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Old 11-15-2017, 03:48 PM
 
365 posts, read 734,506 times
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Hi, folks. My wife and I are looking to relocate from Long Island. We've previously looked in Delaware and Berks County, but we are looking into the Allentown suburbs and Lehigh Valley. We're planning to make a trip down this weekend to see some properties and get a lay of the land. What neighborhoods, sites, and destinations should we absolutely be sure to see?

Our main concerns are the quality of schools - it seems as if there is a high concentration of good school districts between Parkside, East Penn, Saucon, Lower Lehigh, etc.. That gives us a lot of confidence, as some of the other places we've looked have had good districts surrounded by much less desirable ones.

The second most important thing is access to jobs. I'm in digital marketing, and my wife is a NYC teacher (certified early childhood, art, and K-12). Would we be able to find work within an hour's drive? Where should I concentrate a job search? We know that the teaching landscape in the suburban districts is highly competitive, but are there positions available within the city schools in Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem?


I've filled out the questionnaire as well (very helpful!). Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

When are you moving? Before Spring 2018
Where are you coming from? Long Island, NY
Why are you moving? Looking for a little bit calmer lifestyle
Where will you be working? TBD - see questions above
Have you been here yet? Only passing through and a few trips to Dorney Park

Will you buy or rent? We're looking to purchase.
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? We're looking for a SFH, and our budget will probably be about $375k. Land isn't as important as the quality of the house and neighborhood.

Are you married or single? Do you have children? We are a married couple with three kids (6, 4 and 2)
Do you prefer public or private schools? Public schools!
Do you have pets? Yes, a dog and two cats.
Do you want or need a yard? Yes!
Are you keeping a car? Yes!
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? We would like to be close to basic conveniences (drug stores, supermarkets, some in-town restaurants) and within a reasonable drive (10-15 minutes) of more central shopping (the promenade looks really nice). We'd like to be near action, but not in the action :O) A neighborhood feel with a sense of community would be great.

What do you want to be closest to?
Work: Within an hour for me, within a half hour to a teaching position for my wife
Shopping: See above
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.): See above
Nightlife: Lol, our nightlife currently consists of passing out on the couch after getting the kids to bed. It would be nice for them to have places to go and occupy their time when they are older, though.
Near Bus stop? Please note that there is NO rail service in the Lehigh Valley: Not really important, unless I end up keeping my job in NYC

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? We would prefer a community with lots of families and kids, with activities (sports, recreation, arts) for the young 'uns.

Phillies or Mets? Yankees (don't judge!)

Thank you so much!
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,906 posts, read 1,094,835 times
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Ill start off by saying the Lehigh Valley is a wonderful area, and always one of my most recommended after Southeast PA to live. Bethlehem is very quaint and Allentown is undergoing over $1 Billion in new investment, with lots of new restaurants and nightlife. The quality of life is high and the cost of living is modest, while still being accessible to NYC and Philadelphia.

If I were you, I would post your above inquiry in the Lehigh Valley subforum, you will find far better results than posting in the general Pennsylvania thread.

I will say teaching jobs in suburban districts in Pennsylvania are highly competitive, so I would keep this in mind. Overall though, like NY, PA takes care of teachers and they make really great salary/benefits.

Also if you have not been to Southeast Pennsylvania I highly recommend it. Media, PA sounds like a great fit. You are in the Philadelphia metro, but the Pennsylvania side is very quaint, and feels much smaller than it actually is. Media for example, is in an excellent district, has a vibrant walkable downtown with tons of restaurants and live performance theater. Cost of living is a bit higher than the Lehigh Valley, but you will have more access to jobs in your field and there is always something enriching for families to participate in. Good Luck!
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:20 AM
 
365 posts, read 734,506 times
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Thanks so much for your insight! I originally posted to the Lehigh Valley subforum, but this general board seems more active.

Media sounds really nice, but it looks like you can get a little more for your money up near Allentown. Are there other neighborhoods in Southeast PA that you would recommend?
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:52 AM
 
4,542 posts, read 4,036,219 times
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I commented on another of your threads about the difficulty of finding teaching jobs in PA especially a teacher on the 12th step with a masters degree+. I did not mention another critical factor: getting a PA teaching credential. New York and PA do not have reciprocity wrt teacher credentialing. Your wife would have to make up deficiencies in subjects that the PA Education Department deems necessary to qualify for a new certificate and take the Praxis Exams. It would take several years and is not worth the effort.


