moving back to new york: help decide!

In ALL, NEW YORK, RAISING HOPS INTO BEERS, RELOCATING by Stephanie Klein113 Comments

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Planning Stages in Chalk
We originally moved to Boca Raton, Florida for a job opportunity Phil couldn’t pass up. Now, we’re moving to New York with the same explanation. The reason Phil has been in New York for two weeks, back to Florida for a week, then off to New York for another two weeks is because he’s taken a new job—working with my father in Queens, New York. There’s a lot going on in our family now, health issues—not my father, not Phil, but family—and we want to be there, to be close to the ones we love (Phil’s parents live in Queens; my dad is in Manhasset. All our cousins are in New York, not to mention Smelly, Alexandra, and Dulce). My father is looking to spend less time at the office, and who better to learn the family business than the father of his grandchildren? Phil was actually born to do this job. He officially began in February and neither he, nor my father, could be happier. My dad loves Phil. Loves.

So, where in New York exactly? Manhattan? Brooklyn? Bayside? Long Island? Westchester? Or perhaps a suburb in New Jersey? In coming to a decision—we’re still making one!—there were two factors that bubbled to the top of our priorities list: the school district and the commute. First we looked at Phil’s commute to Queens, no where near, not even close, to a subway or train line, so towns like Port Washington, Long Island, were out of the question. We considered Rye, New York, but again, having to take two bridges to work killed that deal. Same goes for Jersey. Then there was the option of Manhattan. We were both on the fence about taking our suburban kids who, up until this point, have lived with land and stairs, a yard, riding bikes and playing tag, as I watched them from a kitchen window. In truth, I think the adjustment back to city life would be harder on me than them. Unless we had an unlimited budget, I think Manhattan would be too hard with kids. Nothing’s impossible, but when I imagine our future, I see my own past—a childhood of catching inchworms off trees, of picking buds off bushes, of having a playroom and piano that was our own private world of make believe. Still, we were on the fence about it, so we looked into New York City schools.

To be considered for the Gifted and Talented schools, the children would have had to be tested a year ago, with a New York City address, obviously not an option. Fine. But here’s what’s not fine: they would both be required to skip kindergarten completely. Because of birthday cutoffs in New York City schools (which includes Brooklyn and all of Queens), a five year old child cannot turn six years old at any time during the year of enrollment. For example, if a five year old is entering kindergarten in September 2012, s/he may not turn six years old at any time in 2012. So, Lucas and Abigail would be required to skip kindergarten. Studies have proven (Oh, Malcolm Gladwell, you drive red-shirting hyper-parenting parents crazy) that those who are youngest in their grade are at a statistically significant disadvantage.

I consulted with Lucas and Abigail’s current teachers who recommended, strongly, that the children not skip kindergarten. The best advantage you can give them is going into school confident. “You also don’t want them to be the last to drive, with them getting into the cars of their friends.” Crazy that we’re talking about driving and SAT scores just as kids are learning to write “sat” in their journals. Currently, both the kids can read and sound out words phonetically. I didn’t realize that kids did this before starting kindergarten. But throwing them into first grade, despite where they are now academically, isn’t an option.

The school cutoff dates are different outside of New York City public schools. In Long Island, for example, the children would be placed into kindergarten, where they belong. So New York City schools aren’t an option, which means neither is living in Brooklyn or Manhattan or even Douglaston, Queens. Which leaves us to Long Island, where I was born and raised. But which town?

Jericho. It’s the best school district on Long Island, hands down (99% in math, 91% reading comprehension). It’s district is ranked 3rd in all of New York state. But. But it’s a schlep and a half, at exit 40 on the Long Island Expressway, for Phil. The drive from Roslyn to Jericho, for example, is at least an extra 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the weather and traffic. If we took the place we’re considering, with low ceilings in The Hamlet East, a condo community zoned for Robert Seaman Elementary school (k-5th grade, ranked 8th in all of New York elementary schools), it would likely mean all of Boca Raton, just with colder weather. It’s the same people, though I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Another option, 20-40 minutes closer to Phil’s work, is a beautiful home in Roslyn Estates, where the kids would be zoned for “The Heights,” Roslyn Heights Elementary School, which consists of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade only. Then kids continue on to East Hills Elementary for grades 2-5. Let’s look at the numbers…

ROBERT SEAMAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, JERICHO
SchoolDigger Ranks Robert Seaman Elementary School 8th of 2293 New York public elementary schools.
SchoolDigger ranks Jericho Union Free School District 3rd of 683 New York school districts
Average Math Score: 99.0
Average Reading Score: 91.5
Total Students (2009 – 2010): 315 – Grades K-5
African American: 3 (1%)
American Indian: 0 (0%)
Asian: 44 (14%)
Hispanic: 10 (3.2%)
Pacific Islander: 0 (0%)
Two or more races: 0 (0%)
White: 258 (81.9%)

