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Old 03-27-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CTwoman View Post
I do like the less pretentious part. Thanks for your comment. Do you have any experience with the schools? Thanks again.
I went to Westhill schools from 1981-1994, when I graduated. It's not as stuck up as people would you to believe. It was pretty cliquey, but I hung out with a little bit of everyone. I graduated with people that went to Michigan State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Binghamton, SUNY-Geneseo, Rutgers and other very good colleges. Sports teams were usual winning teams and they still win a lot at Westhill. Actually, my senior year they won the Girls State title in Class C and the Boys won it in my Junior year. It's not the most diverse school in the world, but it's there. Onondaga Hill is very nice and Westvale is more middle class in terms of anywhere from lower middle to upper middle class. Onondaga Hill has a range but varies on the neighborhood. Much of the shopping is done either on Onondaga Boulevard or in Fairmount/Camillus. Some shop in Syracuse for some things as well. Anything else?
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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Also, keep in mind that the Homewood hamlet/community in the Town of Onondaga is in the J-D school district and you can take Seneca Turnpike/Brighton Ave. to I-481 or to I-81.

Split Rock/Taunton area of Onondaga is in the West Genesee school district. Parts of the Howlett Hill and Onondaga Hill areas are in that school district, as well as the Marcellus school district too.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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Today I visited the Syracuse area!! Finally. It is lovely and you described it so well that the way I pictured it was almost exactly the way it was. Except Manlius was hillier than I expected, which was fine.

First we went through Syracuse itself. While some areas were very nice, we decided it was not for us. Lots of it reminded me of Paterson, NJ with the mix of beautiful areas and not so beautiful areas. We went on a miserable day (rainy and foggy) so I know we didn't see the city at its best, but we crossed Syracuse off of our list.

Next we went through Onondaga. Again, some areas were nice, and some not great. Quite rural.

Next up was Marcellus. Too rural for me, although the town was okay. It just wasn't a place I could see myself.

Then we came upon Skaneateles. It was beautiful. We loved it, but not for the reasons you are thinking. We loved that the schools were all next to each other in a complex. The class sizes were all under 20 kids per class. The community center was great. The people were friendly and helpful. As a bonus, there was this gorgeous lake. The down side is the housing is a bit pricey and in 2 hours, we really didn't see a house we loved (except for 1, but it was sold already). Also, it's a bit longer of a commute for my husband. Moreover, it was not super convenient for shopping, but I can live with that, I guess.

Cazenovia was next. It was nice, but I liked Skaneateles better. Not sure why. It was just a feeling. To be fair, it was very foggy out.

Next up was Fayetteville. Loved it! Very nice town and everything is close and convenient. That Towne Plaza area has pretty much everything you need including the YMCA. Same goes for Manlius and Pompey. I actually liked the housing options in Pompey a bit more. The houses in the developments in Pompey were a bit further apart which was more my speed. I really liked that one street backing up to Green Lakes (Green Acres??). The homes were very nice. I think that's in Fayetteville. That entire area seems great. The downsides for me here are 1) the hugeness of the schools. I don't want my kids getting lost or slipping through the cracks in a school filled with competitive type kids where the teachers only pay attention to the 'smarter' kids who are ready for advanced courses etc.... 2) I can see where the area can get pretty congested. We went through the YMCA's parking lot area and at 4pm, it was an absolute zoo. Overall, though, it seemed like a wonderful area.

That's all we had time for until we had to drive back to CT. I didn't see Camillus and my husband did not want to venture up to B'ville area. Maybe next week I'll go back up and actually see some houses.

Thanks for all of your help.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:42 AM
 
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I'm so glad you liked it! Now you can see why I'm so passionate about Fayetteville-Manlius... I primarily grew up in this southeastern quadrant of Central New York (Manlius, Pompey, Cazenovia) and so, especially when raising a family, it truly seemed idyllic to stay here. It *does* feel idyllic to live here. Beautiful landscape, near shopping and schools but removed from them at the same time, *great* schools that have a track record of taking care of their students and the budget to ensure that... to the point that the vast majority of even the very affluent send their children to our public schools instead of opting for private. An involved, welcoming community, should you choose to be a part of it... it's really perfect for us. And even though countless other areas would "work" for us, again, this is the best fit for our family.

And I was in Towne Center around 4pm. lol - I was having our vehicle inspected at Valvoline, ordered sushi next door (Oriental Star - GREAT food and prices) and then walked over to Target to get our Easter candy for the baskets, during the wait. I definitely had an "I love living here" kind of moment, yesterday afternoon.

Cazenovia is like Skaneateles but scaled down to a practical level. It caters to the needs of the town and Cazenovia College's student population. It's also not lakefront, but lake-SIDE, as you saw... so the lake doesn't really influence the feel of the village much, like it does in Skaneateles. "Skinny" is more of a touristy place.

Last edited by proulxfamily; 03-30-2010 at 06:50 AM..
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTwoman View Post
Today I visited the Syracuse area!! Finally. It is lovely and you described it so well that the way I pictured it was almost exactly the way it was. Except Manlius was hillier than I expected, which was fine.

