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Old 04-27-2012, 11:39 PM
12 posts, read 31,315 times
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My husband works in white plains and I work in Yonkers. Currently we live in White Plains. My daughter is going to kindergarten this year and we are deciding whether to move to another good school district vs put our daughter in a catholic school...
Could someone advise about reasonably priced private elementary schools in the area?
I hear white plains public schools aren't good so don't want to go that route.

We visited Immaculate heart of Mary in scarsdale..seemed nice..can anyone suggest/ tell pros and cons of having children in catholic schools vs public schools in scarsdale/edgemont...we are not catholic but I like catholic schools as I like the concept of kids wearing uniforms and not caring abt dress up as my daugter already gives too much importance to..at age of 4.5!!!!!

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Old 04-28-2012, 06:45 AM
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It is a personal decision to make as to where may be a best fit for your child. A lot depends on your child and what you as a parent are looking for them to receive through thier educational experience.
Both my husband and I were both Catholic School educated from K-12. We are also Catholic. I was also a HS Guidance Counselor for 7 years in a Catholic school. Neither of us want a Catholic school experience for our children. The reasons are a few.
For one, there is a tremendous lack of enrichment programs in the Catholic schools. There will not be as many clubs, athletics, programs etc. as there are offered in a public school system. Don't get me wrong, there are offerings, some schools more than others, but nowhere near as much as public.
There is also the issue of lack of pupil personnel services within the Catholic Schools. If a child has a need for speech therapy, OT, PT etc., there is no help within the school for that student. They will need to receive help from an outside source. Perhaps your daughter does need any help now, but that is not to say that she may need some extra help down the road. It is just good to know that if the need did arise, the school would be an available resource.
Also, we feel that Catholic schools lack the resources to help children within the classroom performing at various levels. Many do not have remedial classes for those struggling or enrichment for those that may be ahead. They do try to accomodate those students, but not at the levels that publics do. Publics have resource room teachers, co-teaching etc. Those things are very helpful to students. I can say that I personally feel that the Catholic school failed me as a student. I struggled as a yong child with Math. Being taught in a room with 30 kids, all the same way, all different levels, no opportunities for help other than going after school for "tutoring". It was awful. It was the same thing year after year.
Another thing we are not comfotable with is that you do not have to be certified within a certain area to teach at a Catholic school. While working, I had seen it many times where there was a need to fill a position for a certain subject, and an applicant without a degree in education or a backround in education was given a job to teach. We feel that if we are paying all that money in tuition, shouldn't the teacher be certified and have a degree in some type of Educational field? There is also a lot of teacher turnover in Catholic Schools due to poor job salary.
Yes, Catholic schools can feel very "homey" and a smaller atmosphere is something that is comfortable to many. Honestly, some Catholic Schools do offer a lot more than some others. It is good to check a few out and see the differances between them, as they vary greatly. I think that maybe for a few years at the elementary level it would be an okay arrangement, but for long term, you may want to give public a thought.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:10 AM
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Thank you very much for taking the time to reply in detail..exactly what I wanted in an answer...it is just that the catholic school children look so well behaved..I thought they may discipline the kids well..I will have to look into moving I guess:-(

BTW this is a temperory arrangement only for 1-2 years, plan to buy a house in a year...do you think at Kindergarten level, these things will make difference. I am not familiar with US school system. Do they challenge them differently at Kindergarten level. I was myself in a catholic school from K- grade 10 but not in US...catholic schools were considered the best private schools there..

What are the other better private schools in the area around white plains/scarsdale/hartsdale etc if we do go that route..something around 15-20000/yr?...though I keep thinking that it would be better then that we just move.

What do you think about hudson county montessori at this level.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:14 AM
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I visited and considered Hudson for my daughter. I truthfully can't comment on it much, as I only did a visit. I wasn't overly impressed with it during my visit, but didn't think it was a bad place either. It may be worth you checking it out and seeing the feel you get.
I hear the "discipline" thing a lot from people considering Catholic school. Just a personal belief, I feel that I am paying a tuition or school taxes for an education, not discipline. Yes, by all means you want a school with order and respectful students, but I am not willing to compromise educational opportunities for my children as a trade off for discipline, which primarily should be done by parents at home. I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel Catholic schools are very much living on a past reputation. They truthfully aren't ruled with an "iron fist" as they once were. Not that I ever felt that was a right way of running a school, but they just aren't what they used to be in many repsects. Just my opinion though. I am sure plenty would disagree with my opinion, and thats okay.
I think that as a temporary arrangement, sure it may be okay. My only concern would be that Kindergarten is a big transition for children where they are really beginning to read, write, apply mathematics to everyday life. This is when most parents realize that their child may have difficulties on one area or another. If by chance your daughter struggles with any of this, I would want to know how the school handles students that may present with any issues. If the school has a decent model plan that they follow to help students in need, then it may very well be okay. Like I said, some Catholic schools offer more than others. Also, in the U.S., catholic schools and private schools are considered two different types on institutions. Catholic schools are religiously run, funded through the Archdiocese. Some are independent of the Archdiocese, but pretty much have the same funding issues. Private schools are considered "Independent". Some of those in the Westchester area are Rye Country Day School, Masters School, Hackley, Horace Mann and Fieldston (these last two are in the Bronx, not far from lower Westchester). The Independant schools are at a much higher price tag than Catholic (20-35,000 a year).
I would say, you really don't know what may be best unless you try. Since you are interested in catholic, I think trying Catholic for a year or two to see how your daughter thrives may be fine. She may do very well, and you may be very happy. If you feel it is not a good fit for her, she is still very young and could transition to a new school in 2nd or 3rd grade. Hopefully some people that are proponents of Catholic school may respond and give you some good perspectives as well! I know it is such a difficult and stressful decision to make. I have two little girls and are in the process of moving for the reasons of schools as well. You do the best you can, and hope in the end that it is the right choice.
What country are you from?
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:56 AM
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I went to Catholic until 9th grade, and my husband till 12th. The worst thing about it was the nuns who ran the schools like jails, and the nuns are almost non existent now. However, the biggest negative for attending Catholic is the fact that students that aren't able to keep up, or are ahead of everyone else, are expected to do the same work, the same time, the same day, etc. My daughter attends Catholic now. However, we are moving so that she can attend public in a good district. We always intended to do this.