Fulltime teachers: 38.4
Student/Teacher Ratio: 8.2
Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 0.6%

EAST HILLS SCHOOL, ROSLYN
SchoolDigger Ranks East Hills School 191st of 2293 New York public elementary schools.
SchoolDigger ranks Roslyn Union Free School District 41st of 683 New York school districts.
Average Math Score: 86.5
Average Reading Score: 80.0

Total Students (2009 – 2010): 563 – Grades 2-5
African American: 28 (5%)
American Indian: 0 (0%)
Asian: 94 (16.7%)
Hispanic: 46 (8.2%)
Pacific Islander: 0 (0%)
Two or more races: 0 (0%)
White: 394 (70%)

Fulltime teachers: 40
Student/Teacher Ratio: 14
Eligible for discounted/free lunch: 12.5%

FYI: East Williston School District, where I went to public school, ranks 14th of 683 New York school districts.

It’s not all about numbers, though. There’s the emphasis on arts and sciences, I get it. There’s the people! Though, I have a feeling, and I could be wrong, that the people in Jericho are the same people in Roslyn, are the same people in East Williston and Manhasset… give or take a few rosary beads.

Here’s where priorities get in the way. We are renting a home for a year before jumping in to buy (imagine if we hadn’t done this in Florida?), and ideally, I’d prefer not having to yank the kids out of a school district once they’ve begun. So ideally this choice is one to which we’d stick. Phil believes that IT’S KINDERGARTEN! Who cares if they go to 1st grade in a new school?! It doesn’t truly matter until middle school. That’s when you don’t want to go yanking. But first second grade? Kids are resilient.

Yes, but. But change is hard on all of us. It’s stressful. We’ve taken them from Texas, to Florida, and now to New York. Then one school and house, then another house… a move… plus yet another new school? Am I making more of this than I should be?

I try to remind myself of this: that the most successful people in this world are those who can move through the chambers of change with ease. Who can be at ease with new unknown situations knowing there’s a flow, knowing that they’ll eventually get their footing, then push hard toward succeeding, then be on top, only to start back at square one. It’s the cycle we go through so many times in our lives, with health, with school, with friends, at jobs, in romantic relationships even. With death and grief, with changes, period. And it will be our job as parents to help our children navigate these stages of change so they learn to feel comfortable with transience. It’s one of the, if not the best, lessons any of us can learn. But then I flip back to the phrase, “Kids need stability to feel safe.”

These aren’t the most important decisions I’ll make, but they are what I’m up against now. And I’d LOVE some insight from readers on this. We need to decide soon. We may choose neither Jericho or Roslyn, perhaps we’ll keep looking at Manhasset or East Williston, but now that we’ve narrowed it down to Jericho and Roslyn in terms of acceptable rental homes, we’d love to just decide now… while the homes are actually available. Our move-out date in Boca: JULY FIRST!

Phil wants Roslyn but phoned me to say “I’m willing to do Jericho if and only if we assess that drive and if it’s too much for me, that’s it. Not a consideration going forward.”

I want Jericho but phoned Phil to say, “I’m willing to do Roslyn if and only if we assess the school district and feel like it’s not the best we can do, that we’ll buy in Jericho instead.”

So, we’re both willing to bend and neither of us will break. But I do hate the idea of his driving an extra half hour to get home, all cranky from sitting in traffic. And it means more time for me with the kids, helping with homework, etc. without relief. It means less time with their father. It’s not an easy decision. We need to make one within the next few days. Your help on this would be awesome (both homes are the same price, though the condo has a community pool, tennis and gym included). Also, both homes are only for a year.

Comments

  1. YAY!!! You’re coming back! I’ll drink to that. I will also send you a separate email re: schools because if there is one thing I know it’s schools in NY.

  2. Hey Stephanie,

    Consider the town where I grew up, Floral Park, it’s on the Queens/Nassau border. Close enough to walk to city bus lines, and the LIRR. Very nice town, and I think the schools are good.

  3. Do I have an insight into this? OH YES! We moved 13 times before I graduated from high school! No, not military – my constant uprooting was a result of a father in retail (surprising, right?) and then my parent’s divorce.

    My personal experience is that as a young child, it was pretty easy to move around. New friends, new bedrooms to decorate and I always had my sisters for company until I made connections. I would say that it began to be difficult around 10 years old. Then it was hard to think about starting over again and even worse, always being the new kid.

    As far as effects on me as an adult? I am quick to make friends. I am always the one to reach out to the new employee at work or new neighbor on the street. I have no fear of traveling alone, or eating by myself in a restaurant or exploring a new neighborhood alone and I love that about myself. That said, I desperately miss not having a ‘home’ to go home to when its the holidays. My family is now dispersed across the western U.S. and there is no city that feels like home, other than the one I currently live in.

