Advice on Public Schools in NY

(26 Posts)
Systemfailure Sun 27-Dec-15 12:23:44

Hi,
Am moving to NY next summer with a 10 and 8 yr old for 3 years. Will be working in Manhattan. Kids will need to go to public school. I know the schools in Westchester are great but are there any alternatives in NYC itself? Don't think we could cope living in a tiny flat. Very happy to do some research but I haven't got a clue where to start!
TIA

CherryPits Tue 29-Dec-15 00:01:31

Westchester schools ARE great, as are schools in Greenwich Ct - Riverside, Old Greenwich - they are top of the league tables.

35 mins to Grand Central.

Might be worth investigating.

CherryPits Tue 29-Dec-15 00:02:23

www.schooldigger.com = for schools everywhere

www.zillow.com for rentals and home purchases, everywhere

Systemfailure Wed 30-Dec-15 16:49:11

Thanks CherryPits, that's incredibly helpful. My kids would have been entering Ys 4 and 6 if we had stayed so does that automatically make them Grade 3 and 5 or do they use a different cut-off point from us in the US? Just trying to work out whether I need to look at both elementary and middle schools.

CherryPits Wed 30-Dec-15 19:02:24

no problem

The cut off date depends on the state. I think in Connecticut its still end of the year, so Dec 31st is the last birthday.

Most states now have 1st September as the cut off, but you'll need to check with the local authorities in the places you're considering. Usually there's a website for each "county" and then a list of phone numbers for people in enrollment etc.

If your child has say finished year 5 in England and has a birthday in Oct or Nov for instance, they'd likely put them in the next year up here instead of holding them back, unless there was a language issue (say you were coming from France or Sweden for instance).

You might want to look at elementary schools which lead into good middles just in case, and in case you stay long enough.

Good luck, its quite an adventure.

I do recommend the Riverside and old Greenwich schools because while it was ages ago, I went to them myself and the standards are excellent.

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 03:43:44

Take a step back. Where in Manhattan are you working and how often are you looking at flying? If you fly a lot or work on the west side New Jersey might be better than Westchester/ Fairfield county.

If you plan to return to the UK I would try to look for a school district that follows the IB program. There are a few in the area.

SofiaAmes Thu 31-Dec-15 04:01:55

I would also look at what they are studying in each year compared to what your dc's are doing in the UK. The level of math and the books they are reading in english will give you an idea of the appropriate grade. History will, of course be quite different, because it's pretty much all American history at that age.

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 14:04:40

It depends on the school district though. Some school districts go ahead of the curriculum in the top sets, in part to accommodate those coming in from abroad and their G&T students. Certain school districts such as Millburn in NJ are more experienced with foreign education systems as they have lots of kids coming and going. It's part of the reason they follow the IB program.

I'm not sure of what school systems follow IB in Westchester but I do know Scarsdale has a lot of expats. Sadly it's super expensive to live there.

CherryPits Thu 31-Dec-15 14:38:13

I wouldn't want to live in NJ ever and I'd never recommend someone look at NJ unless there was a really significant reason, like they had family there or something. Culturally its an entirely different place.

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 15:06:07

Haha! NJ is great if you work in the west side. Millburn is a fantastic area for expats. Westfield and Cranford are also great towns but not if you need to commute to midtown. They will work well if the commute is to downtown WTC area.

DH flies a lot. We are in Hoboken and all 3 airports are readily available to us. Schools are good but OP says she doesn't want to be in a condo so I didn't suggest it. We could afford to be in Manhattan but chose not to be.

I have lived in the area for 10 years now and crossing NJ off your list is short sighted at best and plain ignorant coming from an American.

CherryPits Thu 31-Dec-15 18:38:35

I'm not an American.

But I have heard that Hoboken is really nice, actually.

no offense ment.

CherryPits Thu 31-Dec-15 18:38:56

meant.
spelling has gone

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 19:14:20

I'm not offended at all. I will just correct information that is totally wrong. This is a public thread and I think it is very wrong to that you would tell someone to never live in NJ unless there was a significant reason. The OP is relocating here and looking for advice on their options. You dismissing a whole state because you think the whole of NJ is the armpit of America is just wrong and not in the interests of the OP or anyone else using this thread to research their options.

NJ makes a whole lot of sense in certain situations which is why I asked the specific questions in my earlier post.

CherryPits Thu 31-Dec-15 20:32:42

Oh you're being silly Want2b. Re-read what I said, I said I wouldn't want to live in NJ and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. That's still true by the way.

I said nothing about the armpit of N America, though I do remember hearing a Lot of people call it exactly that in the 1980s.

Maybe a lot has changed since then.

You're being so defensive. I'm off I can't be bothered with this.

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 21:07:17

I don't think I am being silly at all. I read what you posted and corrected you because the information is totally wrong. NJ is not culturally a very different place nor is it a place that should never be recommended just because you don't like it.

The only aspect of your post that offends me is that the OP could use your wrong information to make a decision which isn't best for their family. Having made the move and subsequently had DC, one of which has SNs, I am quite aware of what options are available in the area. Northern NJ has some of the best school districts in the country.

