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Schools in Orange County, CA

Schools in Orange County, CA

Old Apr 25th 2018, 10:55 pm
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Default Schools in Orange County, CA

Hi
I am considering moving to Orange County (Irvine area most probably) from central London mainly to enjoy the good weather, better facilities for children and general lifestyle. At the same time my dilemma is moving my 12 year old who is currently at CLSG in London to an OC high school. I can see that the rankings are fairly good but then is this really worth taking her out of one of the best girl's schools in UK at this stage? I know that she is inclined to go to US for university anyway but I am very confused about the schools and their performance in OC while currently she enjoys a US university counsellor at her school for example and it is highly likely that she can get to a good American university from here. Having said that I have two more girls at 2 years and 10 months and what they can get in CA at early age excites me a lot. Staying here in London means school fees and post-Brexit uncertainties. Very much appreciate any guidance on schools in general and specifically if it is wise to move my Y7 daughter from London to OC.

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Old Apr 25th 2018, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Welcome to BE. Are you a US citizen, or are you moving through your job? If not, your first consideration is a visa, not schools!
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Old Apr 25th 2018, 11:06 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Thanks Nutmegger! British citizen with business interests in CA. I am planning to move through employment.
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Old Apr 25th 2018, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by Amir77 View Post
Thanks Nutmegger! British citizen with business interests in CA. I am planning to move through employment.
With that knowledge, I’m sure some CA folks will soon be along to assist you. Good luck!
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

You have successfully listed the top two reasons to be in OC. Weather and facilities. If you're rich then you can add lifestyle too! Also outdoor spaces and food choices would be next on my list.

However education. Well... IMHO would be somewhere down the bottom of the list.

My wife (who was a UK teacher at all grades) compares the education system here to how it was in a pre-national curriculum school in the 1980's. It's old fashioned and backwards in many ways compared to the UK.

Kids start later in the system. They don't learn phonics and they don't start reading till they're 6. Even then they are only doing a few hours a day.
They teach a very narrow range of subjects. They do a LOT of history and PE, and fractions.

In elementary school teachers within each school can teach how they want. So they are all different. Some set homework. Some don't bother. Some teachers are great, some dire. The Greatschools rating is at best an estimate. Schools in the Irvine area have high ratings. They have high Asian populations which is good for scores. Once they get to high school they study their native tongue to bump their grades up some more. There are lots of tricks going on!

My eldest is going into High School in September. He'll be studying 6 subjects and one of those is PE. He's at the top end of grades too. It's a real learning experience for us.
My guess is your daughter from the private school will be bored or think its a nice doss (depending on her character of course!). My eldest boys coasted for 2 years as they are lazy, whilst still getting top grades.

They do of course have private schools. But they don't have to publish any test scores so they don't show up on Greatschools etc. Public sector schools often have larger budgets than private ones. It's not like in the UK where a private school is more or less a guarantee of success through school (as long as they work hard).

And US universities... a bachelor is 4 years. The first 2 are still more or less general studies and are often done cheap at a local community college. Getting into them is down to a continually accessed figure called a GPA. They get these per subject. However that is only part of it. There are so many applications colleges also look for how many years kids have been doing voluntary work, which sports teams they are on, what they do for their church etc.
I'm sure people will have more on the college entry side of things for you.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 12:31 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Many thanks for your comprehensive response. I think we all give up certain things in return of other things and in our case it is just getting away from London, which we do love but is becoming a problematic place with three kids, to a more comfortable place to raise a family.
I think my daughter will take a hit at the start but then she should adjust really quickly at this age to the new system and as you say probably better in certain areas while needs to catch up in others. But what makes me optimistic is the two little girls can start from scratch in that system and enjoy other aspect of CA life. This is another issue that if anyone had any thought I'd like to know. Private nurseries or public ones? Costs of private ones seem quite higher than London.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by Amir77 View Post
Hi
I am considering moving to Orange County (Irvine area most probably) from central London mainly to enjoy the good weather, better facilities for children and general lifestyle. At the same time my dilemma is moving my 12 year old who is currently at CLSG in London to an OC high school. I can see that the rankings are fairly good but then is this really worth taking her out of one of the best girl's schools in UK at this stage? I know that she is inclined to go to US for university anyway but I am very confused about the schools and their performance in OC while currently she enjoys a US university counsellor at her school for example and it is highly likely that she can get to a good American university from here. Having said that I have two more girls at 2 years and 10 months and what they can get in CA at early age excites me a lot. Staying here in London means school fees and post-Brexit uncertainties. Very much appreciate any guidance on schools in general and specifically if it is wise to move my Y7 daughter from London to OC.
Hi, I have a different situation but with some similarities. I am relocating to Florida and also moving my 12 year old daughter (currently in UK yr 7). I have the option to 'keep her down' so she's with her own aged peers and start her in grade 7 in August, or she could start grade 8 (as she will have completed year 7 in UK). Tough choice...not yet decided. She is quite advanced in her current school and in the top stream, so I am leaning towards the latter however she will be the youngest by quite a few months in that year group.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 3:52 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

