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Old 07-10-2012, 07:47 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,893 times
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We are a family of 3 (soon to be 4) and we are looking for a house to buy in a price range between $280,000 - $350,000 (really a maximum for the best house). We currently rent a small garden apartment in North Bethesda, but the houses are very expensive here.

Which area has better schools and is safer? Silver Spring (Veirs Mill Village), Takoma Park (around Sligo Creek Pkwy), or North Kensington (between Veirs Mill, Connecticut and University Blvd)?

We found on house which we liked in Silver Spring, but I just found out there lives a sexual offender 3 houses down the street (2nd degree rape) - would you still move to this house? Would you consider this at all? I have no idea how to take this information..

We are a European couple, so we don't mind diverse neighborhood, but would prefer more whites than hispanics and african-americans.

We cannot afford to pay more than the price range and we do not want to live too far away from DC since my husband mostly works in DC - so Gaithersburg or Germantown are really too far away for us..

Thank you for helping!
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:52 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
12,561 posts, read 23,838,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missulka View Post
Which area has better schools and is safer? Silver Spring (Veirs Mill Village), Takoma Park (around Sligo Creek Pkwy), or North Kensington (between Veirs Mill, Connecticut and University Blvd)?
You would have to tell us exactly which schools you want to compare. There are two houses in Viers Mill Park and North Kensington which fit your budget. Realtor.com shows the same list of five elementary schools and they are rated 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 out of 10 on Greatschools.com . To me, that means they range from weak to superior.

I personally like the North Kensington area because it feels safe with all the limited access streets. But I would do what you did, check for offenders and police reports. If my kids were trained to know why they should avoid the sex offender, I would buy a house in the area.

The same goes for Takoma Park; you would need to specifiy exactly which school, as I see ratings of 2, 4 and 6, which is a lot of difference. (Carole Highlands near Langley Park is the 2 of 10 school.)

Last edited by goldenage1; 07-11-2012 at 03:01 AM..
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:23 AM
 
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Hi, I am a teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools and of the 3 areas you listed, I would say go with Kensington. Takoma Park and Silver Spring both have some pretty rough areas and schools (not all..but a lot). As far as home buying, I live in Rockville and can just suggest a wonderful realtor and company - Victor Llewellyn at Llewellyn Realtors. Hes one of the best in the area and I had an great experience wtih him. I am positive he can find you a good home in your price range. I think you can find him at www.victorllewellynhomes.com
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
12,561 posts, read 23,838,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdteacher10 View Post
Silver Spring both have some pretty rough areas and schools (not all..but a lot).
I'll disagree with the idea that Silver Spring has a lot of rough areas. I'd say 95% of the SS zip codes are safe suburban areas. Sure, the areas with low-income apartments, like close to Langley Park will have some problems.

Similarly with the schools. The TP and many of the SS schools are challenged by numbers of students who have English as a second language. That's why the OP should ask the realtor about the assigned school zone.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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My kids will also be ESOL students... So does it help to go to school where a lot of kids are ESOL students or the opposite? The school in Takoma is Takoma Park Elementary school and from 3rd grade it's Piney Branch Elementary School. In Silver Spring it would be Veirs Mill Elementary school. Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
12,561 posts, read 23,838,862 times
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I'm no expert in ESOL, but I would guess that it would help to have many students in the same situation. The teachers will be more experienced!

Greatschools does not rate the primary schools (K-2) like Takoma Park ES, but the Piney Branch ES is rated a 6 of 10, which is better than average. Here's some statistics on the students there: Student Teacher Ratio Piney Branch Elementary School - Takoma Park, Maryland - MD The test scores show they have been improving. If you would be there through high school, they feed into Montgomery Blair High School which is the excellent science and math school.

The Viers Mill Elementary School is rated a 9, and the statistics are here: Student Teacher Ratio Viers Mill Elementary School - Silver Spring, Maryland - MD The scores are very good. The largest sub-group of students is Hispanic, so I expect many are ESOL also.

I don't know where to find statistics on the percentages of ESOL students in each school. I hope someone else can help.

Either group of schools appears to do a good job, but I would lean slightly in favor of the North Kensington area because I know it better.

Last edited by goldenage1; 07-11-2012 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:12 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
23,590 posts, read 24,446,614 times
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North Kensington all the way. That's a good area.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Northwest Suburbs of Denver
434 posts, read 1,057,563 times
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North Kensington is lovely - but I think the only houses in your price range need a lot of work or are situated on very busy streets.

A couple random comments.

Schools: Schools with high ESOL/ESL populations will often score lower on test scores. It's not a reflection of the schools, just a reflection of the student body. So, look at all rankings based on test scores with a grain of salt. I respectfully disagree with the PP who supposed that a school with a higher ESL/ESOL population will have more experienced teachers. I think it just varies from school to school. Those same schools could have over-worked ESL/ESOL teachers.
Also, ESL/ESOL in the schools tend to work with students with very limited English exposure prior to coming to school. These are often children that live in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are ESL/ESOL, shop at stores where people speak their native language, and their parents speak the native language to each other. If you are European, it's not exactly the same thing if you aren't living in an insulated life. So, I'm not sure how much the ESL/ESOL population should affect your decision.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the registered sex offender. I'm sure there are plenty of sex offenders living among all of us - they've just never been caught.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:58 PM
 
52 posts, read 139,909 times
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I agree with scrapper105. And, the schools in the Down County Consortium are, generally, not the best in the county. If you are looking at elementary schools, there are good ones in the DCC, but outside of the Blair magnet/STEM program, you may not want to move to the DCC area unless you will be sending your children (middle and high school) to private schools.
Your budget is sort of tight for the areas you have mentioned. If you really would like a house in Silver Spring, ideal areas would be Woodside/North Woodside and Forest Glen. North Kensington is not as desirable as South Kensington, but I don't think that your budget can fit Woodside, North Woodside, Forest Glen, or South Kensington--or even North Kensington, for that matter.
I recommend you broaden your geographical area for greater price elasticity and more school options--East MoCo and West MoCo. It seems as though now, the closer you are to DC, the more money you will pay. And western MoCo is generally more expensive than the east side (anything east of Georgia or Connecticut, depending on whom you ask). Takoma Park is the grand exception to that rule.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:39 PM
 
789 posts, read 2,437,001 times
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k e n s i n g t o n - but check the zoning....
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