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Old 10-07-2010, 09:29 AM
Location: Washington, DC
6 posts, read 19,218 times
Reputation: 10



Due to spouse's recent job offer, my wife and I are contemplating our move to the Seattle area next summer from DC metro. Her job will be split betw. Issaquah and Kirkland, with occasional meetings in downtown Seattle. (I don't have a job lined up but I'm a sys. admin & DBA so presumably I can find work for somebody in the metro area.... ) We also have two little kids who will be 3 and 5 yrs old by then, so a good school district and/or good private school(s) are also an important consideration. Based on a desire for reasonable commute times (25-30 min max) and a home budget ($700K - $800), we are considering areas of Bellevue like Somerset (Somerset Elem), NE Bellevue (Bennett) and Woodridge (Woodridge Elem). However, the prospect of a living on a bigger lot size is drawing us to Issaquah too, in areas like Pine Lake (Discovery Elem) and Beaver Lake (Endeavour Elem). (Bigger lot is a draw b/c as a hobby, I love to keep hens and cultivate japanese vegs; wife loves the lake & mountain scenery of Issaquah area.) The public school is a strong preference but we are happy to enroll our 5 y.o. in a private K-6.... Open Window and St. Thomas have been mentioned a few times by acquaintances. Are you familiar with these or any other? (I'm not even sure anyone in our family is "gifted" but we were told to consider OWS anyway and get them evaluated.) In general I'd say our preference is for larger schools with a more established curriculum & teachers.

Separately, our 3 year old is going to need a preschool -- do you have any suggestions so that we can place her on a waiting list asap? Cedar Crest, Jewish DS, French Immersion, or any of the nearby Montessouri schools (Cougar Mtn, etc.) be a good bet? (Got these from PNAIS, Greatschools web sites.)

Thank you, in advance, for your help!

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:01 PM
13 posts, read 29,984 times
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Have you thought of Mercer Island? The schools are the some of the best. My son goes to public school on the island for kindergarten and has 16 kids in his class! This is extremely low.The public schools on the island are very rigorous and challenge the children. Since you mentioned you liked to grow veggies I thought I would share that my son's class just planted a garden at his school yesterday.They grow, harvest, and cook their own veggies at school. Each class does and the garden is huge. In fact, our neighbors have chickens. The kids sell the eggs.

I have a preschooler as well. There are SEVERAL top notch preschools on the island. This link will help. Some of my personal favorites are Pebble, Emmanuel Day School, and the Andover School. There are 3 or 4 Montessori schools too. My oldest attended a Montessori out of state.
Obviously, I live on the island, but it's close to everything. Downtown is 10 mins, Bellevue 10 mins, Issaquah 12mins, Kirkland is about 18 mins. There are homes here in 700-800k range, but they may not have a huge lot, some do have larger ones.

Open Window is supposed to be good. St.Thomas in Medina? It's great. There is also St. Monica's on Mercer Island too. Another one to check out is Cougar Mountain Academy in Issaquah. We almost moved to Issaquah. We loved it there. The deciding factor for us was school size. The class sizes were much larger than where my son is now.

PM if you have any other questions.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:41 PM
7,746 posts, read 14,580,322 times
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I heard lots of complaints about Cougar Mtn Academy... but I must say the concept of a school within/next to a zoo is pretty cool. The only thing about OWS is... nice campus, in a very nice area in a very high elevation so winter might be dicey-- but I hear lots of raves. If you have a daughter, Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart is just really nice school (it is a Catholic affiliated school); its also in the Somerset area.

