look into the culture of the school check out
the HB Woodlawn Underground Student Handbook: What the Underground Student Handbook is
and
http://www.hbwoodlawn.org/postarticle.pdf

THe HB Woodlawn Student Paper: About VSS Verbum Sap Sat

Arlington's Mckinley Elementary was ranked number one in Northern Virginia a year ago, according to results on the state's standardized test, the Standards of Learning exam or "SOL." The other two very popular elementary schools in Arlington with similarly high test results are Arlington Science Focus and Arlington Traditional. Arlington Traditional has no boundaries and accepts students on a lottery system. Arlington Science focus is an option within an elementary school cluster that consists of Taylor, Key Spanish Immersion, and Jamestown. Students are guaranteed admission only if they live in the portion of the Lyon Village and Clarendon neighborhoods zoned to Key.

Other neighborhood schools with excellent results include Taylor, Jamestown, Nottingham, Long Branch, etc, etc.
Irvine,

A lot of information to take in but your information has greatly helped me. I will use your information as a reference when choosing my son's elementary school. Thank you!
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:34 PM
 
73 posts, read 222,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVAChick View Post
3) Which elementary and middle schools feed into Thomas Jefferson and Woodlawn?
4) Which neighborhoods would get us into the elementary schools that feed into the middle schools that feed into Thomas Jefferson or Woodlawn?
There is no feeder school for TJ. When your child enters 8th grade, there is a test and application process for TJ. Alexandria chose not to send students to TJ -- I believe they have one high school and the "brain drain" would have been detrimental to their high school offerings. For middle schools in Fairfax, I believe Longfellow Middle sends quite a few students to TJ each year. There is an article in the October issue of The Washingtonian about TJ. Ignore the headline on the cover -- the article is quite positive and informative.
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:42 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,889,243 times
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Kindergarten is too early to be worrying about TJ....most 5 year olds, no matter how precocious, will get into TJ. A lot of very good students don't get into TJ. I wouldn't set the kid up for a major life failure at age 13.

I have a little insight into this because of my retirement gig...driving a FCPS bus. I do two GT runs (elementary and middle) and I overhear my students talking among themselves every day. Getting into TJ is a very frequent topic of conversation...and it's obvious that many of them are under EXTREME pressure from their parents to get into TJ. Anything less will be letting mom and dad down...big time.

Let the kid be a kid, and if he/she has what it takes to get into TJ, it'll happen. If not, they can still have a successful life, as long as they haven't been mentally scarred in the quest for TJ.
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:00 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
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Smile Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Kindergarten is too early to be worrying about TJ....most 5 year olds, no matter how precocious, will get into TJ. A lot of very good students don't get into TJ. I wouldn't set the kid up for a major life failure at age 13.

I have a little insight into this because of my retirement gig...driving a FCPS bus. I do two GT runs (elementary and middle) and I overhear my students talking among themselves every day. Getting into TJ is a very frequent topic of conversation...and it's obvious that many of them are under EXTREME pressure from their parents to get into TJ. Anything less will be letting mom and dad down...big time.

Let the kid be a kid, and if he/she has what it takes to get into TJ, it'll happen. If not, they can still have a successful life, as long as they haven't been mentally scarred in the quest for TJ.
Thanks for your input. You are correct that kids should get to be kids. And I do let my sons "be kids" but I also think that kids should have someone who supports a higher education and help guide them towards that higher education. And this should start early on in life as I have learned from past experiences. Trying to help your child be successful too late in the game, will most likely only hurt them. I have high expectations for my sons and want the best for them as any parent should but they are hardly under pressure. They play all day yet parents should also begin talking to their kids about college from very early on so it becomes the norm to go and not the exception.

Like my dad used to tell me, "If, as a parent, you don't expect anything of your child, then you have already failed them." However, my parents only expected me and my siblings to graduate from high school and that's all we did...at first. Then, from my own drive, I went to college and will now be the first in my family to get a bachelor's degree. Yet, I wish I would have been told to go to college throughout my childhood and I wish I was already done with it like most of my friends (whose parents probably discussed college and expected them to go to college) have done. Some have even finished their Master's by now. I appreciate your input but I don't want my kids to have the same disadvantages that I was up against. Also, I think everyone should raise their children as they see fit...which most people tend to do anyway.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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I wish more parents are like you. By the time, middle school rolls around -- it is too late for some of the kids. I can't tell you how many kids have no interest in doing well in school and are thrilled with their C's and D's on their report cards. The same thing with their parents -- they are happy their child is passing with their D's and C's. I have had kids with F's on their report cards and not a single parent called to find out why their child is failing and there was no concern when I called home. High expectations is not a bad thing as long as parents don't go overboard.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:13 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
Reputation: 41
Smile Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffy62 View Post
I wish more parents are like you. By the time, middle school rolls around -- it is too late for some of the kids. I can't tell you how many kids have no interest in doing well in school and are thrilled with their C's and D's on their report cards. The same thing with their parents -- they are happy their child is passing with their D's and C's. I have had kids with F's on their report cards and not a single parent called to find out why their child is failing and there was no concern when I called home. High expectations is not a bad thing as long as parents don't go overboard.
I am shocked by that but not surprised. My son is in Kindergarten and his teacher said that most of the parents of her "problem" children do not care that their kids are acting out in school. So she thought my husband and I wouldn't care either when our 5 year old was showing out and throwing tantrums, etc. I was like, "Are you kidding me? Of course we care." And I thought I was the average type of parent and am always shocked to hear that my husband and I are not. After communicating with her, we were able to work together to help my son learn how he should act in school so he benefits from school and now he is good and very happy when he brings happy faces home and we do the Happy Dance.

I think it is extremely sad to not care about your child's education and help set goals for them b/c do parents/guardians really expect their children to do this for themselves? Every now and then, you might get a child that will but for the most part, the children will slack off and either drop out of high school (like my younger brother did) or just finish high school and have no aspirations to go to college.

I have expectations for both of my sons but I am not psycho about it like some parents are. My expectations are set for the ages that they are. For example, I wouldn't expect a 5 year old to not know how to act in Kindergarten unless something else is going on. And if parents, teachers or any other caregiver in the child's life do not expect anything from that child...what do expect that child will most likely grow up to be? I think it helps children too to know that you believe in them and believe they can go far in their higher education. I talk to my sons about college but I don't have them doing algebra or anything..lol.

Thank you for your input. I plan to continue to work with my sons to plan a successful academic future.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,679,374 times
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5) Are the elementary schools full day?
I believe your question is about kindergarten programs. Some Fairfax Co. schools offer full day kindergarten, but not nearly all. You can go to the FCPS site and search for elementaries which are full day.
6) Do the elementary schools teach a foreign language and offer band and sports?
FCPS offers a strings program in fourth grade. Band starts in fifth. If you are interested in foreign language, check out the schools that offer a language immersion program. The district has immersion schools offering programs in a number of different languages.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:42 AM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
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Smile Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
5) Are the elementary schools full day?
I believe your question is about kindergarten programs. Some Fairfax Co. schools offer full day kindergarten, but not nearly all. You can go to the FCPS site and search for elementaries which are full day.
6) Do the elementary schools teach a foreign language and offer band and sports?
FCPS offers a strings program in fourth grade. Band starts in fifth. If you are interested in foreign language, check out the schools that offer a language immersion program. The district has immersion schools offering programs in a number of different languages.
Okay, that sounds great. I have seen the immersion schools while I was researching different schools and going to different websites. I wasn't too sure what that meant. Now I know what to look for to help me find schools that might teach a foreign language and do full day Kindergarten. Thanks!
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