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Old 05-07-2012, 02:38 PM
 
15 posts, read 44,756 times
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NYC will be sending out notices the end of May to tell us if our daughter entering kindergarten was chosen in the lottery for a citywide school (the kids have to score in the 99 percentile on a silly test,etc. the schools we ranked are nest-m and brooklyn school of inquiry if it matters) We currently live in Forest Hills, Queens and have been considering a move to Westchester. So despite lengthy net searching I cant get a clear picture of what schools are best. The CW schools have things like- fun enrichments weekly (wacky science, play production, dance,cooking) a rooftop garden, huge block room, fantastic science labs and library, the teaching ratio is usually 29 kids to 2 teachers. work level ranges form no homework unitl 3rd grade, to giving 45 min a night in kinder, going up to 2 for some kids by the 3rd grade. (yikes)
We want our kids to have a quality education with lots of opportunities, nice families and community, and to have fun in school while maintaining the right level of challenge. That's what everyone says right? Anyone wiht insight and opinions please share with me!!! We are open to most of the county but my husband commutes to wall st. and must be in walking distance of the train, we will rent for about 5 years then if happy purchase a smaller home. Just from visiting, I like Larchmont a lot...river towns too but I am disabled so the hills are sometimes prohibitive.
we only have a few weeks to make this decision!
If you have detailed info about schools, please tell me what kind fo math program is used, how the arts and technology are incorporated, avg ammount of homework, if the school can meet the needs of gifted kids, do they get to play?
thanks!!
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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LOL...every kid in Westchester is gifted.

K has about 22 kids here with 1 teacher and 1 aide. I believe we do U Chicago/Everyday math whereas Scarsdale does Singapore (and I wish we did). K kids have art 1 day a week. Technology isn't really that big in K...they may use a smartboard but they aren't typing away on computers. No homework in K, either. I've heard some schools do 30 minutes per grade as a guideline but not certain if it starts in 1st or later. Plenty of enrichment programs after school for a fee. Yes they play in K.

Walking distance to the train is steep here. What size and budget are you looking at? Just an FYI, getting to Wall Street is kind of a pain from here. It's much easier from Jersey if you can stand it.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:01 PM
 
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Best thing for you to do would be to pick out some towns you really liked and visit the schools yourself. I know it's time consuming, but only you will be able to tell if a school's programs suit your needs.

Certain schools districts are favored over others, but I would say a large portion of schools in Westchester are very good.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:47 PM
 
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thanks, our budget is a problem, renting 2 bedroom for 2k or less. well, it feels like a problem when you consider being in a good school. lol about every kid being gifted, believe me every kid here is too. Ours was tested as part of a speech eval and tests in the 99.7 percentile so i actually do need to make sure she has what she needs. The Dr who did the test told us not to do gen ed but in towns where there is no "gifted" class or school i dont see that happening. i dont want to skip a grade for social reasons. I assume most classes teach to thr students individual needs to some extent? The math programs we have here are either singapore or the terk/city math...from what i understand pretty different approaches. glad to hear homework isnt out of hand there like it in here- no third grader should have 2 hours a night. Local schools also stopped doing recess and do gym once a week, so I want to make sure thats not the case. going to wall st is a pain anywhere lol now he travels an hour. he is hoping to relocate to a new job soon- its a second career for him hence the low (for the towns I like) rent. thanks again for the input!!!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammag View Post
If you have detailed info about schools, please tell me what kind fo math program is used, how the arts and technology are incorporated, avg ammount of homework, if the school can meet the needs of gifted kids, do they get to play?
thanks!!
I know what you mean by gifted. The straight answer is that there are very few places in Westchester that can match the rigor and comprehensiveness of NYC's G&T program, assuming your child was accepted into one. The level of curricular enrichment is not there (many towns actually oppose this as it creates exclusion of the majority who are just average). What you will find are enrichment options in extracurricular activities. Some school districts have pull-out programs for specific subjects so you might want to ask the ones you tour if they offer that. Personally I'm not a fan of subject-specific pull-outs because I think that if a child is gifted, then he/she is gifted in all subjects and not just one or a few and would be better off academically being educated with similarly gifted peers for the entire curriculum.

