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Old 12-10-2009, 09:36 PM
 
61 posts, read 301,144 times
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Hi,

We are thinking of purchasing a home in Redwood City and need to know more about the schools. The area we are looking at our kids would attend Selby Lane School in Atherton. (home is South of Woodside Rd and West of El Camino) According to greatschools.net rating it's not a great school, although parents seem to like it. So, my questions are:

1. Does anyone have opinions specifically about this school?
2. How easy is it to do an inter-district transfer?
3. Are there any schools in the district that you'd recommend (a magnet school maybe)?

We are moving from the San Mateo area and know we like the part of Redwood City we are looking at, but the schools are really scaring us. Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:06 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 29,159,353 times
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Not only is the school pretty ****-poor, but I don't think the area is as good as you think it is, either. For good schools in RWC you want to be north of Jefferson and/or west of Alameda.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:23 AM
 
61 posts, read 301,144 times
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Thanks for your response sonarrat!

I actually called some friends who live in Redwood City and basically concluded that we need to stay away from the areas with bad schools. I just have to wonder if everyone in the area sends their kids to private schools or something. I think we'll be sticking to the hills of Redwood City, San Carlos, and San Mateo for our home search.

On an unrelated subject, what's your opinion about what home prices are likely to do in the area over the next few months? We keep reading that banks are going to start releasing a huge inventory of bank-owned homes starting in 2010. Can anyone substantiate that rumor?
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:54 PM
 
35 posts, read 158,939 times
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With the exception of a couple of the San Mateo schools in the extremely high priced areas, the schools do not look very good to me. If you look at their api scores, ranking by greatschools.com, and parent comments, they look subpar, especially when considering the price you have to pay to live there. Something I have personally found very frustrating! If someone with direct experience with the schools (another parent) has a different experience, it would be interesting to hear.

In Redwood City, the only elementary schools that looks good to me are Roy Cloud, and Orion alternative school (which has a long waiting list, and required tons of parent hours). I have had a real estate agent tell me that Clifford is very desireable, but from what I can see, it doesn't look great at all. North Star academy looks great, but I don't think it starts at Kinder, and it sounds like it may be hard to get ones child into. Also, the middle school level doesn't look great. Roy Cloud, however, goes to 8th grade.

The school issue is unfortunate in Redwood City, and I would be interested to know more why this is the case. I know there are a lot of English Language Learners in the schools which impacts scores, but I still think it doesn't make total sense. It is too bad, because Redwood City is in such a great location, and some of the neighborhoods are beautiful.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,957 posts, read 22,315,772 times
Reputation: 6471
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristinichka View Post
Thanks for your response sonarrat!

I actually called some friends who live in Redwood City and basically concluded that we need to stay away from the areas with bad schools. I just have to wonder if everyone in the area sends their kids to private schools or something. I think we'll be sticking to the hills of Redwood City, San Carlos, and San Mateo for our home search.

On an unrelated subject, what's your opinion about what home prices are likely to do in the area over the next few months? We keep reading that banks are going to start releasing a huge inventory of bank-owned homes starting in 2010. Can anyone substantiate that rumor?
There are those that are predicting this occurrence on a national level, but I'd speak with a local RWC real estate agent about what's going on in that market. Personally, I think it's a bunch of hooey. Here's a map showing areas by zip code that have mortgage issues. http://www2.newyorkfed.org/mortgagemaps/ Edit: The page doesn't seem to be loading at the moment, I hope the link is still good.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:24 PM
 
61 posts, read 301,144 times
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Leapfelt-Thanks for your response. We have thoroughly researched schools in San Mateo since we currently live here and know a lot of people here, so I'm not too worried about this area. Also, we are limiting our search to the West of El Camino, so I don't think we will have school problems if we end up buying here in SM. That being said, I still can't understand why most schools in RWC are completely subpar. There are quite a few nicer areas that still have rotten schools. I remember talking to a woman at the park down there recently and she told me that pretty much all her neighbors send their kids to private school. If all those private school kids went to their local public schools, then those schools would probably perform significantly better, don't you think?? Sorry, enough on that for now. (o:

DMenscha-We are already working with an agent that we trust and who has been very patient with our indecisions as first-time buyers. I've actually worked in the RE industry in the past and certainly haven't ever met an agent that is willing to admit that prices could ever possibly fall in this area. Agents bank on you buying NOW and not in the future. So, if you ever meet a local agent who is willing to talk "future" bay area real estate market after all foreclosures hit and interest rates go up, then send me their contact info. (o: (I should also add that I think there will be less problems with foreclosures and short sales in this area due to the huge amount of money floating around. Besides larger than average incomes, everyone I know has their Mom and Dad willing to give them $100,000+ to buy a house. But don't get me started on that, it's a tangent for another day) In the meantime, the present time is thankfully and finally working for us to be house hunting.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,957 posts, read 22,315,772 times
Reputation: 6471
They moved the link and renamed it. US Credit Conditions - Federal Reserve Bank of New York

One can click through the interactive map and see how each county rates. As for banks holding on to REO property, (which I think some conspiracy theorists love to banter about) the accounting standards that they have to adhere to makes them put ANY non performing loan (more than 90 days delinquent) on the liability side of their balance sheet which seriously degrades their capital position. Believe me that they try very hard to get rid of those liabilities as quickly as possible.