First we went through Syracuse itself. While some areas were very nice, we decided it was not for us. Lots of it reminded me of Paterson, NJ with the mix of beautiful areas and not so beautiful areas. We went on a miserable day (rainy and foggy) so I know we didn't see the city at its best, but we crossed Syracuse off of our list.

Next we went through Onondaga. Again, some areas were nice, and some not great. Quite rural.

Next up was Marcellus. Too rural for me, although the town was okay. It just wasn't a place I could see myself.

Then we came upon Skaneateles. It was beautiful. We loved it, but not for the reasons you are thinking. We loved that the schools were all next to each other in a complex. The class sizes were all under 20 kids per class. The community center was great. The people were friendly and helpful. As a bonus, there was this gorgeous lake. The down side is the housing is a bit pricey and in 2 hours, we really didn't see a house we loved (except for 1, but it was sold already). Also, it's a bit longer of a commute for my husband. Moreover, it was not super convenient for shopping, but I can live with that, I guess.

Cazenovia was next. It was nice, but I liked Skaneateles better. Not sure why. It was just a feeling. To be fair, it was very foggy out.

Next up was Fayetteville. Loved it! Very nice town and everything is close and convenient. That Towne Plaza area has pretty much everything you need including the YMCA. Same goes for Manlius and Pompey. I actually liked the housing options in Pompey a bit more. The houses in the developments in Pompey were a bit further apart which was more my speed. I really liked that one street backing up to Green Lakes (Green Acres??). The homes were very nice. I think that's in Fayetteville. That entire area seems great. The downsides for me here are 1) the hugeness of the schools. I don't want my kids getting lost or slipping through the cracks in a school filled with competitive type kids where the teachers only pay attention to the 'smarter' kids who are ready for advanced courses etc.... 2) I can see where the area can get pretty congested. We went through the YMCA's parking lot area and at 4pm, it was an absolute zoo. Overall, though, it seemed like a wonderful area.

That's all we had time for until we had to drive back to CT. I didn't see Camillus and my husband did not want to venture up to B'ville area. Maybe next week I'll go back up and actually see some houses.

Thanks for all of your help.
Keep in mind that Onondaga is a big town. So, it varies. Onondaga Hill is next to the city of Syracuse is pretty much suburbia. Some of the Winkworth neighborhood is in the Westhill SD and the town of Onondaga too.

Also, Westvale, the other part of the Westhill SD, is actually in the town of Geddes, which is next to Camillus.

If you were in rural parts of the town, you were most likely in the areas of the town in which the kids go to Onondaga Central, Marcellus, LaFayette and maybe parts of the West Genesee and J-D SD's.

As for not so great parts, the only one I can think of in the town of Onondaga that isn't so great are parts of Nedrow, which is in the Onondaga Central SD. It's not bad in terms of crime or anything, but it does have areas in which some of the homes aren't kept up as well as others.

What did you think of DeWitt, which is in between Syracuse and the Fayetteville-Manlius area?
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Keep in mind that Onondaga is a big town. So, it varies. Onondaga Hill is next to the city of Syracuse is pretty much suburbia. Some of the Winkworth neighborhood is in the Westhill SD and the town of Onondaga too.

Also, Westvale, the other part of the Westhill SD, is actually in the town of Geddes, which is next to Camillus.

If you were in rural parts of the town, you were most likely in the areas of the town in which the kids go to Onondaga Central, Marcellus, LaFayette and maybe parts of the West Genesee and J-D SD's.

As for not so great parts, the only one I can think of in the town of Onondaga that isn't so great are parts of Nedrow, which is in the Onondaga Central SD. It's not bad in terms of crime or anything, but it does have areas in which some of the homes aren't kept up as well as others.

What did you think of DeWitt, which is in between Syracuse and the Fayetteville-Manlius area?
Yes, the Nedrow area is exactly where I was, on the way to Marcellus. It certainly did not look dangerous, but many of the homes were not kept well or had lots of garbage on their front porch or lawn.

We drove by DeWitt, but didn't have time to explore it. I'm planning on going back up at the end of next week to see the J-D/Camillus area and look at some houses.

Right now, I am most concerned about my kids feeling comfortable at the schools, ie. finding a welcoming type school. Is there such a school where there are no cliques?? I doubt it, but I don't want them to be too stressed about fitting in on top of piles of homework. F-M schools seems to be highly competitive and I guess that's what make them good on paper, but at what cost to a child's morale?

Maybe I'm just being over concerned, but what mom isn't??
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CTwoman View Post
Yes, the Nedrow area is exactly where I was, on the way to Marcellus. It certainly did not look dangerous, but many of the homes were not kept well or had lots of garbage on their front porch or lawn.

We drove by DeWitt, but didn't have time to explore it. I'm planning on going back up at the end of next week to see the J-D/Camillus area and look at some houses.

Right now, I am most concerned about my kids feeling comfortable at the schools, ie. finding a welcoming type school. Is there such a school where there are no cliques?? I doubt it, but I don't want them to be too stressed about fitting in on top of piles of homework. F-M schools seems to be highly competitive and I guess that's what make them good on paper, but at what cost to a child's morale?