I will tell you about her school. The principal is awful-alienates parents, is mean to the kids (I have witnessed it firsthand) and isn't suited for the job. Same goes for the teachers. Some are mean (spending time at school enables you to hear and see a lot) and some are nice. Some of the teachers are good, some aren't. My daughter can't stand her teacher, and she does have valid reasons for not liking her. She's related some of the negative words her teacher uses, very little positive reinforcement. I don't care for some of her teacher's "ways" myself. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to perform well on all the tests, both school and state tests, but the pressure on them regarding the state tests is over the top. I think it's due to declining enrollment-makes them look good if the test scores are up there, might make parents interested in looking into the school.

Regarding discipline in Catholic schools-one of the classes (an upper grade) is completely out of control. The way the teacher is treated is unbelievable. However, the school does not discipline as it should. Don't know why. However, I will say that no matter what the school if a kid comes from a home that doesn't value respect for others then the kid won't either. There are plenty of kids in this school that are bad news, uniform or not. Their parents are bad news also, for the most part!

There is a positive, however. Most (not all) district K don't do that much academically in comparison with Catholic. My daughter started Catholic in Pre K. By K she was reading very well, and has continued to excel, for the most part, in all subjects. The lower grades really do a lot of work and it's a great beginning. My friends with kids in public (good districts) could not believe how much we did in K compared to them.

Catholic is much cheaper than private but public has a lot to offer. My suggestion would be to tour a few Catholic schools to get an idea of how each operates. The tuition is different at each one and some schools do offer more than others. Using a Catholic school for a year or 2 might be a great idea. Some schools offer a 1/2 or full day visit for a prospective student. PM me if you want to know my thoughts on some of the schools.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:22 PM
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There is a lot of generalization that you are receiving. Each Catholic school is different and I would encourage you to visit Immaculate Heart of Mary to form your opinion. I would argue catholic schools like Immaculate Heart of Mary attached to wealthy parishes have a different level of resources than other Catholic schools. Also IMO great schools are primarily a function of the SES of the families that attend them. IHM pulls from families in nothern New Rochelle, northern Yonkers, Eastchester, and Scarsdale. These are all solidly upper middle class neighborhoods which portends well for the calibre of the student body. Lastly, teacher quality will vary at Catholic schools just like they will at a public and private school. Certification, which is required in publics, doesn't make you a great teacher. In my experience public schools parents have little influence on hiring decisions because of unions and tenure. A powerful PTA at a Catholic school can on other hand drive personnel changes. I've seen it happen.

With that said, I would agree that Catholic schools are not intended/designed/well equipped to handle kids with special needs. However, most private schools aren't either. Rye Country and Hackley are not geared towards special needs students and neither are Catholic schools.

IMO, broadly speaking/gross generalization, the resource edge for extracurriculars that public schools may have exists at the middle school/high school level. Catholic Schools like Ursuline are just as well resourced as a public and you won't pay 30K like at Hackley/Rye Country. At the elementary level, there is no difference in extracurriculr. In fact some catholic school offer a foreign language in the elem grades which some publics don't.

Again broad generalizations don't help. Visit the specific school you are interested in.

Last edited by FoHi11375; 05-02-2012 at 12:26 PM.. Reason: lots of typos; typing from my phone
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:34 AM
122 posts, read 371,243 times
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Originally Posted by doctorR View Post
BTW this is a temperory arrangement only for 1-2 years, plan to buy a house in a year...
If you are planning on buying a home in 2 years, why move now? I am not familiar with White Plains schools, but cannot believe that attending K through 2nd grade in them will negatively affect your child.

Why spend the money and energy moving now... stay put and save that money for your house.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:18 PM
12 posts, read 31,315 times
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Thank you for all the replies...good advice..I am leaning towards letting her attend the catholic school for Kindergarten and 1st grade..does anyone know which place is better-Sacred heart Hartsdale or IHM scardale
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:44 AM
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I think you should do a tour of IHM and make your own judgement. I did a tour of the school some time ago and to me, it seemed like the teachers weren't that enthusiastic about their jobs. And if the teachers project themselves to be unenthusiastic, how will the kids feel about learning?

We toured the Bronxville PS on the same day and the culture was very different. If you're looking at Catholic schools, check out St. Ignatius Loyola in the UES. The principal and staff are very energetic and manage to project it to the kids and parents.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:13 AM
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Related to the same issue. I am currently living in Elmsford, But folks are telling me that the elementary school is not that good. I am currently renting, and plan to rent for atleast next 2-3 years. Where would be the best elementary schools where one can rent. I dont want the best schools but something which is one step below the best. I always feel they have more to offer then the best schools as their would be more peer pressure to perform in the second best areas.
Please help me out here. Thanks
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