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Old 06-25-2007, 09:30 AM
5 posts, read 15,235 times
Reputation: 11


I'm moving to Vermont this summer, and I am daunted by a high school search. Not all of the public high schools have their NECAP scores published.
Harwood Union HS, for example should be a good school for the communities it serves, but I can't find any data about it.

Spaulding gets a rough reputation, but I have no empirical data to support it.
U32 seems popular, but I hear it's unstructured.

Anything in Chittenden county seems recommended, but that may not be the most proximal home site for commuting.

I'm looking to buy/build a home around $350K within 1 hour of south Barre.
I'd like to have some acreage for a hobby farm and I'd need 4 BR + 2.5+ baths, so that make this search nearly impossible.
I must be driving my agent nuts. He's a trooper though. God Bless him!

I like the notion of school choice, (say, for St. J's academy), but I don't want to be saddled with real estate, that if worse comes to worse, I'll be unable to sell.

I haven't had this much challenge since I bought my first house on a tight budget!

I should mention that I'd like good facilities. I have at least one athlete, and at least one science/math buff. I don't want to limit their success with a school with no money for science labs and/or athletic programs.

My kids are 12,9,6,3,1.
grades, 7,4,1,pre-k, toddler


Any comments for a transplant??
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:41 AM
12 posts, read 56,994 times
Reputation: 11
RYPLE1- send me a PM and I can give you some info.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:22 AM
Location: on a dirt road in Waitsfield,Vermont
2,186 posts, read 5,990,832 times
Reputation: 1126
Personally I would not get too bogged with stats in deciding which school is better than another. Our experience(3 kids, one still in HS) has taught us just cause a school has high test scores, high teachers education level and other facts has no bearing on how any particular child will do at any particular school.

Some kids do well in a large school, some do not. That's goes for academically as well as sports. It depends more on the child than the school. Fit the child to the school not the school to the child. The home environment also plays an important role.

I know this doesn't help you much but one important thing to consider is that property taxes can vary alot from town to town so you need to check that out as well.

Due to Act 60/68 school budgets are very complicated. Just read an article about Black River HS in Ludlow. Because it's considered a rich town they have to send most of their property taxes to other towns so since Act 60 was inacted their own HS is falling in disrepair. The poorer towns that now receive more money due to Act 60 are the ones who can improve their schools. It's kinda wacky.

If you find a property that your considering check about that particular's school districts funding regarding the facilty, programs and teacher's pay. Personally check the school out. Ask people about the school.

Personally check the school out with your child, realize that's alot harder than comparing stats but is a much better way.

Good luck.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:52 PM
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,379,840 times
Reputation: 544
This is the best source of info in schools I'm aware of.

Vermont Department of Education School Report

Best of luck to you
David Beckett, CBR
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:12 AM
5 posts, read 15,235 times
Reputation: 11
whoa! cool. i only ever found the statewide results for necap!
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:29 PM
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,379,840 times
Reputation: 544
You're welcome rpyle1.

Let us know how else we can help.

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Old 04-23-2011, 02:02 PM
5 posts, read 15,235 times
Reputation: 11
Default Experience with central VT schools

Thanks to the posters for their replies.

For those looking to move to central VT, beware. Schools are advertised deceptively. U32 is a liberal's paradise where the kids call the teacher's by their first name, (rule), teachers take a backseat to students, and students' education takes a back seat to gifted Vermont advertising.
My daughter lost a year, and returned to Illinois behind and unable to catch up for two years. She barely tested into Honors Geometry her first year in a local public school and didn't at the desired private school where her former peer group blew her away.
I think Chittenden County is the only option for someone who has to move to VT and doesn't plan to homeschool.
My younger children suffered too, but enjoyed it because it made them look so smart! They also returned behind, but it was easier to catch up in younger grades.
Central VT is an artist's paradise, and if you want your kids to make jewelry and slick art projects or fancy theatre productions or musical exhibitions, and don't care about their math grades, go nuts.
Don't get me wrong, I loved VT, it was a beautiful adventure, but when it didn't pan out, I found out just how underserved my kids were.
I would go back, I even have a preference for Central VT, (It's somehow more REAL Vermont,) but I think I'd put my kids at Brother Rice. I don't know that that's a panacea, but it'd be better than teaching my kids history via Neil Young music. ("Cortez the Killer")
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Location: Manassas, VA
1,559 posts, read 3,181,508 times
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Same thing happened to me but in junior high - moving from Chittenden County to Fairfax County of No. Virginia where school education is highly regarded. However - that was a bit deceiving... I was about a year and a half ahead of all the other kids my age....great news for me but bad news for my older brother (who as already super advanced). Even into high school - had some really, really bad teachers who just gave us good grades to make themselves look good....and we didn't have to do anything! Again - I thought it was great....but being much older now realized that they only did a disservice.