I would agree that starting from scratch is easier as the child doesn't know any different. However it is also then double frustrating as a parent to see how sloooow they start here when you've seen older kids learn so rapidly in the UK system. But once you're in the system you have to just get on with it and get as much out of it as you can. If they end up graduating from a place known around the world that will potentially open doors for them wherever they go.

Private nurseries are extortionate around here, and they are still just playing in the sandpit.
Actually everything is extortionate in OC. House prices, rents, supermarkets, gas (petrol), electricity, car insurance, property tax, taxes, tradesmen ($200 an hour for a plumber). Eating out is cheaper though! LoL

In case you think I must be an American hater - we went back to the UK a few weeks ago and I found the places dismal and depressing and I couldn't wait to get back here!
Just make sure you go into things with your eyes wide open, or as open as they can be.

As my boss says... "someone has to pay for the sunshine"
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by karenkaren1 View Post
Hi, I have a different situation but with some similarities. I am relocating to Florida and also moving my 12 year old daughter (currently in UK yr 7). I have the option to 'keep her down' so she's with her own aged peers and start her in grade 7 in August, or she could start grade 8 (as she will have completed year 7 in UK). Tough choice...not yet decided. She is quite advanced in her current school and in the top stream, so I am leaning towards the latter however she will be the youngest by quite a few months in that year group.
That's exactly what we were discussing with my wife this morning and I don't have an answer to that. On one hand it seems that our children in UK are more advanced but at the same time I understand that full subjects are taught in one year in US rather than gradual throughout years which will be a problem. So if pupils in UK learn geometry in 2/3 years, in US they stick to this one subject in the whole year and go as advanced as pre-university level. So it all goes down to how much of the subjects they can cover specially areas like history that they have not had any exposure. The main question though is if the US school would even allow jumping classes like this.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by Marc_ely View Post
I would agree that starting from scratch is easier as the child doesn't know any different. However it is also then double frustrating as a parent to see how sloooow they start here when you've seen older kids learn so rapidly in the UK system. But once you're in the system you have to just get on with it and get as much out of it as you can. If they end up graduating from a place known around the world that will potentially open doors for them wherever they go.

Private nurseries are extortionate around here, and they are still just playing in the sandpit.
Actually everything is extortionate in OC. House prices, rents, supermarkets, gas (petrol), electricity, car insurance, property tax, taxes, tradesmen ($200 an hour for a plumber). Eating out is cheaper though! LoL

In case you think I must be an American hater - we went back to the UK a few weeks ago and I found the places dismal and depressing and I couldn't wait to get back here!
Just make sure you go into things with your eyes wide open, or as open as they can be.

