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Old 04-18-2012, 04:10 PM
 
114 posts, read 134,867 times
Reputation: 29

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Understood. I personally do not think I would be comfortable with my children going to a very large district. WP seems comparable to New Rochelle in my opinion. I visited NR High school and it was just huge (approx. 3,000 students), classess seemed very disruptive, was a bit chaotic. I coluldn't see me sending my children there.
I am looking for a smaller district with a good amount of offerings. Not high pressure, elitist mentality etc.
Pelham, Mamaroneck, Rye Neck, Eastchester, Ardsley are our list that we came up with. At this point, not sure where we may end up in the end and just crossing my fingers we make the right choice.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:22 PM
 
9 posts, read 5,208 times
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Default Big Fan of White Plains Schools

I also have excellent things to say about WP schools. I went there from my first day of kindergarten until my last day of high school, and I wound up at an Ivy League school. Now I have a 2-year old daughter, and White Plains is on the short list of communities where my wife and I are looking to live.

As a different commenter said, the people who have bad things to say about WP schools tend to be people who didn't go there and who don't send their kids there. And, from my experience, those people are often basing their opinions on the average test scores alone. That measurement is essentially useless, though. In our country, as you probably know, there's a very high correlation between a child's test scores and her parents' income. Because of that, it's no surprise that school districts where most if not all parents are very wealthy have higher average test scores than a school district like White Plains, which is socioeconomically diverse. It would be a mistake to look at those scores and conclude that the homogeneous district is teaching its students any better than White Plains is. Comparing WP to a place like Pelham, on test scores alone, is an apples to oranges comparison.

The other commenter who supports WP schools also noted a few recent positive stories about White Plains schools, and I won't belabor those points. In case you're interested, though, here are a few articles...

Re the ongoing success of WP's academic team:
WPHS Advances to Second Round of 'The Challenge' - White Plains, NY Patch

Re the recent hire of a popular principal from John Jay (a "good school" by almost all measurements):
White Plains School Board Expected to Appoint Doherty as New High School Principal - White Plains, NY Patch

Re a student's recent success in a national science competition:
White Plains Senior Places 5th in Intel Contest | The Daily White Plains

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:57 AM
 
114 posts, read 134,867 times
Reputation: 29
Thanks,
Will take a look at what you provided. Yes, I agree, trest scores are not a significant measure of how good a school actually is. In addition to wealth and scores, there are also factors like ESL population, Special Ed population. It really isn't something I look at first and foremost when considering a district.
Would like a smaller sized district with the same great offerings of the largers districts in Westchester.
Anyone think the districts we have chosen may fit that bill??
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,429 posts, read 2,082,047 times
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Just to add that for me, the reason that I would never live in WP is because they have no neighborhood schools. All of the kids are scattered indiscriminately across the district based on their preferences, not location.

Having moved from a city where everyone attended private schools and the neighborhood kids barely knew each other, I was hell-bent on moving to a town with great neighborhood public schools that kids actually went to.

Also, while people may be happy at their elementary schools, as the kids get older they seem to get increasingly more misbehaved in urban districts and the class environment changes. It goes hand in hand with more economic diversity, but it's just not anything that I'm willing to put up with. There are motivated kids in Yonkers and Mt. Vernon, too, but for every parent they have to decide what trade offs are worth it. Not to imply that WP schools are near as bad as those, but my point is that is very personal.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:56 AM
 
117 posts, read 248,446 times
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jjinla - if I could afford the extra $10k-$12k in taxes per year I'd probably do the same as you.

One point on the neighborhood school thing - almost everyone I've met picked and attends the school closest to them anyway. The schools are all identical as far as the curriculum, programs offered, etc. The only difference is the staff and the buildings themselves of course. For us, we didn't really like the principal of the school closest to us so we chose a different school. So it worked out great for us.

We also still socialize with all the kids in our neighborhood through block parties, trick or treating, etc etc. My point is - if you live in a good neighborhood with a lot of families, it doesn't really matter if some of those kids go to a different school.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:56 PM
JCT
 
10 posts, read 10,336 times
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FWIW, I've spent the past 20 years in Pelham Manor. Both of my kids went through the public school system from Siwanoy (elementary) to Pelham Memorial and we were very happy with their education. As a matter of fact, the current senior class (my son's) had the best college placement year ever. And this is without any sort of cutthroat competition or crazy anxiety.