I don't know anything about the RWC housing market, but we've had quite a few clients that we've been talking to for over a year that are now getting pretty serious about making offers. Here in the country, we may take a little more long term view of the real estate business because our clients end up being our neighbors and we see them in town a lot.

Good luck in your quest!
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:36 AM
 
4 posts, read 26,413 times
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Knowing teachers in rcsd--the honest ones would never recommend most of those schools! Serious problems at Kennedy the district ignors as well as other schools. Complete change of leadership would be a start but would force district To admit its failure rather than blame
teachers and aides. Any remnants fro
prior fired? Admin still there and need to be moved out for any substantial chg to happen.
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:04 PM
 
4 posts, read 31,504 times
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Here is our experience, which may have some useful info for you. We have lived in Redwood city (RC) since before our daughter was born. She has gone to schools in RC and 2 nearby towns -- public schools since 1st grade. She is now in HS in RC.

Preschool to K: From age 3, she went to University Heights Montessori Children's Center (UHMCC), a private school in Menlo Park -- fantastic education, emphasizes building a lifelong love of learning and independent discovery skills.

Grades 1-8: We tried our neighborhood RC school, Roosevelt Elementary, in 1st grade. It has good teachers, doing great job teaching their high proportion of ESL students; but since our daughter is not ESL, she learned little there after UHMCC. The following year, we applied for inter-district transfer to Heather School in San Carlos (K-4); was not hard to get it approved. Good teachers there, small, nurturing environment, good music program, chess club, math club, etc. Our close friends sent 2 of their kids to another small San Carlos school, Charter, which emphasizes matching school to the learning style of each student. Their child who was previously struggling blossomed there and is now college bound.

After Heather, our daughter applied and got into RC's "gifted and talented education" public school, North Star Academy (NSA, 3-8 grade). Discovered she was lucky to get in for 5th grade; it is easiest in 3rd & 4th grades. Later grade must wait for vacancies. Admission depends on test scores (must be in at least 90th percentile) as well as teacher recommendations and a student essay. NSA ranks as one of top schools in California; ethnically diverse, high academic achievement, plus they have great music and drama programs and sports teams. Our daughter made life-long friends there. Other good RC schools: our daughter's friends who went to other RC schools before NSA had good experiences at Roy Cloud, Clifford, Orien, and Adelante (a Spanish immersion school).

High School: There are several good choices in Sequoia Union HS District (which covers RC, San Carlos, Woodside, Belmont, Atherton, Menlo Park). The district has been ranking in the top 15th percentile statewide. Unlike grade schools, small differences among these high schools in overall API averages are less important, because all of them have "differentiated education" (assigning the student's classes by ability). Each school has some specific strengths that may be important to different kids. Popularity of each school has shifted over the years. The current favorites appear to be Sequoia HS, Menlo-Atherton HS, and Carlmont HS. Also, there are two smaller charter high schools in RC (Summit and Everest) that emphasize a more intimate approach that some kids do best in.

After shadowing at all the choices and talking to older siblings of her friends, our daughter chose Sequoia HS in RC (we agreed with the choice). The big draw of Sequoia HS is that it is the only public school in the area that has the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. This optional track is an alternative to taking AP classes; it is an integrative program, consisting of advanced classes in all the traditional topics, as well as required classes in critical thinking and writing, a student project, and writing a thesis. IB is recognized by all colleges; passing the IB exam in a class is equivalent to AP credit, and the full IB diploma is sometimes called "a ticket to whatever college your student wants", in the US and abroad. Although IB is rigorous, friends of ours who had kids in both AP and IB say that IB was more interesting and less stressful.

We also like Sequoia HS for its strong drama, sports, and music programs. It was the very first HS established in the SF area, after the gold rush, in order to provide the required HS education for entry to Stanford University. Even in those days, it had a multi-ethnic student body, and the curriculum exceded typical standards of the time. Much of that tradition still lives in the IB program, architecture, gardens, performing arts and sports programs at the school.

Something I hesitate to bring up, but you should be aware of: In recent years, there has been a terrible series of student suicides at some very competitive schools in the bay area where an atmosphere of "be #1 or your life is worthless" prevails. In other words, on a more positive note, don't just look at academic scores and the like. A warm school atmosphere that promotes cooperative team-work among students, pride in each other's successes, creative discovery, and each student finding their talents, will be sure to prepare your student for a richer experience of success in life.

That is our experience, so far. I am sure other readers will have other info to add. Hope these reflections help. Best wishes!

Last edited by Yohanan; 05-22-2010 at 05:05 PM..
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:29 AM
 
7 posts, read 26,985 times
Reputation: 13
Just wanted to say thanks to Yohanan for a very detailed and balanced perspective- very helpful!
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