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Old 09-26-2009, 04:39 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
Reputation: 41

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HI, guys! I posted this under another thread but I wanted to post this here to get more information about the safest and best neighborhoods in Alexandria.

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 schools have full day Kindergarten?
4) Do the elementary schools teach a foreign language (e.g. Spanish or French 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 around or 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!
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:34 PM
 
5,333 posts, read 6,137,473 times
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When you say Alexandria, it seems from the rest of your post that you really mean southern Fairfax County, parts of which have an Alexandria postal address but aren't actually in the city of Alexandria.

Alexandria City has its own public school system, separate from Fairfax County. Fairfax County schools also perform better than Alexandria schools, except the southern Ffx Co schools don't tend to do as well as those to the north of 395. If you live in the city of Alexandria, your children will not be allowed to attend Fairfax County schools.

Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by "Alexandria".
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:54 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
Reputation: 41
Smile Hi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbobobbo View Post
When you say Alexandria, it seems from the rest of your post that you really mean southern Fairfax County, parts of which have an Alexandria postal address but aren't actually in the city of Alexandria.

Alexandria City has its own public school system, separate from Fairfax County. Fairfax County schools also perform better than Alexandria schools, except the southern Ffx Co schools don't tend to do as well as those to the north of 395. If you live in the city of Alexandria, your children will not be allowed to attend Fairfax County schools.

Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by "Alexandria".

robbobobbo, I guess I am getting confused b/c I thought I read that Alexandria had Fairfax Co. schools there. Now I am wondering which neighborhoods/cities would I have to live in to get my sons in to Fairfax County schools?

This would help me immensely. I have been doing a lot of research and was under the impression that there were Fairfax Co. and Alexandria Co. schools in Alexandria.

Also, what do you mean when you said, "you really mean southern Fairfax County, parts of which have an Alexandria postal address but aren't actually in the city of Alexandria"? Which cities are in southern Fairfax Co. and is it not possible to be in Alexandria at all and my sons attend Fairfax Co. schools? I really wanted to live in Alexandria or fairly close to it for our commute and I have family in Alexandria and my best friend is in DC. I have family in Manassas too and Alexandria is a good location for me and my family for other things too, like what we like to do on the weekends and so on.

I heard Old Towne was nice and safe. Any thoughts?

Thanks!!!
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:22 PM
 
5,333 posts, read 6,137,473 times
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The City of Alexandria is its own independent city. It is not a part of Fairfax County. It has its own government, court system, police, school system, etc.

Alexandria, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
City of Alexandria, Virginia

Parts of southern Fairfax County have had Alexandria as their mailing address, despite not being part of the city of Alexandria. Some of these have changed over time (like Kingstowne), but include/have included places like communities along Telegraph Road, and Route 1 down towards Mt Vernon. The Wikipedia article has a section about this.

Fairfax County doesn't really have cities, and just a few actual towns. The southern part of the county is mostly subdivisions, with clusters of shopping malls and businesses, but not real towns.

I'm not so knowledgeable about the best schools in southern Fairfax County. I've heard that the ones nearest Alexandria (that draw students from Rt 1) are not as good as ones near Kingstowne and Lorton. Others here may chip in what they know.

Old Town (no final 'e') is very nice, and safe with the exception of some small areas. If you lived in Old Town, your children would attend Alexandria City schools, not Fairfax County schools. Old Town is very convenient to DC as well.

If you need to have the Fairfax County schools, then I would suggest the Kingstowne area, the developments along Beulah Rd near Telegraph Rd, or Lorton. But take this opinion as coming from someone who hasn't kept up with the changes in that part of the county. Others here have more direct experience, I'm sure.
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:33 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
Reputation: 41
Smile Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbobobbo View Post
The City of Alexandria is its own independent city. It is not a part of Fairfax County. It has its own government, court system, police, school system, etc.

Alexandria, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
City of Alexandria, Virginia

Parts of southern Fairfax County have had Alexandria as their mailing address, despite not being part of the city of Alexandria. Some of these have changed over time (like Kingstowne), but include/have included places like communities along Telegraph Road, and Route 1 down towards Mt Vernon. The Wikipedia article has a section about this.

Fairfax County doesn't really have cities, and just a few actual towns. The southern part of the county is mostly subdivisions, with clusters of shopping malls and businesses, but not real towns.

I'm not so knowledgeable about the best schools in southern Fairfax County. I've heard that the ones nearest Alexandria (that draw students from Rt 1) are not as good as ones near Kingstowne and Lorton. Others here may chip in what they know.

Old Town (no final 'e') is very nice, and safe with the exception of some small areas. If you lived in Old Town, your children would attend Alexandria City schools, not Fairfax County schools. Old Town is very convenient to DC as well.

If you need to have the Fairfax County schools, then I would suggest the Kingstowne area, the developments along Beulah Rd near Telegraph Rd, or Lorton. But take this opinion as coming from someone who hasn't kept up with the changes in that part of the county. Others here have more direct experience, I'm sure.
I guess I could have read about this on Wikipedia but after researching schools, jobs, and places to live as we get ready to relocate all day...I'm just plain tired. Plus, it helps to get an honest opinion from someone who lives in the area. I have been on this website most of the day and I really appreciate the honest, knowledgeable opinions about NoVA. I know most of them are accurate because I grew up in Manassas. I didn't really spend a great deal of time in Alexandria and I never lived in northern VA as an adult. I am finding that it is quite different to come back to live after getting out of the Army and now my husband is getting out of the Army. It's been 10 years and on two of my last visits, Manassas (where most of my family and friends are) was very different. So I won't even begin to try to decipher Alexandria, where I did not spend a great deal of time.

