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Old 09-05-2013, 12:57 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,491 times
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Hi,

I'm looking for a home near the Croton-Harmon metro north station and keep coming across beautiful houses in Ossining. I'm always tempted by them but then dismiss them due to the very low school scores. Am I missing something? Are the schools really so bad?

Thanks,

Leah
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:52 AM
 
7 posts, read 28,181 times
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Default Yes, you are missing something

I have kids in Ossining schools and I can tell you it is a great town with GREAT schools. Because it is (relatively) affordable (for Westchester County), it attracts an immigrant community and many come to the schools without much English. Thus the average scores may not look stellar as a good number of kids start with an additional challenge. But if you go to the school District website (Ossiningufsd.org) you can find their data dashboard that shows some enlightening detail.

The site also has plenty of videos of teachers and students and you can get a sense of the culture, which takes pride in its diversity and leverages that as a strength. One of the most sought after programs in the lower grades is the dual language program, where young kids are taught in both Spanish and English and get a huge head start on becoming bilingual.

Any student who applies him/her self can get a great education and go on to be accepted at top schools. Last year (just like every year) they sent kids to MIT, Harvard, Georgetown and many, many other leading universities.

Last year the School was also awarded the Intel Corporation's Star Innovator award for science education, the top award in a national competition where it was competing with many highly funded private schools. It consistently has students ranking as finalists in this competition, year after year.

The town recently voted in a bond referendum to, among other things, add a second floor to the HS science wing, showing even more commitment to the program.

It offers a rich selection of AP courses, alternative education programs, and clubs and activities. It has a very high level of "scholar athlete" teams, meaning the teams' collective GPA is above (I think) 90%. Athletics are offered (the Girls Basketball team won the State championship last year) but academics come first.

When we moved to town, we thought like you did. We intended to stay here until middle school and then move on to a higher ranked but less affordable town. Now I would not consider leaving in search of a better school.
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:55 AM
 
7 posts, read 28,181 times
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Oh, one note: the dual language program is not an English as a Second Language class (though they have those as well). The Dual Language classes are made up of half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers. It is the class many, many people seek out for their children and always has more applicants than they can accomodate.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:56 PM
 
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I agree. When we bought our starter home a few years ago we thought we'd worry about schools when we got to that bridge. When it came time to upsize, we decided to stay in the district. I met so many local families who were very happy with the schools and now that we've been in 3 years, I can say I'm very happy as well. We definitely have a large immigrant population which probably affects the test score since they are testing in a second language, but my husband likely did the same when he came here at age 6 and he went on to the Ivy League and a great job. It's not all about test scores and ratings.

The schools also had a history of a large achievement gap for the minority students, but they started some innovative programs and have seen great success in narrowing the gap. Here's a great article:
Once racially troubled, a district shrinks the achievement gap | Hechinger Report

We also love the community pride that is here, there is a great library, great farmers market, parks, etc. I will be honest and say there are some less than ideal parts of town, but its only a few streets and you can easily tell as soon as you get in the area (and a decent realtor wouldn't show you a house in that area).
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