Anyone living in or near Washington DC ?

(8 Posts)
mrbear444 Tue 20-Jan-15 23:04:13

Hi I'm new to this but I was wondering if there was anyone who lived in DC as a US or expat family. DH is applying for a job there I will have to give up work and take 3 children out of schools. It will be for at least 2 years so I want to be in a place with really good schools ( elementary, middle and high) company will pay good rents but won't pay private schools. Which areas are good for families / schools but still within a reasonable commute of the Northern side of the city?

OP’s posts: |
fizzycolagurlie Wed 21-Jan-15 01:03:41

Hello mrbear444

Yes we lived there for a few years recently and the public schools in Montgomery County Maryland are considered some of the best in the country.
Towns like Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac have many top ranking public schools, you can get more specific on these websites:

greatschools.org
schooldigger.com

The first site is parental review based, and highly subjective (some reviews are clearly repeats written by one disgruntled parent, others are children but if you weed through them, you sometimes do find helpful information) the second is factual, so it shows teacher / student ratio, ethnic ratio, ranking, average grades (3rd grade and up have formal testing) that kind of thing and sometimes has links to property available in the school's boundary zone.

The schools vary quite widely in that some are heavily over-subscribed while others remain smaller. Bethesda Elementary has an "inclusive" policy for children qualifying as special needs - which means they are taught in the mainstream classrooms for the most part, with additional specialists on hand to help. Other schools have a semi-inclusive policy so say art, music, PE may include these groups, their literacy and math teaching may be taught in a different classroom, specifically suited to their needs.

I know that Bethesda Elementry is bursting at the seams as many families moved into the area specifically for their inclusive policies.

mrbear444 Wed 21-Jan-15 17:10:58

Hi fizzy thanks o much for replying I just feel completely out of my depth and a condition for going is that we can get the children into good schools as my son would be about to start gcses here so he needs to be somewhere that he can get good equivalents in the US. I don't even know what the equivalents are!!
I think we should be able to afford to rent in Bethesda areas although what's the commute times, my husband doesn't want to have too much travelling but I don't want the children too close to the centre of the city as we spent a lot of time moving away from London here to get a better life for the kids!!Is that area a good compromise. My little one has dyslexia but it sounds like there is a lot of support built into the US system esp if they keep her in class she is a bright girl but can't write I don't want her to end up in remedial classes.
Sorry theses are more questions I am really greatful for your reply. Thank you xx

OP’s posts: |
fizzycolagurlie Thu 22-Jan-15 01:26:14

Hello Mrbear444
Bethesda (and Kensington as well as other nearby towns) has a very efficient metro station that goes straight down to DC - and there's a central station from which other lines run. Bethesda itself is very leafy and suburban with what is really a smallish town in the middle and many residential roads which are off it. Lots of Gardens, it feels far away despite its proximity to the capital city. There are also lots of parks and playgrounds, a public pool and a brilliant library which has a great kids library inside it.

If you look on google maps and put in your husband's work address and then directions to Bethesda MD it should give you the driving and public transport options as well as timings. You might also want to look up the Metro times between stations, if you know the station nearest his work place, because that might give you a more accurate idea.

Bad weather slows things down. I know they've had a lot of snow these past few weeks and schools have been starting 2 hours later than normal. When we lived there we were snowed in for 2 weeks. Those who cannot get to work often work from home for those days.

At the start of this process of planning a move I think there are so many questions, but once you isolate areas that you think might work for you and you can concentrate on gathering info on them, things start to feel a bit more settled. Best of luck with it all, anyway.

fizzycolagurlie Thu 22-Jan-15 01:28:26

GCSEs - there isn't truly a direct equivalent - there are SATs which are multiple choice tests for college entry (usually taken in 10th / 11th grades) and there used to be ACH tests for specific subjects but I don't know if they still exist.

Some of the Montgomery county schools allow you to take the IB - so that has the international standing that might well help bridge the gap for you.

mrbear444 Thu 22-Jan-15 07:21:49

Thanks so much. You're right about the questions there are so many. Bethesda sound like the best place for us to look for schools and commute. He hasn't got the job yet so it may never happen I just wanted to be sure about being able to live in a nice area with good school s and journey before I agreed to go!! It sounds like that's a possibility so I'll look into the education system now .Thanks so much again xx

OP’s posts: |
fizzycolagurlie Fri 23-Jan-15 06:25:37

Ah you're welcome. If he ends up getting the job and you want to ask more, ask away.

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fizzycolagurlie Fri 13-Feb-15 21:46:48

Mrbear444 I remembered another really useful web site

dcurbanmom.com

a forum which has specific sections for schooling, preschool etc in the whole greater DC area.

its a mum's forum but everyone is "anonymous" without a user name so there are no "personalities" as there are here (which helps).

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