My husband and I are both college professors, so we can be um, a bit demanding when it comes to education -- we found the teachers to be dedicated and responsive all the way through. Class sizes were always small.

The "neighborhood" school approach worked great for us, we live within a block of the MS/HS and 2 blocks from the elementary and the kids were able to walk to school with their friends from early on.

We ended up in Pelham almost by default, we were choosing our town based on the schools and commute. In the end, we couldn't convince ourselves that the premier school systems further North were worth the extra commuting time and we really liked the location with the kids walking to all of their schools.

We are getting ready to move (job opportunity) but we held off to let my son finish his last 2 years at PMHS because he was so happy there.

No regrets re: our original decision and I think the schools have improved since we moved here.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:00 PM
 
114 posts, read 134,867 times
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JCT...
Thank you for your response. If you don't mind me asking, we saw a house in the Chester Park section of pelham which is zoned for Hutchinson. Do you have any experience with Hutch or have friends that were in that school? Also, I did take the opportunity to visit all three elementary, middle and HS. In your experience, did pelham at all levels, offer the same opportunites to students in terms of music, art programs, electives, extracurricular etc as some of the larger schools? I would like a smaller district, that also offers a wealth of opportunites to their students. I am concerned that by going to a smaller district, I may be giving up some of those opportunites for my children. The other districts we are considering are Mamaroneck, Eastchester and Ardsley. Any candid thoughts good or bad are greatly appreciated. Stats and number only say so much about a school. Thanks so much.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:00 PM
JCT
 
10 posts, read 10,336 times
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I know, Pelham can be a bit complicated.

Perhaps not surprisingly, at the elementary school level, there is some variation among the 4 schools that is somewhat based on the socioeconomics of the 2 towns (Pelham and Pelham Manor). In general, the breakdown is Siwanoy/Colonial, then Prospect and then Hutch. Everyone comes together in middle school that starts with the 6th grade, and I don't think the differences end up meaning much at that point.

From my experience, the extracurriculars at the MS/HS were quite excellent. Both of my kids were very involved in music, sports, theater and Model UN. The music instruction (especially the band) is stellar -- all handled by one guy, Cam Whitford. He's a revelation. My son was in several of the bands from 6th grade through 12th! We joke about how his college recommendation for my son must have stood out because he could say he taught him everyday (sometimes more than once) from when my boy was 11 to nearly 18. My daughter was in Chorus all the way through. The Model UN club travels all over and competes very well. And the sports teams are quite competitive, the boy's Hockey has been competing at the state level for some time.

We really have no regrets at all -- we originally bought "over our heads" to move to Pelham Manor and with the benefit of hindsight, are very glad that we did.

If you want a smaller district, I think Pelham has to be high on the list.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:16 PM
 
114 posts, read 134,867 times
Reputation: 29
Is there anything wrong with Hutch? I have had some people tell me not to buy a house in that zone as the shcool is not good. I never know where people are coming from with their ideas, but I am concerned that perhaps there are issues with that school that I am not aware of. I feel the same that all 4 schools come together at MS, so does it really matter?? Any insight would be helpful.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:23 AM
 
2,504 posts, read 1,816,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post
Just to add that for me, the reason that I would never live in WP is because they have no neighborhood schools. All of the kids are scattered indiscriminately across the district based on their preferences, not location.

Having moved from a city where everyone attended private schools and the neighborhood kids barely knew each other, I was hell-bent on moving to a town with great neighborhood public schools that kids actually went to.

Also, while people may be happy at their elementary schools, as the kids get older they seem to get increasingly more misbehaved in urban districts and the class environment changes. It goes hand in hand with more economic diversity, but it's just not anything that I'm willing to put up with. There are motivated kids in Yonkers and Mt. Vernon, too, but for every parent they have to decide what trade offs are worth it. Not to imply that WP schools are near as bad as those, but my point is that is very personal.
I agree. Take the New Rochelle high school for instance. New Rochelle has only 1 high school for the entire county while you have several elementary and middle schools for the county. At the high school level, you have the wealthy family demographic who own million dollar homes and pay high property taxes who have no choice but to have their kids attend school with kids from the projects from the other side of town who are ghetto. That's why there is racial tension and gang issues in that school. You are co-mingling high class individuals with low class individuals. The idea is to have your kids around other like-mind kids who share things in common. You don't want your kids to pick up bad habits and be exposed to a culture that will degrade your kid's standards.
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