As my boss says... "someone has to pay for the sunshine"
I am happy for them to get free education at a slower pace but live next to a sunny beach and then maybe get them a tutor from time to time. But what you say about graduating from a well-know school is a bit concerning. My impression is that this is actually a British problem that for example Oxbridge will look at your secondary school while for example graduating from some OC school does not have any effect on getting into Ivy League per se unless it is academically weak. Is this right?
On cost, I am comparing everything to central London and apart from grocery it all ends up cheaper. I just came back from OC and life seemed cheaper in general except stuff like baby milk, nappies, general grocery. But then clothing, gas, rents, utilities all seemed cheaper than London. Does this comparison make sense?
I'm with you on UK though I love London and throughly enjoy the ability to walk rather than driving and everything one gets here but then with three kids between OC or Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and the rest I guess OC wins
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by Amir77 View Post
On cost, I am comparing everything to central London and apart from grocery it all ends up cheaper. I just came back from OC and life seemed cheaper in general except stuff like baby milk, nappies, general grocery. But then clothing, gas, rents, utilities all seemed cheaper than London. Does this comparison make sense?
Gas, of the heating/cooking kind, is cheap. Gas, of the petrol kind, is also cheap but you will drive a lot more so it cancels out.

Add on AC (->electricity) which you probably don't have in London. That can add on a few hundred $$$ a month in summer, depending on how efficient the house is at staying cool and how cool you wish to remain.

TV can be $250+ a month if you like your sports and latest movies. Cut the cord and it could be less than $50 (but add on Netflix if you want something).
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Being right at the top academically is only part of getting into college. Any college. I don't know much about acceptance to Ivy league colleges other than the acceptance rate is between 5% and 10%. I don't think any of them are in CA so you'd be on their out of state fees schedule. You might want to post a separate thread to ask about that stuff as lots of people on here have put their kids through college and there are some academics too.

Compared to central London you are probably right on costs. I was from semi rural Cambridgeshire.

Certain areas do have walk-able bits.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post
Gas, of the heating/cooking kind, is cheap. Gas, of the petrol kind, is also cheap but you will drive a lot more so it cancels out.

Add on AC (->electricity) which you probably don't have in London. That can add on a few hundred $$$ a month in summer, depending on how efficient the house is at staying cool and how cool you wish to remain.

TV can be $250+ a month if you like your sports and latest movies. Cut the cord and it could be less than $50 (but add on Netflix if you want something).
You’re right, spent $150 on gas driving failry normal distsnces in two weeks. Also I didnt know about AC because i though it doenst get that hot even during summer. Not into tv much but happy with high speed internet and netflix.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by Amir77 View Post
But what you say about graduating from a well-know school is a bit concerning. My impression is that this is actually a British problem that for example Oxbridge will look at your secondary school while for example graduating from some OC school does not have any effect on getting into Ivy League per se unless it is academically weak. Is this right?
I'm in the process of touring various universities including Ivy Leagues for my daughter.

It's almost a disadvantage to come from a 'good' high school when applying for college. Admissions looks at what is offered by your school, and how you have done in comparison. So my daughter is at a very academic school that tends to get high grades and offers AP exams, so she is expected to have done better in her subjects and got more APs than some from a less academic 'pushy' school. As it should be.

Most of them (although not CalTech) look also at what you've done in terms of leadership, persistence, coping with disadvantage, sports, etc.

Bear in mind that the UC college system includes fairly prestigious schools like UC Berkeley and UCLA, and that if you already live in California the cost of going to these colleges will be $23k less than if you don't live in California. Also non-California residents generally do not qualify for need-based financial aid (you might think you wouldn't qualify anyway, but we've been looking at it and it goes up to a pretty high income).

Private colleges work differently in terms of financial aid - they do not particularly care which state you come from.
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Old Apr 26th 2018, 5:55 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Orange County, CA

Originally Posted by karenkaren1 View Post
Hi, I have a different situation but with some similarities. I am relocating to Florida and also moving my 12 year old daughter (currently in UK yr 7). I have the option to 'keep her down' so she's with her own aged peers and start her in grade 7 in August, or she could start grade 8 (as she will have completed year 7 in UK). Tough choice...not yet decided. She is quite advanced in her current school and in the top stream, so I am leaning towards the latter however she will be the youngest by quite a few months in that year group.
At age 12 I would keep her with her academic level rather than her age group. I say this only because at 12 my daughter was very very bored at middle school, and I now wish she had skipped a grade. She would have been younger than some of her grade by 16 months, but I think she would have been much happier.

Instead we sent her to a magnet STEM high school which doesn't take your age/grade into account when placing you in subjects, and works on placement testing and ability.
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