Maybe I'm just being over concerned, but what mom isn't??
I think F-M would be fine. Like you said, you are going to find schools with cliques and I'm sure the school your daughter attends now has some.

Out of the schools with the best reputations, F-M is the biggest, but it isn't as big as some other high schools in the area. Westhill schools also have the breakdown of schools you want in terms of grades(K-2, 3-4, 5-8 and 9-12). J-D schools have a break down of K-4, 5-8 and 9-12. F-M has a breakdown of K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

As for being the most welcoming, you might actually like J-D due it being a district of high quality and is the most ethnically and racially diverse suburban school district in the area. You'll have kids of Jewish, Arab, Black, Asian, Hispanic, recent Russian backgrounds and the kids seem to get along there. You would also have the old rich neighborhoods as a housing option and newer development to look at too. They have good sports teams for the most part and the area is generally safe with shopping close by. It's also a smaller district, but isn't too small with around 2900 students in the district. I know quite a few faculty and staff at Syracuse University live in the district and you also get some economic diversity, but not in a way that would threaten a decline in the quality of life.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:54 AM
 
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The only downside of JD *is* the cliques. There are the rich Middle Eastern kids, the rich Children of Heart [and other lofty professions] Surgeons who are expected to be the best, the WAY over-achieving children of the countless SU professors, the middle income jocks who make a show of being rich, the rich kids who want to be Sean Paul and Beyonce and bling it out to a ridiculous level... and then there's everyone else.

FM is clique-y in the elementary and middle schools south of Seneca Turnpike. Fay-El and Wellwood don't come anywhere near that. But they all get dumped into the high school and the cliques change more to what your academic and extra-curricular interests are, as is usual for other "general American" schools.

I would stay out of FM's Mott Road Elementary, which is almost in JD... purely for the [lack of] academics. While the other schools rank very high, academically, Mott Road tends to have a state exam passing rate on par with inner city schools. 55%, the last time I checked. (The rest of the district was in the mid to high 90's.) And my youngest cousin's experience there matches those stats. He could barely read in 3rd grade - *could* but very slowly - as did many of his classmates. The academic focus there tends to be soft... don't hurt their self-esteem by saying something is wrong. Lots of art and gym and concert/play planning. He and many of his classmates had a VERY hard time, in transitioning to Wellwood Middle, but finally caught up about halfway into the second quarter. And this was only a few years ago.

Last edited by proulxfamily; 03-30-2010 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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The only downside of JD *is* the cliques. There are the rich Middle Eastern kids, the rich Children of Heart [and other lofty professions] Surgeons who are expected to be the best, the WAY over-achieving children of the countless SU professors, the middle income jocks who make a show of being rich, the rich kids who want to be Sean Paul and Beyonce and bling it out to a ridiculous level... and then there's everyone else.

FM is clique-y in the elementary and middle schools south of Seneca Turnpike. Fay-El (K-4) and Wellwood (5-8) don't come anywhere near that. But they all get dumped into the high school and the cliques change more to what your academic and extra-curricular interests are, as is usual for other "general American" schools.

I would stay out of FM's Mott Road Elementary, which is almost in JD... purely for the [lack of] academics. While the other schools rank very high, academically, Mott Road tends to have a state exam passing rate on par with inner city schools. 55%, the last time I checked. (The rest of the district was in the mid to high 90's.) And my youngest cousin's experience there matches those stats. He could barely read in 3rd grade - *could* but very slowly - as did many of his classmates. The academic focus there tends to be soft... don't hurt their self-esteem by saying something is wrong. Lots of art and gym and concert/play planning. He and many of his classmates had a VERY hard time, in transitioning to Wellwood Middle, but finally caught up about halfway into the second quarter. And this was only a few years ago.
It looks like Mott Road stepped it's game up: Mott Road Elementary School Test Scores - Fayetteville, New York - NY

Again, I think all schools of any decent size will have cliques. So, completely avoiding that would be pretty hard to do. I wouldn't be surprised if the private schools in the area, regardless of affiliation, would have some as well.

By the way, here's information on the Westhill SD: Test Scores for Westhill Central School District | GreatSchools
Westhill School District
onondaga hill middle school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
westhill high school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
walberta park elementary school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
cherry road elementary school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
It looks like Mott Road stepped it's game up: Mott Road Elementary School Test Scores - Fayetteville, New York - NY

Again, I think all schools of any decent size will have cliques. So, completely avoiding that would be pretty hard to do. I wouldn't be surprised if the private schools in the area, regardless of affiliation, would have some as well.

By the way, here's information on the Westhill SD: Test Scores for Westhill Central School District | GreatSchools
Westhill School District
onondaga hill middle school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
westhill high school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
walberta park elementary school syracuse, ny - Google Maps
cherry road elementary school syracuse, ny - Google Maps

Data for Great Schools goes back to 2006 and the passage rate was 89% and has since risen to the 90s, well above the state average. My cousin went to Mott Road around 2005 and seemed to have adjusted well. The school is rated 9 out of 10 which is very comprable to many high achieving schools in Fairfield and Westchester counties.
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