That said, you should consider that NYC G&T offerings end at the elementary level. Middle school is a different animal and you will pray that your child is accepted into a magnet school - a process that can be stressful to both parents and kids.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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Here's a hint, in Westchester the more expensive the housing relative to the same space in another town and the higher the property taxes, the "better" the schools.....
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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My son is in a similar percentile with testing (98th%) and I decided for the suburbs over G & T. First, I feel there is way too much testing pressure in the city. You need very high test scores to get into the best Middle schools and than high test scores to get into the best high schools. I have had students with extremely high 4th grade scores and perfect report cards not get into their top choice for MS because of a test. No way do I want my kids under that kind of pressure. However, if you do citywide, NEST goes k-12 so a lot of that may be eliminated.
Next, my son is smart but I like him to value other people's strengths too. He is great with academics but many of his peers are far more creative than him. Many kids have special needs. He helps his classmates and his siblings and he learns that everyone is gifted in their own way. I have been to the city G & T schools and in many of them there is a system of haves and have nots with the other kids in the school that I am not into. I also wanted some of the things the suburbs offer socially, such as a community school, sports, town pools, nice people who are kind and helpful. He can also go to school with his brother and sister which is impossible in the city. He goes to school with our neighbors and there is more of a sense of community. If I wanted him to be only with gifted kids, I would have stayed in the city. You can get a great education in these G & T schools and it is great for those who can get into it. It is not for me.
I have to admit, I am concerned about them meeting his needs at school. My kid's school does have somebody whose job is to help teachers differentiate. I will see how it works out. It may not be enough but my son does not see himself as better than others and I would like to keep it that way!
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:37 AM
 
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this is so helpful, thanks....we only ranked brooklyn school of inquiry and nest....since there is only a 20% chance of her getting in at best am not counting on it. I liked Brooklyn because they are anti-pressure, artsy, no homework until 3rd grade, seems like a great community. NEST is mostly the opposite and while they have amazing and fun opportunities I am worried about pressure. It seems hard to find a good balance---she is the type of kid who is doing math at breakfast and reading the table of elements for fun but also likes running around being silly, animals, scooters, art- shes pretty well rounded but I am concerned about giving her the academics she seems to need outside of a G and T...but do not want to sacrifice her happiness and childish spirit. I am veyr concerned about the middle and high schools....if she got into BSI we would move to brooklyn, a move I am not thrilled about. I think what i really want- a house in a suburb close to nyc- may not happen for many years financially so feel trapped. Can you tell this is my first child? lol. I no longer want them to grow up in an apartment with no yard....these education decisions are so much harder than I thought they would be!!! I think I will pick a few West. towns and visit the schools..we get the GT placement results in 2 weeks and will have one week to decide, one month to move.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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We had similar concerns before moving here. Our child is likely gifted, tho we've never had him tested. And math is his specialty. We landed in Dobbs Ferry and couldn't be happier. They have Singapore Math, a fulltime math specialist who spends time with the teachers, in the classroom, and does parent education as well. There's some sort of math team beginning in 3rd grade I believe. The Superintendent is VERY big on technology, very progressive - look for her blog for more info. Smaller class sizes compared to other districts we looked at. Very small district too - I feel every kid gets plenty of attention, no matter what level they're at. We have a fulltime teacher assistant in our class, who is supposed to help the special needs kid, but in reality ends up knowing and helping all the kids. I get the feeling that this setup works well with the differentiated learning - this has been GREAT for my son as well as all the kids I believe because it allows them to be challenged at the right level. Although there's no G&T program (that I'm aware of), our teacher made it clear there are plenty of opportunities for advanced academics and in depth study. She knows our son very well and is excited about his giftedness (unlike our last school that barely acknowledged it because they had no resources to deal with it). DF also has the IB program in high school which was attractive to us. HTH. Feel free to PM me with further questions.

Also you might be interested in the Challenge Camp - Challenge Day Camp in Westchester County, New York. It's a summer camp for G&T kids at William E Cottle school in Tuckahoe. It's probably a good place to hook up with other G&T friends.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammag View Post
thanks, our budget is a problem, renting 2 bedroom for 2k or less. well, it feels like a problem when you consider being in a good school.
Were you able to find anything?
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