You have way too many options, not just in the Eastside, but in the whole Seattle area in terms of private schools, preschools. Right now the ParentMap magazine has an issue out right now that covers almost all the private schools and preschools in the area that might be of interest: LearningMap - Publications - ParentMap.com

In terms of public schools, you can't really go wrong with the entire Eastside area (from Bothell/Woodinville to down to Bellevue, east to Snoqualmie Valley and west to Mercer Island). The school districts in those areas are easily in the top 25 of the state.
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:59 PM
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
1,938 posts, read 6,118,339 times
Reputation: 904
One thing I will throw out is that the Bellevue School District and Issaquah School District are both very highly regarded so I am not sure of the need for private unless you want to spend $20K per year x 2. We live in Sammamish (south end so Issaquah School District) and there are some very large lots out here. Pine Hill is a neighborhood that is zoned to Discovery, I live in the Pine Lake area which is zoned to a brand new green built school called Creekside and there are large lots here with folks raising chickens and gardening. : Plus we can walk a 1/2 block to the lake and pop a canoe in and watch eagles fly...pretty cool! High Country is zoned to Endeavor and there are big lots through that neighborhood and then near Beaver Lake there are also large lots (can be zoned Sunny Hills Elem or other). Of all the schools I named, they are all terrific. For preschool, there are several options in Sammamish if you want Montessori. Sammamish Learning Center is not pure Montessori but a good blend with some traditional preschool bend in later years to prep for public school. Arbor Schools, Lakeside Montessori are other options and you might also check out something like Redgate Farm. I have a gifted child and was recommended to both Cougar Mtn and OWS. I have friends at OWS but honestly, it's way to rich for my blood. On top of tuition, most families donate good time and money to the school. I think it's a wonderful place if you have the extra $$. After buying a house here after a move from TX, we were just thrilled to have a roof over our head in a great school district. I also have friends in the Woodridge neighborhood you mentioned. Lots of 70's homes and I don't recall big lots. But my friend's daughter goes to Puesta Del Sol which is a Spanish immersion school in the Bellevue School District.

No knocks on Mercer Island - it's just perceived as very wealthy with great schools. If you can afford it, go for it, but $800K goes way further in Issaquah and Sammamish...and especially if she is mostly working out this way, it would be a better location. Plus you have Lake Sammamish, all the hiking of Tiger Mtn right there.

Good luck!
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:34 PM
Location: Bellevue, WA
404 posts, read 963,506 times
Reputation: 145
There's no reason for private school on the Eastside. Bellevue has some of the best schools in the country.
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Old 10-09-2010, 05:35 PM
13 posts, read 29,984 times
Reputation: 13
It looks like the OP has some great choices and great advice!

I do understand the perception of Mercer Island (sometimes have struggles myself with it). Can't knock me for suggesting it.

I would agree there isn't a need for private school if the OP chooses any of these locations.

Good luck to the OP!
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Old 10-10-2010, 04:03 PM
Location: Seattle
7 posts, read 16,786 times
Reputation: 12
Default Greater Seattle move suggestions

It looks like you have lived in some great areas around the country. I reference the Greater Seattle area as I am from the "Eastside" (Bellevue) originally. I can always call that home, however now that I am living in downtown Seattle, I prefer the broader reference.
I don't think there are too many areas in and around Seattle/Eastside that would not be adaptable to your needs. Anywhere from Mercer Island to Sammamish Plateau - it's all fantastic. Truth told - obviously the further out you move - the more room you get for less. The exception to that statement would be the Sammamish Plateau in many parts. The school system here is for the most part very good. Here is a link to schools in and around the area:

Real Estate - at $800K will pretty much offer you a nice choice - especially if the interest rates stay put for you until next summer. The good news the other day was the Feds decided to leave them where they are.... hope this holds for you as it will increase your buying power significantly. There are several niche neighborhood areas in and around the more obvious locals, so you also might want to consider an area like Newcastle - which has a solid diverse price point - although they appear to show a lower price point for an average than what you will mostly find as you look through the neighborhoods - which are more highend. This is an exquisite area on the Eastside bordered by Bellevue, Issaquah and Renton. It is a relatively newly incorporated area - and was once part of Issaquah and Bellevue. There are three areas on the Sammamish Plateau that are similar to Newcastle as well.

As a real estate broker, I am always concerned with the priority list.... what would you list as the three absolutes you will not compromise on - go for those and the rest will follow. Good luck to you - contact me if you ever want some professional advice about any other specifics. Best of luck to you.
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