Thanks for your research though and I will definitely consider your response as I continue to try and figure out where we should move to.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:37 AM
 
437 posts, read 1,074,399 times
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NOVAchick, to make deciphering Alexandria simple, basically if it is an Alexandria address north of the Beltway, it is Alexandria City; if it is an Alexandria address south of the Beltway it is Fairfax County.

Kingstowne and parts of 22310 are nice and generally safe, there are also some areas further down Telegraph Rd. or Rt. 1 that are nice but it can be hit and miss by neighborhood so you will want to check each neighborhood out.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:04 AM
 
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The immediate area (safest) around Fort Belvoir that would also provide excellent transport to DC via Metro would be 22315. Kingstowne, Island Creek and Hayfield areas. Lane, Island Creek, and Hayfield Elem all have all day KG. You could get a decent TH for $2000. And one parent would have a minumum commute. Island Creek runs a little bit cheaper than Kingstowne, but if you don't need the fitness centers and multiple pools then IC would be good) If you move a little bit west you would be in the eastern part of Springfield...not a great place. But just a little bit further you would be in West Springfield/Burke area with great schools. It can be a little bit cheaper, and $2000 could get you an older home. Try militarybyowner.com and search Fort Belvoir, then narrow by zip codes.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:12 PM
 
154 posts, read 446,857 times
Reputation: 41
Smile Thanks!

Thx, bornindc and slduvall! I used to hang out in Alexandria so I know that the neighborhoods are definitely hit and miss. Actually my friends that lived there said half the neighborhoods had neighborhood gangs.

Slduvall, thanks for the detailed response. I will definitely keep this in mind. After I have learned more from ppl on here and did some more research, we have decided on Vienna (for now) or Falls Church. I am leaning towards Vienna b/c I already found a few THs that I like that aren't too bad price-wise. Plus the schools are supposed to be really great in that area.

Thanks again for you all's reponses.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Mt Vernon (Alexandria)
2 posts, read 26,505 times
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Default Places to live in alexandria

I happen to live in Fairfax County South...about 2 miles north of Fort Belvoir...and it's a great place to live. I don't have children in the schools, but I've not heard anything bad about Mt Vernon or West Potomac High Schools...and there are some very good elementary schools.

Yes, Kingstowne is a good area. So is Mount Vernon, Mt Zephyr, Lorton,Springfield...

Vienna is also a nice area, but I'm not familiar with that side of town. I find there's more to do along the Potomac River. Mount Vernon is a fabulous place to visit. Walk or ride the bike paths along the Potomac. Enjoy dining, shopping and exploring Old Town. The Metro is a convenient way to get in and out of town, and there are express buses along Route 1/Richmond Highway to take you there if you don't want to drive.

You'll hear horror stories about living near Rte 1...but things have changed a lot in the past 20 years. The highway now boasts good restaurants, some nice shopping malls, $700K+ homes, and is very convenient for getting into DC or heading south to the beaches.

I invite you to explore Mt Zephyr. We have 1/2 acre treed lots, great community activities, parks and playgrounds, and friendly neighbors.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:31 PM
 
142 posts, read 518,672 times
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I also say the Kingstowne and Island Creek Neighborhoods are great; I used to live there. The zip code is 22315 (and it's Fairfax County, but Alexandria address), and it is located east of I-95, South of Franconia Road, west of Richmond Highway, and north of Fort Belvoir. The thing is, though, while the elementary schools are great (Hayfield, Island Creek, Lane), the schools tend to get a little less desirable at the secondary level. However, I would say they still offer a great education and roster of programs as any other Fairfax County school if your children are willing to succeed and work hard. My son attended Hayfield Secondary and had moments when he hated it, but overall, he says he loved the experience of diversity and his teachers, and he is proud of his accomplishments there. He's now proud to be a VT Hokie!

Another area of Alexandria I would recommend is the West Potomac High School District. The neighborhoods east of Route 1 all the way to the Potomac River are very nice. This area is also Fairfax County with an Alexandria address, and the zip code is 22308. Some of the elementary schools are Fort Hunt, Stratford, and Waynewood, and I hear either one or some of them have a great foreign language immersion program. It's also a straight drive to Old Town with the GW Parkway.
A little north of 22308 and south of Old Town is 22307, which has some BEAUTIFUL neighborhoods and a decent elementary school called Belle View.

Areas of Alexandria that I'm personally not a big fan of are the zip codes 22306 and 22309. Not that poor people are bad, but these schools have high F/R Lunch and ESOL rates; it's your decision. These areas tend to be clustered around or along Route 1, and there are still a few nice neighborhoods to be found here.

Zip code 22310 is the area immediately south of I-495, east of I-95, and bisected by Franconia Rd, and I personally think it's a so-so area compared to 22315 and 22308. I hear good things about Clermont Elementary which feeds into Edison High School.

Here's a map to supplement all my zip-code naming:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/maps/im...7/ZipCodes.pdf

Here's a map for the elementary schools:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/maps/im...danceAreas.pdf

My personal experience is that I loved the Fairfax County Alexandria while I lived there. Sure, some of the schools and neighborhoods further out, like West Springfield or South County are considered "better," but my family loved being so convenient to both the city and to all the surrounding suburbs. It's a very diverse area, both ethnically and socioeconomically, and the schools show it, but as my son says, I wouldn't trade it for any better-rated school or area. It has character, and it's not completely cookie-cutter nor is it completely gritty; it's a good mix.

Good luck!

Last edited by adctvmonkey; 10-10-2009 at 12:02 AM..
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