I guess my point is that anywhere you go - you could have a bad experience even with a fantastic school system....the whole point... my parents and thousands of others moved and still do move their kids to my old local school system....and after all these years it is still hit or miss.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:45 AM
21 posts, read 37,863 times
Reputation: 25
Default Vermont Public Schools - Great or Awful?

There's quite a lot of negative information in this thread on the quality of high schools in Vermont. Having just bought a house in Shelburne and with a daughter in grade school, I'm worried I've made a a big mistake with regard to the schools (which I thought were very good...at least the ones serving Shelburne, which would be Shelburne community school and CVU. I've heard Rice high school is very good, but if I'm going to pay $8000 per year for a private high school, then it doesn't make sense to live in a town where I'm paying $8000 per year in property taxes (mostly school tax), with the intention of getting the best public schools for all those taxes. After reading this thread, I looked on the internet and found this: http://www.vpaonline.org/vpa/lib/vpa/Success_in_Vermont_Schools_2010.pdf (broken link)
It certainly makes Vermont public schools look like they are tops in the nation. Can anyone with more knowledge than I comment on the very positive info in this link, and if it accurately reflects the reality of the school system or is simply propaganda?
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:15 AM
10 posts, read 18,911 times
Reputation: 19
Default Vermont schools

We recently moved away from Vermont. I loved Vermont for everything except the weather and the schools. Enough has probably been said about the weather, but I wanted to elaborate on the school experience we had to let others know what to expect.
When we first knew we were moving, we visited Williston, Shelburne and South Burlington schools. Williston and Shelburne schools use open classrooms and to me, they felt very chaotic, noisy and disorganized. I learned that Williston residents cannot choose the school their child attends (or at least they couldn't then, but that might have changed). So we focused on Shelburne and South Burlington and because SB had a traditional classroom, that is where we bought a house. Orchard School had high ratings on the "great schools" website, yet what I saw every time I volunteered in the classroom, and what I heard from our daughter made me concerned and eventually we pulled her out and put her in a Catholic school. I only wish we hadn't waited three years to do it.
First of all, the kids don't have desks (which may not bother some people, but it did me). There's no personal space at all. If four kids sit at a table, all it takes is one disruptive child to make it hard to learn. Weeks would go by without any graded work coming home, and the only tests given were spelling tests. Problem children were sent out into the hall to just sit and amuse themselves, or often were found wandering in the halls of the school. And the teachers totally ruled the place; some wanted to teach combined grades (2/3 and 4/5) and some did not; others wanted to loop. They did whatever they wanted, it was completely arbitrary and random. What one teacher taught in one 3rd grade in no way reflected what another taught in another 3rd grade. Parents of twins will recount their experiences of the gulf between any two classes.
Section 8 housing was built in South Burlington, so a good portion of the kids at the school get free lunches which unfortunately translates to many of them having learning and behavior problems, and parents who do not volunteer. And volunteering is what it's all about in Vermont until those volunteers dry up, or it turns out they aren't really qualified to be with children in the first place.
Then there's the social workers who spend an inordinate amount of time each day with all the kids teaching them to breathe out their anger, or beat a pillow, or play games such as "fish for feelings". One year, the kids were given stickers every single day for every "good choice" they made -- the weekly winner would get to choose an activity (watching TV was the one the teacher always wanted chosen. And oh yes, they watch a movie on Friday afternoons).
Many of the disturbed children have an aide, but not all. It takes a long time to establish that a child does need an aide, so you might spend an entire year with a out-of-control child in a classroom, making life miserable for the other kids and the teacher. The proportion of time spent trying to get the kids to behave far outweighed the amount of teaching or learning, or anything actually educational. Kids get recess three times a day in good weather. The school plays and art classes take center stage but there's no science curriculum whatsoever.
We pulled our child out and sent her to Christ the King which was so much better. It was COMPLETELY worth the tuition and had we not moved away, she would have attended Rice.

Last edited by PrairieGirl_; 07-10-2012 at 12:02 PM..
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