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Advice about schools in NYC

Advice about schools in NYC

Old Sep 24th 2014, 6:09 am
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Default Advice about schools in NYC

Hi all,

I am new here but have read a bunch of very useful threads already, great forum! It is looking very likely that we will be moving to NYC because of my husband's job and I am after some advice on schools in NYC.

We have four kids - 15, 12, 2 and baby, so I am concerned about my 15 and 12 year olds really, specially my oldest who is in year 11 in the UK, studying for his GCSEs.

I have been reading lots about schools in NYC but I confess that it still seems like a minefield!

We are considering private schools but with the astronomical rental prices, it is looking very unlikely. So I would love to hear any advice from anyone who has made the move, specially with kids in kith school please. I looked at the great schools website and it seems like a lottery! In the same district you have average and very poor performing schools, so is there a way of ensuring you get a place in a good school or is it pot luck? Are these rating systems (great schools and others) accurate? Any experience with IB schools?

Many thanks!
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 7:14 am
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Hi all,

I am new here but have read a bunch of very useful threads already, great forum! It is looking very likely that we will be moving to NYC because of my husband's job and I am after some advice on schools in NYC.

We have four kids - 15, 12, 2 and baby, so I am concerned about my 15 and 12 year olds really, specially my oldest who is in year 11 in the UK, studying for his GCSEs.

Any experience with IB schools?

Many thanks!
We're in a similar situation - moving to Chicago in Jan with a yr13 (18), yr 11 (16) and a yr 7 (12). I'm currently in Chicago on a recce visit (body clock all over the place)

We are enrolling the youngest in a middle school (rated 10 on Great Schools). I visited it yesterday afternoon and was impressed.

The oldest 2 are going to The British School of Chicago (IB) because this gives the closest experience to a UK school. Note I say closest - the US system is vastly different to the UK. I'm working very closely with their current school and I'll be flying back with both of them at the beginning of May so that they can sit their A Levels & GCSEs. You may want to think carefully if this could work for you. We will only be here 3-5 years max and then returning to the UK. If you think your move may be permanent, then perhaps UK qualifications won't be as important.

Good luck, we're looking at it as an adventure. Others think we're slightly foolhardy for moving the children at such a crucial age.

Last edited by loubiblu; Sep 24th 2014 at 7:18 am. Reason: Couple of typos
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Thank you for your suggestion! I will definitely ask his school if this is an option.

I checked the British school in NYC but it only goes up to middle school and with the very high rentals, I think it is unlikely we could afford it anyway. I don't understand the school allocation system as there seem to be more than one per district and they greatly vary in quality. Not sure if Chicago is the same, but did you speak directly to the school or did you have to apply through a central system (for your 12 yo)?

I know what you mean about people thinking this is not a wise move and I do feel very much like you that it is an adventure and not a permanent move, but not sure how long we would be there for although likely more then 3 years.

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Not sure if Chicago is the same, but did you speak directly to the school or did you have to apply through a central system (for your 12 yo)?
I contacted the individual schools directly. Contacted them initially by email and then by phone when I was directed to the right person to speak to in each school. We're looking to rent in specific areas and the school district only has 2 middle schools, both rated very highly.

Both schools have an online application process. We can't actually apply yet as we do not have a lease or proof of address yet. Check individual websites or contact your top choice and ask. I think the need for proof of residency is needed regardless of city/state.

Last edited by loubiblu; Sep 24th 2014 at 1:56 pm. Reason: Additional info
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 1:54 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Hi all,

I am new here but have read a bunch of very useful threads already, great forum! It is looking very likely that we will be moving to NYC because of my husband's job and I am after some advice on schools in NYC.
Are you sure you want to actually live in NYC? If your husband is willing to commute, you could live in New Jersey, Westchester County, or Connecticut, where there are excellent free public schools and a more family-friendly lifestyle. As an example, the commute by train from towns in Westchester along the Metro North Harlem Line is pretty painless.
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Thanks @Loubiblu! Just another question (sorry!!) - for your son sitting GCSEs, if he is going to do an IB course, do you think not having GCSEs would matter when applying to Uni in the UK? I ask because I was looking at some university requirements here and it just says what they expect from IB and some will even say what they expect from a US High School.

Hi Nutmegger, that is a very good point. I do think a move outside NYC would be easier for house, schools and my husband would be willing to face a short commute. He currently commutes around one hour a day each way in the UK, so anything less would be a bonus! However, I think I would enjoy being in the city... if I could just figure out how to do with the schools and rental. I would rather not need a car for everything and with two little kids I wonder if being in the city or in a town would make it easier to meet other mums... any thoughts on places outside NYC where a car is not a must? Thanks!
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Thanks @Loubiblu! Just another question (sorry!!) - for your son sitting GCSEs, if he is going to do an IB course, do you think not having GCSEs would matter when applying to Uni in the UK? I ask because I was looking at some university requirements here and it just says what they expect from IB and some will even say what they expect from a US High School
My son is in yr13 currently studying A2, he'll come back to the UK to sit the exams and hopefully gain his A Levels. He's applying through UCAS at the moment as he's very clear on what degree and which uni he wants to attend. Not interested in going to a US establishment, but he is deferring entry until Sept 16 and using our move as a 'gap year'. His tutor seems to think this will make a difference on his personal statement. The unis he has spoken to are all Russell Group (his heart is set on Durham), most of the admissions tutors couldn't give a definite answer on whether a high school diploma, GPA scores or APs would be acceptable entrance requirements.

