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Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Old Dec 10th 2009, 8:01 pm
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Default Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Hi All,

Just found out that a proposed 3 year move to our NY office in the New Year is on and now suddenly we've got loads of decisions to make.

I'll be moving with my wife and 2 boys, 7 and 4 and we've decided that although living in Manhattan would be an adventure we don't want to live in the city with the children. I'll be commuting to downtown Manhattan and so New Jersey looks like our best option.

So first issue is schools. We're thinking about Private schools, (Pingry, Peck, Saddle River Day School) anyone have any experience of any of these ?

Do we really need to pay the dollars for this however, or are the Public schools in the right area just as good as the Private ones? Our youngest is very shy do we're a little concerned at throwing him into a big public school.

One other question is area, reading through all the really helpful posts on here most people seem to be in the Chatham, Short Hills, Summit sort of area rather than further north in bergen county? I like to sound of Ridgewood from what I've read on t'internet, am I missing something like a really bad commute from that sort of area or something else ?

Any advice really really appreciated.

TIA
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Old Dec 10th 2009, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Some of the NY'ers will be on soon with some recommendations, but you might also want to check out:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-jersey/

Search for some specific cities are ask some questions there. It's not just for UK expats but for people relocating from all over the country (and world). Pretty good for getting some specifics.
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Old Dec 10th 2009, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
Hi All,

Just found out that a proposed 3 year move to our NY office in the New Year is on and now suddenly we've got loads of decisions to make.

I'll be moving with my wife and 2 boys, 7 and 4 and we've decided that although living in Manhattan would be an adventure we don't want to live in the city with the children. I'll be commuting to downtown Manhattan and so New Jersey looks like our best option.

So first issue is schools. We're thinking about Private schools, (Pingry, Peck, Saddle River Day School) anyone have any experience of any of these ?

Do we really need to pay the dollars for this however, or are the Public schools in the right area just as good as the Private ones? Our youngest is very shy do we're a little concerned at throwing him into a big public school.

One other question is area, reading through all the really helpful posts on here most people seem to be in the Chatham, Short Hills, Summit sort of area rather than further north in bergen county? I like to sound of Ridgewood from what I've read on t'internet, am I missing something like a really bad commute from that sort of area or something else ?

Any advice really really appreciated.

TIA
My daughter went to Peck Grades 6 to 8 and Pingry Grades 9 to 12. Both are excellent schools and normally have long waiting lists...maybe that's changed due to the economy.

Both are small schools...my daughter didn't have any problems fitting in.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Dec 10th 2009 at 8:39 pm.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:03 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
Hi All,

Just found out that a proposed 3 year move to our NY office in the New Year is on and now suddenly we've got loads of decisions to make.

I'll be moving with my wife and 2 boys, 7 and 4 and we've decided that although living in Manhattan would be an adventure we don't want to live in the city with the children. I'll be commuting to downtown Manhattan and so New Jersey looks like our best option.

So first issue is schools. We're thinking about Private schools, (Pingry, Peck, Saddle River Day School) anyone have any experience of any of these ?

Do we really need to pay the dollars for this however, or are the Public schools in the right area just as good as the Private ones? Our youngest is very shy do we're a little concerned at throwing him into a big public school.

One other question is area, reading through all the really helpful posts on here most people seem to be in the Chatham, Short Hills, Summit sort of area rather than further north in bergen county? I like to sound of Ridgewood from what I've read on t'internet, am I missing something like a really bad commute from that sort of area or something else ?

Any advice really really appreciated.

TIA
I live in Short Hills (although currently at our apartment in Singapore as spouse is on an expat posting there and returning to NJ next week). Our son went to the local schools (Middle school and High school); rated "Blue Ribbon" and the High school is the no.1 in the State of NJ.

The commute is easy, just 30-45 mins into Penn Station on the MidTown Direct so no changes of trains (I think you have to change at Secaucus for the Ridgewood trains) and also with trains going to Hoboken for easy access to Wall Street(there are express trains in peak hours). Newark airport is just 15 mins drive, served by BA, Virgin, Continental to UK and the interstate highways are also very close by.

A friend of ours sends her three boys to Far Brook school but fees are very high (approx the price of a boarding school place in the UK for day schools) but then again the husband is an investment banker....
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 5:40 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Thanks all for your responses.

Englishmum, when you say Blue Ribbon, is that an official designation or more just of a common term given to very good schools? ie should I be googling for that?
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 5:42 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
Thanks all for your responses.

