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Old 08-20-2014, 12:12 PM
 
871 posts, read 864,670 times
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It is true that you need to be more vigilant about city schools than you need to be in some suburbs. There are both good and bad. Aside from finding which are the good schools, dig to see what you would need to do and what odds you would have of getting your kids into them.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:24 PM
 
172 posts, read 137,356 times
Reputation: 261
This has been brought up before, and probably more cogently than I will but I'll bring it up again:

MN Dept. of Education makes it incredibly easy to FAIRLY compare schools. Some of this data has filtered down to Great Schools as well--you have to click on the big number label to delve further into the rating. When you look at school data by race you will find that it's much harder to say which is a "good" school or "bad" school. The achievement gap in MN is huge and white kids in St. Paul are doing significantly better on their MCA's than white kids statewide. So before you label any school as "bad" try to be sure you're not just taking a measure of how white the school is.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:58 PM
 
136 posts, read 292,258 times
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Hi, there,
You've received some wonderful feedback. I just want to applaud you for being open to K-8 parochial schools but wanting to always have great public schools available, as well. We were charmed, charmed, charmed by the Mac-Groveland neighborhood in St. Paul and have lived here for many years. It's like Mayberry - small-town charm, completely walkable, lovely houses, and such a wonderful place to live! I can (and have, on this forum) go on and on about how great this area is. Our kids attend one of the 5 K-8 schools that are within a stones throw of us. We absolutely love living in this neighborhood, LOVE our K-8 school, but high school is looming and we aren't sure we can financially commit to Catholic high school (Cretin-Derham Hall is an easy walk from our house) for 4 kids, and our children won't be attending Central. So now we are looking at moving to an excellent school district - uprooting our life and leaving this amazing community is not a fun prospect. So my advice is, if you are looking in one of the city neighborhoods of Mpls or St. Paul, and since you are looking at and aware of school rankings, make sure that you can afford Catholic or private high school, as well. We planned on it/thought/hoped we could do it, but now we really wish that we would have taken a longer/broader view and considered public schools in our choice of neighborhood.

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:20 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,841,706 times
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Good points about St. Paul; there are definitely neighborhoods there that might be the perfect fit. As far as the St. Paul high schools, while I don't have personal experience with that district, I believe it's similar to what you find in many Minneapolis schools (and probably some of the suburban schools) -- you really have schools within a school, and the overall statistics may well have zero relevance on the educational opportunities or experiences for your own child. I know in Minneapolis this can be found at South, which has a fantastic reputation within Minneapolis -- at least for those parents with kids who fit the academically-inclined, college-bound profiled -- despite overall numbers that on paper don't reflect the true possibilities of the school. St. Paul has some high schools with good reputations and solid IB programs, and figuring out whether or not they work for you requires some legwork beyond looking at overall numbers.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 609,487 times
Reputation: 1411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Family of five View Post
Hi, there,
You've received some wonderful feedback. I just want to applaud you for being open to K-8 parochial schools but wanting to always have great public schools available, as well. We were charmed, charmed, charmed by the Mac-Groveland neighborhood in St. Paul and have lived here for many years. It's like Mayberry - small-town charm, completely walkable, lovely houses, and such a wonderful place to live! I can (and have, on this forum) go on and on about how great this area is. Our kids attend one of the 5 K-8 schools that are within a stones throw of us. We absolutely love living in this neighborhood, LOVE our K-8 school, but high school is looming and we aren't sure we can financially commit to Catholic high school (Cretin-Derham Hall is an easy walk from our house) for 4 kids, and our children won't be attending Central. So now we are looking at moving to an excellent school district - uprooting our life and leaving this amazing community is not a fun prospect. So my advice is, if you are looking in one of the city neighborhoods of Mpls or St. Paul, and since you are looking at and aware of school rankings, make sure that you can afford Catholic or private high school, as well. We planned on it/thought/hoped we could do it, but now we really wish that we would have taken a longer/broader view and considered public schools in our choice of neighborhood.

Good luck!
This is exactly what I want to try and avoid. Mac-Groveland sounds wonderful. On the other hand, sending one or two kids to private high schools would be pretty daunting. Four would be pretty ridiculous. That's a pretty tough dilemma you're facing.

I'm really glad you shared your story. I think a page or two back I said something about how I shouldn't worry about high schools when moving with a toddler. However, if you settle in to somewhere you really like, a decade or so can go by pretty quick. I think we're one and done in the kid department so it wouldn't be as cost prohibitive to look at private schools.

In any case, it seems like it would be downright foolish to look at Minneapolis and ignore St. Paul. A few days ago I was being seduced on Zillow by bigger homes in the depths of suburbia. Today, I'm thinking its gotta be Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Hopkins or maybe Stillwater. I probably walked 5 or 6 miles today running errands, going to the gym and grabbing lunch on foot between appointments. I think the poster that said I would be miserable in the western burbs is probably right.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
125 posts, read 218,744 times
Reputation: 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
48th and Chicago, St. Paul and Minnetonka are all on the list to get a close look.