My daughter is yr 11. She's all set to jump into High School life, but we think (her included) that it would be a waste of almost 2 years of work not to sit her GCSEs and fortunately her current school is very supportive. We'll reassess whether she continues at the British School to take the full IB Diploma as this does give UCAS points.
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Thanks again! I see your point about doing GCSEs and will ask in my son's school if we can also do the same. He just got home from school having done a mock English exam and got an A, it does seem a shame not to take it.

Just out of interest, I have a friend who went to Durham. She is Australian and they were happy to accept the equivalent Aussie diploma, so I am sure they should be able to do the same for the US.

Cheers!
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 3:25 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Just out of interest, I have a friend who went to Durham. She is Australian and they were happy to accept the equivalent Aussie diploma, so I am sure they should be able to do the same for the US.

Cheers!
Probably too late for son to get through all work from Jan to May to sit the IB, but good to know for my daughter.
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 3:43 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Hi Nutmegger, that is a very good point. I do think a move outside NYC would be easier for house, schools and my husband would be willing to face a short commute. He currently commutes around one hour a day each way in the UK, so anything less would be a bonus! However, I think I would enjoy being in the city... if I could just figure out how to do with the schools and rental. I would rather not need a car for everything and with two little kids I wonder if being in the city or in a town would make it easier to meet other mums... any thoughts on places outside NYC where a car is not a must? Thanks!
I have to admit that I had a car even when I lived in NYC! It only came out at the weekends, to get out of town, but I'm a bit of a car person so have always had one. In Westchester and CT, a car is pretty essential. I'm afraid I don't have kids so can't comment on which place would be better for meeting mums. In NYC I met most of my friends through work, and here in CT I have met most of my friends through shared interests, such as volunteering for a canine rescue group. So I think it would be likely that in either place you would meet people whose children are in class with yours.
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Originally Posted by moNYC View Post
Thanks @Loubiblu! Just another question (sorry!!) - for your son sitting GCSEs, if he is going to do an IB course, do you think not having GCSEs would matter when applying to Uni in the UK? I ask because I was looking at some university requirements here and it just says what they expect from IB and some will even say what they expect from a US High School.

Hi Nutmegger, that is a very good point. I do think a move outside NYC would be easier for house, schools and my husband would be willing to face a short commute. He currently commutes around one hour a day each way in the UK, so anything less would be a bonus! However, I think I would enjoy being in the city... if I could just figure out how to do with the schools and rental. I would rather not need a car for everything and with two little kids I wonder if being in the city or in a town would make it easier to meet other mums... any thoughts on places outside NYC where a car is not a must? Thanks!
NYC is a weird place for families IMO, and I would never try to raise a family there. Despite the need for a car, I would think that the suburbs are going to me more family friendly, and networking with other mothers easier. I used to live in Westchester, and it was a nice area, though expensive. If I had to work in New York again I would probably look to move back to Westchester.
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 3:26 am
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Greatschools is a good resource however I found this site better when trying to research NYC schools Insideschools.org: Your independent guide to NYC public schools

We ended up deciding it was better to live in the burbs and OH commute than living in NYC, personal preference.

Our kids were elementary school age so the decision was a little easier, not sure I'd feel comfortable relocating a 15yr old midway through GCSE's as the whole education thing here is so different from the UK.

Your 12 yr old could fit right into 7th/8th grade and then continue through to HS (9th-12th grade) thats presuming you plan to stay for that amount of time.
Good luck
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 6:14 am
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

Thanks everyone! Moving to the burbs does seem a lot more straightforward for houses and schools. I guess I am just worried I will quite isolated with the two little ones. I currently live in the centre of town and never use the car, just put the kids on a sling and pushchair and go to parks, playgroups, music groups, etc.

I am very worried about moving my son just before his GCSEs, but we have done the being apart for 5 or whatever months before and it was terrible for all of us. We will talk to the school about bringing him back to sit his exams in May.

I will check out inside schools also. Thanks!
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 12:34 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

There are towns where you don't need a car all the time. You just need to do some research (says he that hasn't even moved yet!).
You will need a car to get out and about properly though.
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Advice about schools in NYC

I've never lived in New York, but I always had the impression (from what I've read) that the city didn't have very good public schools, but excellent private. I'm sure that is down to location as well (as you will learn oh so well.) School districts tend to have a few (if not several) different schools, depending on how big the district is. Also, it will usually be down to where you live as to what school your children will be in.

I'm sure someone else will come along with more information, but I would think the burbs would have pretty decent mom and baby groups.
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