Englishmum, when you say Blue Ribbon, is that an official designation or more just of a common term given to very good schools? ie should I be googling for that?
http://www.state.nj.us/education/clear/blue/
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
Thanks all for your responses.

Englishmum, when you say Blue Ribbon, is that an official designation or more just of a common term given to very good schools? ie should I be googling for that?
If you Google New Jersey high school rankings you'll come up with various top schools...depending on which you look at. I don't think private schools are included in these or the ones in the link Sally posted.

Private schools are extremely expensive here. Fees will be well over $20K per year...on top of that there are many extras and you will be expected to contribute to the annual giving...which again is not cheap.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Dec 11th 2009 at 8:53 pm.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
Thanks all for your responses.

Englishmum, when you say Blue Ribbon, is that an official designation or more just of a common term given to very good schools? ie should I be googling for that?
I just wanted to quote the short one. I live one town over from Englishmum. Millburn, Summit, Short Hills and Chatham are all along the same train line with a direct route into Manhattan. If it were me and I could afford to move a couple of towns up the line, I'd probably pick Millburn, Summit or Short Hills. I have friends in Chatham, and from what they say, it sounds like a pretty dull place filled with Stepford Wives. Good public schools, though, in all those towns.

Good luck on your move! I'll probably see you on the train sometime!
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 2:08 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by Foley Roader View Post
I like to sound of Ridgewood from what I've read on t'internet, am I missing something like a really bad commute from that sort of area or something else ?
I grew up in Ridgewood and went through the middle school and high school system. It is a very good school system, although it's very competitive. Property taxes tend to be quite high, hence the great school system.

It's also a gorgeous area -- great little town centre, residents tend to be owners and take great care of the house and surrounding property, and it's pretty central to most everything in northern NJ.

I can't speak to the commute time into the city from Ridgewood as I left R'wood as soon as I graduated high school (in 2002), but I do know that many residents commute daily into the city, so it's doable. The commuter train will take you to Secaucus or Hoboken, and it's just a quick hop across the river into NYC.

I don't live there because I couldn't afford it, but it's a really lovely town -- my parents chose R'wood specifically for the school system, although they've remained there even as empty-nesters. If it's in your budget, R'wood is a very safe bet.


Top NJ High Schools 2008: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns_...s-by-rank.html

Last edited by beatle2102; Dec 12th 2009 at 2:14 am. Reason: Added top NJ schools link
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 12:24 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

basically, any town in northern bergen county, nj, will be excellent for you to live and send your children to great schools...Be aware that NJ has the second highest residential taxes in the nation.
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 1:10 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

We have 2 children at Pingry; it is a very good school.

I was trying to work out from your childrens' ages what grades they would be in, I would guess pre-K and grade 2?

If so, this could be perfect as Pingry has entry years for Kindergarten and Grade 3.

You will need to apply ASAP however as their applications close (may already have done so) early and interviews etc take place in Feb, I think.

We have friends with children at Peck and also at the Chatham public schools. These are also excellent - Peck seemed less of an issue actually getting into and obviously, the public schools are open to all.

Notwithstanding Ridski's comment, Chatham is a nice little place, but then so are Madison, Short Hills and Summit..... you can't really go too far wrong with these places..

Best of luck!

Tony
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by COKOLISO View Post
basically, any town in northern bergen county, nj, will be excellent for you to live and send your children to great schools...Be aware that NJ has the second highest residential taxes in the nation.
Has it changed in 2009...I was under the impression NJ has the highest property taxes in the US?
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Thanks to everyone again.

Looks like Im still in time for the application deadlines, thanks for pointing that out Swisstony.

Everything I hear is that the Public schools are great compared to the U.K as long as you pick the right school area (with equally high taxes) and so we will definitely be looking at that option as well. Although it all seems to get a bit complex as once you pick the school you've got to find a house in the right area. As as we'll be renting at least at the start I imagine getting the perfect mix of perfect school and perfect house is gonna be tricky.
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 11:27 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

I heard recently that Louisianna is now the number one...then NJ. By the way, any town in Northern Bergen County is 45 min by train to Manhattan. The transportation in the area is excellent. Cheers.
coko.
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Moving to New Jersey, school and area questions ??

Originally Posted by COKOLISO View Post
I heard recently that Louisianna is now the number one...then NJ. By the way, any town in Northern Bergen County is 45 min by train to Manhattan. The transportation in the area is excellent. Cheers.
coko.
Trouble is the shops are closed on Sundays in Bergen County.
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