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Old 04-27-2016, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 9,210,427 times
Reputation: 4328

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Sorry if this is not a novel idea for a thread, but I wanted to reference the latest data/trends for best schools in the metro.area. Aside from anecdotal advice (which is also appreciated) what data can someone point me to in order to make the best schools decision for our kids?

A little background on us: we're returning to the Twin Cities after 5 years of living in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, which is an interesting streetcar suburb with racial and socioeconomic diversity and supposedly excellent school options. Ideally we would want something similar in MSP in almost every way:

Inner-ring walkable neighborhood (city or suburb is fine)
Diverse (racially, socioeconomically, culturally, etc.)
Safe
Good architecture/"bones" in housing
Family friendly (not really an issue in MN)
Accessible (to the airport, freeways, downtown/uptown, city parks/lakes, retail, jobs)


I'd be working in Eden Prairie and she in Bloomington (for now). I had my eye on St. Louis Park and SW Mpls, but am open to more options/opinions. We have to rent for at least a year, but want to buy soon too. Our current rent is $1200, but we realize that's unlikely in MSP and may be able to go as high as $1600/$1800, if necessary, for a 3+ bedroom, 2+ bathroom home. We have two kids, ages 6 and almost 3.

Thanks!

Last edited by Min-Chi-Cbus; 04-27-2016 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:03 PM
 
878 posts, read 1,037,539 times
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Congrats on move back. I'm a total data/stats nerd but when it comes to schools around here, you almost can't go wrong. Whether it's borne out statistically or not, I couldn't tell you, but the 'top tier' of school systems (at least perceptually) are considered to be Edina, Wayzata and Minnetonka. Minnetonka is the only US and News Report "Silver" high school in the state, and those three school systems are often on the 'best school' lists that I've seen posted here and elsewhere.

But again, the reality is that your kids will likely thrive in any school system in or around MSP, with very few exceptions. West Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Chanhassen are other areas with almost universally well regarded school systems-- Hopkins and St Louis Park are perceived to be (maybe) a half notch down but I know plenty of very well educated and involved parents with kids in those systems who are thriving-- and again, I have no idea what the data says, but I would have zero hesitation about putting my kids in any of the systems in and around where you'll each be working.

PS One area that you might not have considered for housing (based on cost) is Edina-- depending on income (I believe that you'd have to be under $100K with a family of 4); you might qualify for their down payment assistance program (comehome2edina.org) and that might make Edina (almost) as affordable as some other suburbs.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 9,210,427 times
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As a side note I went to a few districts in the cities, including Edina, and although Edina is definitely one of the top state school systems I find that it lacks in diversity (in every way), and that's a huge turnoff for us. It's certainly worth reconsidering however. Our income is over $100k, so we wouldn't qualify for that program.

I'm surprised that, despite the state's recognition and reputation as one of the tops in education, that its schools fall short on some of the national rankings. Maybe we just have a higher floor, as opposed to a higher ceiling?
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 9,210,427 times
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Can anyone tell me what makes certain schools/districts stand out, and why? My wife knows much more about this than I do but I'm curious if there's a local "twist" that she maybe doesn't know about.
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:35 PM
 
291 posts, read 233,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Min-Chi-Cbus View Post
I'm surprised that, despite the state's recognition and reputation as one of the tops in education, that its schools fall short on some of the national rankings. Maybe we just have a higher floor, as opposed to a higher ceiling?
There aren't very many Asians in Minnesota.
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:04 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,024,260 times
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Hopkins! Just finished writing a comment about it on another thread. I'm happiest in the city, but if I had to move to any local suburb it would be Hopkins by a landslide. Old-school streetcar suburb with a walkable downtown, family-friendly. Convenient for your job, and home to future LRT.

On the school question, honestly, I wouldn't be too concerned about numbers. More important are the specific schools.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Carver County, MN
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I second Hopkins. It has changed for the better in the past 5 to 10 years and continues to do so.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 9,210,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Hopkins! Just finished writing a comment about it on another thread. I'm happiest in the city, but if I had to move to any local suburb it would be Hopkins by a landslide. Old-school streetcar suburb with a walkable downtown, family-friendly. Convenient for your job, and home to future LRT.

On the school question, honestly, I wouldn't be too concerned about numbers. More important are the specific schools.
There are no solidly-rated elementary schools in Hopkins though, and even if I was willing to take the plunge on a question-mark school, my wife certainly isn't. Basically, schools are dominating our research right now, based on the ratings they're given by different agencies (esp. when the ratings are similar). So far Linden Hills and Edina are leading the way, but I'd love to include SLP, Hopkins, or other areas in Minneapolis in the Kenny, Burrows or Hale/Field elementary school districts (for Burrows there aren't any homes we can find to rent, and Kenny has varying reviews). I have no idea how to objectively compare one school vs. another.

Does anyone have any first-hand info about the Kenny/Anthony district? I grew up there but never went to school there, and this was 30 years ago.

Last edited by Min-Chi-Cbus; 04-29-2016 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:01 AM
 
264 posts, read 265,276 times
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Min-Chi-Cbus, could you please clarify - are you looking for racial and ethnic diversity, or economic diversity in your neighborhood and schools (I realize these are somewhat correlated.) Would a school with a high(er) percentage of children from South and East Asian families (typically immigrant) qualify?
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:31 AM
 
1,473 posts, read 1,498,746 times
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If not Hopkins then St Louis Park maybe.

As far as in city, that's a tough one because the good schools lack diversity and/or have very expensive housing. I would say that there is no bad school district in the Minneapolis metro. There is schools with greater disparities which can bring ratings down. If you are looking at it from a real estate perspective then obviously that's different and ratings are what matter in the end.
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