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Old 10-15-2007, 03:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 15,635 times
Reputation: 10

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I've been to greatschools.com and done a bit of research, however judging a school on the pure basis of test scores doesn't mean a whole lot.. I of course read the few parent and student reviews that were posted on the schools that I've already checked into. However there are not enough reviews posted to really help in judging a school as good or bad.

So... Can anyone tell me of some good schools to look into and why, as well as school systems to avoid?

Keep in mind I do have a mentally disabled child with a lot of behavior problems, as well as a couple of other disabilities mixed in. A good school is the most important thing to us, so I'm hoping to gather some information on good districts and then look at houses from there.

Thanks for all your input and help in advance!
Bright Blessings.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:43 PM
 
104 posts, read 470,748 times
Reputation: 40
Default Good Schools

Hello
Duxbury has a great school system and esp for Special needs... It think their program is one of the best in the state. I have friends who moved to Tampa and are in a great school system but do not have the attention to the SPecial needs that they got here.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:16 PM
 
8 posts, read 29,288 times
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Default Sudbury schools are excellent.

I posted this for a family moving here with the same questions as you. So I copied it for you. I highly recommend Sudbury. It has one of the top school systems in the state.My children are going to school here and we have been very happy with the system. I lived in other towns, so I have something to compare it to. If your child has special needs they'll find a way to meet your needs even if it means paying for her to go to private schools. We have friends with a child with special needs and the child was tested and placed in a private school that is suitable at no additional cost to the family. It is a beautiful town 20 miles west of Boston. 45 minutes in traffic. The houses are a little higher priced, but there is a good mix of price ranges and generally, you get a lot of value for your money, especially if you have kids. 51% of households have kids under 18. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of the town, people move here because of the schools. ALL school initiatives pass in town elections. Very important when making your decision about where to live. I lived in a town where nothing for schools ever passed and the kids suffered. By the time the kids got to the HS level, very few were left. Education is very important to the population here. There are also lots of extracurricular activities for kids. Check it out, there's a lot to like. Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:25 AM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 2,062,019 times
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Anywhere in Mass. the schools will have consistent, uniform academic standards set by the DOE. Even some of the big city school systems (Boston, Cambridge, Springfield) have some great innovative programs and opportunities, if your kid can negotiate them socially.

Stay away from the Franklin County schools, especially Greenfield, Orange (Mahar), and Franklin County (vocational) Tech...low academic standards, bullying, rural poverty and many social service needs.

I agree with what's said above about Sudbury & Duxbury, if you can afford a house there. Also, Amherst has great schools in western Mass.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,810 posts, read 10,155,985 times
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I agree with previous posters... because you are looking for special needs... there are more towns than the two mentioned.

On paper... every town will be required to give you an IEP... but sometimes you may not get the service due to lack of funding. You want to find a town that feels supporting special ed is important as it can cost the town $10-30K a year.

2 metrics to look at... look especially at a trend instead for 1-2 years...

1. Community support for education... ie override...
2. Special education funding...

Last of all.. know your rights...know what your child need... join a SPED group...

Special Education - Massachusetts Department of Education
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod
1,038 posts, read 3,804,499 times
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I don't like to add to your anxiety but you also have to beware of those school systems that are overloaded and overwhelmed by SPED simply because they have good programs. They become a magnet for that very reason and have a difficult time maintaining that level of services at a certain point.
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:37 PM
 
130 posts, read 809,481 times
Reputation: 34
Hi-

I used to be a paralegal working in the Montgomery Co (MD) "due process" unit for the whole IEP thing... had to help defend the schools when parents would sue b/c they thought their kids weren't getting what they needed...

About 25% were cases of "gee, little Janie needs theraputic horseback, why aren't you paying for this?"

But the overwhelming majority were kids who really were getting the short end of the stick. One case that sticks in my mind was a kindgergartener who was still working on potty training, among other issues. They put him on a school bus that was 2 hours EACH WAY to school!!! I wouldn't do that to a "normal" kid, let alone one with needs...

My point is, you can be in one of the so-called "best" school systems in the country, but you will still need to keep your eye on the ball and be a strong advocate for your child no matter where you are. Kind of a no-brainer piece of advice, but you'd be surprised.

Also, I don't live up there yet, but Forbes Magazine rated school systems across the US and for the Boston area, Norfolk County made the list... I think they were 7th in the country. That includes I think Cohasset and Brookline, so that would explain the good funding they get, but also includes the town of Franklin, which is supposed to be more reasonable, and near a train, etc.

Good luck to you!
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:53 PM
 
4 posts, read 12,710 times
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Avoid Dedham!
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:52 AM
 
1,999 posts, read 4,930,759 times
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Definitely narrow down your search and then speak to Special Ed teachers and parents of students in that area. One person's "great" school experience can be another's nightmare.

Too often I see students with multiple different disabilities lumped into one class. The individual needs are not met and often times it comes at the expense of a child meeting his or her potentional. Especially at a time when budgets are being slashed in the state of MA, you child will need a very specific, well written IEP to get the services your child needs and deserves. An advocate is not a bad idea.

Good luck with your search. Happy New Year.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:33 AM
 
46 posts, read 132,355 times
Reputation: 44
"Anywhere in Mass. the schools will have consistent, uniform academic standards set by the DOE. Even some of the big city school systems (Boston, Cambridge, Springfield) have some great innovative programs and opportunities, if your kid can negotiate them socially."

Maybe Boston or Cambridge, but NOT Springfield. Stay away from Springfield at all costs! 3 of my kids attend Springfield public schools, and I regularly have to re-teach them things that their teachers have taught them incorrectly. The towns surrounding Springfield (Ludlow, Longmeadow, E. Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Agawam) are excellent, but not Springfield proper. STAY AWAY FROM SPRINGFIELD!!
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