New York State maintains reciprocity with all New England states. I would look there if your wife is anxious to teach in a new location.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:18 AM
 
365 posts, read 734,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wells5 View Post
I commented on another of your threads about the difficulty of finding teaching jobs in PA especially a teacher on the 12th step with a masters degree+. I did not mention another critical factor: getting a PA teaching credential. New York and PA do not have reciprocity wrt teacher credentialing. Your wife would have to make up deficiencies in subjects that the PA Education Department deems necessary to qualify for a new certificate and take the Praxis Exams. It would take several years and is not worth the effort.


New York State maintains reciprocity with all New England states. I would look there if your wife is anxious to teach in a new location.
Thanks, Wells. Appreciate your insight. That other post was in regards to Berks County, but we're hopeful that the situation may be different in Lehigh Valley.

From the website, it doesn't appear that the requirements are that stringent (of course, the website could be wrong). My wife plans on contacting the TIMS office shortly.

Holds An Active Valid Certificate with Two Years of Experience
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:06 AM
 
12,921 posts, read 29,858,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByWayofCanarsie View Post
Thanks so much for your insight! I originally posted to the Lehigh Valley subforum, but this general board seems more active.

Media sounds really nice, but it looks like you can get a little more for your money up near Allentown. Are there other neighborhoods in Southeast PA that you would recommend?
The general PA board is more active than this one, but if you are going to ask about the Lehigh Valley, you'll get better answers here since posters that look here are actually familiar with the area.

As to your question, I think you phrased it wrong. The Lehigh Valley is not one city surrounded by neighborhoods. It's three cities surrounded by small towns that have varying amounts of housing developments. Many of our towns were settled hundreds of years ago and have main streets

There are several links in the top sticky that you can use to investigate school districts. I'd say your wife has a very good chance at a job in one of the city schools - Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton but small chance at anyplace else until she gets her PA certification. If you want a large good school district, look at Parkland and East Penn. If you want a good smaller school district look at Southern Lehigh, Saucon Valley maybe Salisbury. I like Salisbury school-wise but not housing wise. Your call.

BTW, The Promenade shops are in my neck of the woods - Southern Lehigh School District. Look for Center Valley, Coopersburg, Upper Saucon, Lower Milford for housing searches.
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Last edited by toobusytoday; 11-17-2017 at 09:27 AM..
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:25 PM
 
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Pretty much any of the suburban school districts are "good", so you are better off looking in the area closer to your job. It's clearly not at the Long Island level of traffic here, but 22 & sometimes 78 get jammed up during rush hour.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:47 AM
 
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I live in Easton. I think your wife will be hard pressed to be hired here. There was a hiring freeze for many years which has left a large number of high experienced, highly paid teachers. New hires seem to be new teachers. I have a friend with less experience than your wife with a Masters as well and she works as a teacher's aid. I think there were three openings for teaching positions in her school and she didn't even get an interview.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:40 AM
 
12,921 posts, read 29,858,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ringler24 View Post
I live in Easton. I think your wife will be hard pressed to be hired here. There was a hiring freeze for many years which has left a large number of high experienced, highly paid teachers. New hires seem to be new teachers. I have a friend with less experience than your wife with a Masters as well and she works as a teacher's aid. I think there were three openings for teaching positions in her school and she didn't even get an interview.
That's a really good point about why many schools would rather have a less experienced teacher - the money. A teacher with three years experience will probably start at $50,000 but an experienced teacher with a masters would be closer to $70,000 and that's not including benefits. Due to union rules a more experienced teacher cannot be hired for less than other similarly experienced current teachers in a district. So even though they may be more desperate for teachers in the city schools, they can only afford the younger ones. Getting hired as a daily sub would not be a problem and a qualified teacher could probably work every day if they wanted to by signing up for the sub service.

I thought though that Easton hired back many of the teachers (or at least filled the positions) of the teachers that were let go a few years ago. I know someone personally that was hired back.

A good stepping stone would be getting a long term sub position for a medical/maternity leave.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:30 PM
 
481 posts, read 352,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
That's a really good point about why many schools would rather have a less experienced teacher - the money. A teacher with three years experience will probably start at $50,000 but an experienced teacher with a masters would be closer to $70,000 and that's not including benefits. Due to union rules a more experienced teacher cannot be hired for less than other similarly experienced current teachers in a district. So even though they may be more desperate for teachers in the city schools, they can only afford the younger ones. Getting hired as a daily sub would not be a problem and a qualified teacher could probably work every day if they wanted to by signing up for the sub service.

I thought though that Easton hired back many of the teachers (or at least filled the positions) of the teachers that were let go a few years ago. I know someone personally that was hired back.

A good stepping stone would be getting a long term sub position for a medical/maternity leave.
Yes they did and there have been vacancies since then that have been filled by newer teachers.
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