Want2bSupermum Thu 31-Dec-15 23:54:34

I just had a thought. chipsandguac is a MN user from the area and has said they work in Hoboken as a realtor helping families relocate to the burbs. OP I would def PM them and ask for help. They can't steer you as against rules but they can point you in the right direction to the info you need. I would also use a realtor for finding a quality rental. I've used craigslist but with DC I wouldn't be so quick to use that. Your employer should be paying the fee anyway.

FYI - lots of families from Hoboken relocate to Westchester, Fairfield county and Long Island. The team behind 'move to the burbs' helps them pick the town out that they move to. A few of the realtors are from Europe and also manage relocations.

Systemfailure Fri 01-Jan-16 17:26:28

Thanks all. I will be working within walking distance from Grand Central station and won't need to fly with work so being near airports isn't an issue. Work will help find accommodation but I have to give them an idea of the areas. Most people in the office who are single live in Manhattan and those with kids live in Westchester. I'm still grappling with suburbs vs city tbh. There seem to be some decent schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, plus g&t schools (although I'm not sure we could navigate the admissions process for those from here). My worry with the suburbs is that it'll be desperate housewives-types and we won't fit in! Surely there must be some more relaxed parts of Westchester?! But I imagine it'll be easier for kids to make friends there. If we live in the city, we'd have a much smaller space (budget is $6k a month) but a much richer NYC experience and I wouldn't have such a long commute.

lifeisunjust Fri 01-Jan-16 19:09:55

When someone says "I wouldn't live in X" then says "I heard X is.." for the same place, that would be a big X for their opinions.

ChipsandGuac Sat 02-Jan-16 00:24:38

Welcome to NY!

Just to quickly clear up W2BS's comment, I'm not a realtor. I was working on some marketing. I do live in Westchester though! My eldest DC was the same age as yours when we arrived.

Basically, there is a reason lots of expats can be found in the same Westchester towns, it's because they have very highly regarded schools that are used to international students transitioning for 3 years.

Scarsdale is one such town. Personally, it's too flashy for me and I prefer a bit more distance between the houses. But you can't knock its school district, regardless of how competitive it is.

I would look at Mamaroneck, Rye, Larchmont, Irvington, Pleasantville and Chappaqua. I wouldn't go further north than Chappaqua as then the commute gets long, although there are plenty of Brits up there. Armonk is nice too, it just doesn't have a train station. You need to get the train from N White Plains so you would have a drive first. It's a very pretty drive though!

I love Tarrytown but a lot of Westchesterites sneer at its school district, mainly as it has a relatively high Hispanic community. The schools there are good just not the best of the best. It's a vibrant town with a lot going on. I'd also maybe look at Croton.

It really depends what you want. Chappaqua has fantastic schools but it's dead by 8pm and you need to drive everywhere. It's right next door to Mount Kisco though, so there's a lot more going on there. Pleasantville is lovely and lots of the homes are walkable to downtown. Schools are very good. They were one of the first to opt out of state testing as they felt it was to the detriment of the children's learning experience. It also has an art house cinema, plenty of restaurants, etc. I love Pleasantville.

Irvington is quite cool too. Loads of excellent places to eat. The housing stock is quite varied. Croton is quite arty and more laid back.

As I said, it really depends what you're looking for. Feel free to pm me if you want more specific information. Happy to help in any way!

And, as an aside about NJ, it's no good for the OP but parts of NJ are lovely. For those in the financial district, Bergen County has some lovely towns that easily rival anything Westchester has to offer. It's really not all slums, Jersey Shore or RHONJ!

ChipsandGuac Sat 02-Jan-16 00:25:04

Sorry, that ended up being a bit of an essay!

Want2bSupermum Sat 02-Jan-16 18:38:38

OP - Westchester is definitely your best option. With a budget of $6k I would not consider NYC or Brooklyn. It won't get you the space you need in the areas with school districts that rival what Westchester offers.

Scarsdale is fantastic for school and commuting into town. You should be able to find something in your budget. It is flashy but you get that in most towns with good schools sadly.

chipsandguac Sorry I thought you were a realtor based on what you put in another thread where we were talking about house sizes.

ChipsandGuac Sat 02-Jan-16 20:00:48

No worries, Want2b! I was working with a mayor's office on a marketing campaign to get Hobokenites to look at a specific town. I'm a little paranoid at getting identified in rl so I probably ramble on too much and complicate what I'm talking about! grin

Rubyx99 Sun 03-Jan-16 21:03:13

I second that NYC could be difficult if you want your children to go to public school. If you're considering Westchester towns, look at Greenwich CT as well. The commute to Grand Central is comparable, and when we lived there, you got a little more house for your money than Westchester. We were very happy with the public schools. Good luck!

Rubyx99 Sun 03-Jan-16 21:05:03

Look up metronorth schedules for train times. Great Schools is another website to look up school review.

Shakshuka Fri 08-Jan-16 01:40:44

There are good schools in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens in queens. Look up ps101, ps99, ps196 and (I think) ps144. Considered some of the best performing schools in the city, way cheaper housing than Manhattan or Brooklyn (the nice bits anyway) and express trains to midtown east.

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