While they're not perfect indicators, I'm basing my opinion about St Paul schools on MCA scores and Greatschools ratings. In all of the areas I looked at one or more of the schools looked pretty bad based on that data. Because those numbers probably don't tell the whole story, I'd be interested to hear from people that have direct experience with St. Paul Public Schools.
I grew up in Minnetonka around Minnetonka Boulevard and Highway 101, if you could give your daughter the experience of growing up there, she would love you for it in the future.

The schools are very good and the landscape there is something to be homesick for, very beautiful trees, marshes, lakes, the creek, cross country skiing on the golf courses, trails, of course when I was a kid in the sixties there were horses everywhere but those days are long gone.

I'd stay out of South Minneapolis altogether, I lived 20 years of my adult life there and when I left I never looked back. You don't know which way things will go. Some posters are trying to say there's hardly any crime in South Minneapolis but it just isn't true and it could get much worse, like it was back in the early nineties, you don't have any control over it. A lot of people live an insulated existence, they don't walk everywhere and take public transportation, they drive past a lot of things and never know they are there. There is stuff going on 24 hours a day that you never hear about. I'd give it a miss if I were you. I was stuck there because I don't drive. There are a lot of nicer places.

St. Louis park around Excelsior Boulevard is extremely convenient.

Minnetonka is very, very nice, has an interesting history, I am very attached to the landscape, wildflowers, pheasants, trees, marshes, red winged blackbirds, leopard frogs, snapping turtles, snow, ice, water, storms, sugar maples, burr oaks, American elms, lindens (basswoods), ironwoods, blue jays, cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, pileated woodpeckers, raccoons, skunks, deer, chipmunks, deer mice, bats, dragonflies, not so much the deer flies and mosquitoes though :-)
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:36 AM
 
Location: MN
3,463 posts, read 3,208,520 times
Reputation: 2711
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
This is exactly what I want to try and avoid. Mac-Groveland sounds wonderful. On the other hand, sending one or two kids to private high schools would be pretty daunting. Four would be pretty ridiculous. That's a pretty tough dilemma you're facing.

I'm really glad you shared your story. I think a page or two back I said something about how I shouldn't worry about high schools when moving with a toddler. However, if you settle in to somewhere you really like, a decade or so can go by pretty quick. I think we're one and done in the kid department so it wouldn't be as cost prohibitive to look at private schools.

In any case, it seems like it would be downright foolish to look at Minneapolis and ignore St. Paul. A few days ago I was being seduced on Zillow by bigger homes in the depths of suburbia. Today, I'm thinking its gotta be Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Hopkins or maybe Stillwater. I probably walked 5 or 6 miles today running errands, going to the gym and grabbing lunch on foot between appointments. I think the poster that said I would be miserable in the western burbs is probably right.
Zillow is great, but if you want an up to date map searching website locally that's much better. I can't advertise it it directly, but realty is in the name, along with Edina and Berkshire Hathaway recently purchased it or a part of it.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 609,487 times
Reputation: 1411
As we get closer to our move out date (we're closing on the sale of our house on 9/30) I'm getting more and more uneasy about showing up without a place to live. My wife really wants to have a place lined up and is pretty open minded as to where. I am now considering taking a place sight unseen and have at least tentatively narrowed down to a few areas:

-Townhouses near Maple Grove's new main street. This seems like the safest bet. I will find out next week if they have a unit available when we need it.

-Edina Towers

-Townhouse near Hopkins Center

-Apartment in Wayzata

-One of several Apartments in St. Paul in Highland along 7th near the river. There are several complexes here, many newer. I sort of trust the internet when it comes to pictures and review, but I trust the c-d forums to tell me a little about the neighborhood. Are most of these apartments nice? Who generally lives there? Students? The elderly? Are there any complexes to avoid?

As always input on these specific questions and options as well as suggestions of anything I may have missed would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by MidwestRedux; 08-23-2014 at 08:38 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:22 PM
 
95 posts, read 100,027 times
Reputation: 169
I'd caution against Hopkins generally, but you might find the intersection of Highway 7 and Hopkins Crossroad to be a good spot. You will like that 7 gets you to Lake Calhoun in short order, and heading the other way gets you to Excelsior (nice Lake Minnetonka village).

I think Wayzata would be awesome if you can pull it off. Was out there for dinner on Friday. It is upscale New England, relocated to the Upper Midwest.

I'd also suggest the townhouses in Golden Valley near where Hwy 55 meets Winnetka Ave.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
330 posts, read 400,351 times
Reputation: 411
I second Wayzata as it will remind you of New England. I didn't mention it in my initial posts because it is very expensive but a fantastic community.

Another town with a New England flair that has a walkable downtown and is right on Lake Minnetonka (on the opposite side of Wayzata) is Excelsior. Definitely worth considering.

I am also not a huge fan of Hopkins. The downtown is cute and walkable but the housing stock is older and not as nice as other communities IMO.

I'm glad you're checking out Maple Grove.

As far as St. Paul, the town homes along Shepard Road are right on the Mississippi River and in a great location as you can easily walk to downtown. It's quiet despite being on the outskirts of the central city and the parks around that area might make it more accepting to your wife even though it's technically in an urban area. You'll find a mix of people living there from urban millennials to empty nesters.
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