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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:06 PM
3 posts, read 12,219 times
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This is my first time posting and reading other threads I see there are some helpful and knowledgeable people out there so I am hoping to get some help from some of you!

My husband has just got a job in the Carlisle, PA area and our family will be moving there mid-October for a year. We have to take a trip to find schools and housing in the next couple of weeks, so I'd like to be prepared before heading out there and need to narrow down some options.

We have a first grader and a 3 (almost 4) year old so first priority is to find great schools for them (public or private - but independent/non-sectarian if private). We would also like to be close (i.e. 5-10 min drive max.) to shopping, restaurants, parks, after school activities like soccer, gymnastics etc. Nowhere too remote - if we could walk that would be preferable. And safe, family friendly neighborhoods would obviously be ideal. We will be renting since we will only be there for a year and have a budget of about $1300-$1500 for a 2 bedroom apartment. My husband would be fine with a drive of approx. 30 mins to work (in Carlisle).

I hope to get some suggestions / advice in repsonse to the following questions, or any general recommendations or information would also be great. Thanks in advance! ......

- I have read other people recommending Cumberland Valley School District schools, Camp Hill school (i.e. Hoover elementary?), Carlisle schools and Mechanicsburg schools, are there specific elementary schools in these areas that stand out? Again, we will only be there for first grade so middle school and high school won't matter. I have researched test scores and online reviews but those are not always reliable or the best indicators so any personal information would be greatly appreciated.

- How about private schools, are there any that are that much better than the public schools academically?

- My 3 year old currently goes to a Montessori preschool 3 days a week so looking for something similar or equivalent for him, any recommendations? (or any to avoid?!). This could be 20-30 min drive from the elementary school / area we end up living in.

- Anybody able to recommend any nice, clean, safe apartment complexes that fit some of the criteria mentioned? I assume we would need to be living in the district boundaries of the preferred school so that is a factor for us too. (Or if I am mistaken on this, what are the requirements to register for schools in these areas?).

- Any specific recommendations for boys U7 soccer teams in the area?

- Are there any areas that stand out as being a fit that our internet research has missed? Feel free to suggest others.

- Anything else anyone thinks we should know or take into account? Anything we should check out on our home-finding trip?

Anyway I have made this long enough so will stop there with the qurestions, thanks for reading!!!

Any feedback and answers we get will help for sure to just plan our 3-4 day trip out there and maximize our time to make the right school and housing choices so thank you in advance to anyone who responds.....
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:56 AM
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In CV, you'll hear occasional people say that various elementaries are better, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus. However, Monroe and Middlesex are much smaller than the other 5 and I believe specials teachers rotate through them. (Hampden is the biggest; Silver Spring has seen a large increase in enrollment.) Middlesex enrollment may rise in coming years as more houses are built there; Monroe is really quite out of the way, so unless you're looking at buying acreage, you're unlikely to be looking at it. There was even a proposal to close Monroe, but it would have resulted in unacceptable travel times, so they rejigged boundaries instead. There are now some homes in Silver Spring Twp that are zoned there, IIRC.

Generally, CV and Camp Hill are rated above Mechanicsburg and Carlisle and this is reflected in prices. CV and Camp Hill are very different districts size-wise--CV High School is huge, Camp Hill quite small. IIRC there is no busing in Camp Hill because all students are judged to be close enough to walk. Finding a home in Camp Hill borough can be tricky; many places with a 17011 ZIP are in other districts.
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:48 PM
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Thank you for all of this, very useful. I am glad you mentioned the zip code issue for Camp Hill as I have since discovered Hoover Elementary is not the districted school for the homes we were looking at
Thanks again
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:42 AM
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You can turn on school district boundaries in Google Earth (not elementary school boundaries within a district, but the boundaries between CV and Camp Hill, Camp Hill and East Pennsboro, etc.). In PA they almost always follow municipal boundaries that show on paper maps too. (e.g. Hampden Twp is CV, Camp Hill Borough is Camp Hill, Lower Allen Twp is West Shore SD). This page shows outline maps of these geographic relationships (scroll down and to right): Cumberland County, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:27 PM
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Thanks again. We are going out to visit this Wednesday so hope things become even clearer then. I doubt we will be able to send our son to Hoover Elementary school (Camp Hill) as I have found very little rental accommodations in that district. Pretty much down to CV district, Mechanicsburg and Carlisle now. I think Hampden Township seems similar to where we live now so will take a good look there, and Hampden Elementary gets good ratings. The really rural places will be too much of a culture shock to us all I think as much as they look pretty and the schools are good. Google earth has been very helpful, thanks! Still looking and looking and looking......Anyone know of any soccer clubs that offer semi-competitive soccer for 6/7 year old's that they would recommend? And any specific preschools for 3/4 year old in the area that are independent?
Thanks again
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:20 AM
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Default Resource for school comparisons

GreatSchools.org (GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community) is a resource that helps you compare different schools and districts. I don't think you can see schools side-by-side across districts, but you can easily compare schools within the same district.

When we were moving to the area, I found that Carlisle schools were not as strong as Cumberland Valley schools. I'm not sure about Camp Hill and Mechanicsburg; we settled on the East Shore instead.

I hope everything works out with your move.

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