    My suggestion would be to figure it out now, if you can. Don’t worry about the moves you’ve made in the past couple of years – or even making a couple more. As long as you make it fun for them and they can understand what is happening and why, it will be okay. Especially because you are moving closer to family. But get it figured out now, and have a ‘home’ for them by the time they turn 9 or 10. The memories they will have will be irreplaceable!

    Good luck on your new adventure!

  4. This is happy news! I can attest to the fact that being close to family (especially in times of ill-health) is, in fact, huge.

    I’m not familiar enough with the landscape of NY to advise on locations, but will say yes – kindergarten is critically important. Stability comes from you – not necessarily the address. If mama’s happy – everyone’s happy. You do so much supplementation of their education that they’ll be rock-stars.

    How exciting for you to get out of Florida and home where you belong. Will be watching for updates!

  5. My parents live in the Hamlet East. It’s a great location. And honestly, I really don’t think 20-40 minutes to Roslyn. More like 10? And probably a 30 min commute to Queens, although I don’t know exactly where in Queens you are referring to. Right now I commute from Bayside to Melville every day (granted its a “reverse” commute) but it only takes 30 minutes. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  6. My brother Adam (Weinschel) moved to East Hills from Forest Hills a year ago. His son is in kindergarten at the elementary school you mentioned, and his daughter is in the 2s class at Temple Sinai nursery school. His son is gifted and has a wonderful teacher who works with him at his level. Adam loves living there, even though he said that it was an adjustment. The kids love it. He commutes to Manhattan from the Roslyn station. And it’s not too far from the LIRR, which can take Phil into Queens, where he can catch a subway. Or it’s a quick car ride to Douglaston from either Roslyn or Jericho.

    I agree that the kids shouldn’t skip kindergarten. So come back to Long Island! Right now the Roslyn district is better than E. Williston, even though you know that we got a great education there. :) Does the Roslyn district have SWS? I dont’ think so.

    Good luck to you! It will be nice to have you back in NY.

    1. Author

      The train is not an option for Phil. Where he works in Queens is nowhere near the subway or the LIRR. The only way for him to get to work is via car. I am very VERY excited to be heading back to New York!

      1. It sucks that he’ll have to drive, but it’s not far. My dad drove in to Manhattan from RH for years and liked it better than taking the train from Manhasset. He said that weekday driving wasn’t as stressful since people know where they’re going and how to drive in traffic. Phil will also find a ton of alternate routes to get around the traffic. You seem so happy about the move! I’m happy for you and your family! Who knows, maybe you’ll see Adam around the neighborhood if you end of in Roslyn? His son plays for Albertson soccer, and their practices are at Wheatley. He said that that is one of the weirdest things about moving back to where he grew up.

  7. lover, I don’t really have a solid opinion just that you have done your homework and should assess everything like you said and see if one comes up undoable. A question, Where exactly does all your family live in relation as I know that’s a BIG reason for being there and will help you both tremendously in having your own grown up life on the weekends sometimes. Best of luck in deciding! The kids will be fine in either place:)
    xx

    1. Author

      The home in Jericho is 20 miles from Phil’s work, and 7.7 miles from my Dad and Carol, 14 miles from Phil’s parents.
      The home in Roslyn is 14 miles from Phil’s work, and 2.7 miles from my Dad and Carol, 8.5 miles from Phil’s parents.

      The distance between Roslyn and Jericho is approx 8.8 miles (not 6), which at 2pm, not rush hour, that distance takes 17 minutes.

      1. Short of tossing a coin, both school systems seem good. With that in mind, I’d opt for the solution that would be more stress-free for Phil. His heart condition doesn’t need additional stress. Since it’s only for a year, perhaps the condo with the pool, etc. would be better for the kids.

        1. Author

          The condo with pool and gym are in Jericho, which is 20 minutes of added driving stress for Phil. So, we’ll likely do Roslyn. Especially after reading these comments.

  8. I grew up in Garden City, which is close(ish) to the city, and has an excellent school system. You should take a closer look. I loved growing up there – very small town feel. Small class sizes in HS. Great community.

    1. Granted, I haven’t lived in NY for a little over a decade, but before I left, very vividly recall being told Garden City does not sell homes to Jewish people. By more than one person. Two of whom lived there. A few of whom were real estate agents. It’d be great if that’s incorrect information, but I think that is worth looking into.

      1. That story about Garden City is not true at all. There is at least one temple there and I know Jewish families that live there.

        1. Thanks for responding to my comment Priscilla- I’m really glad to see that.

  9. Coming from a teacher, consider this Stephanie. First, phil is right to a degree in that kids are resilient. I barely remember switching schools from Kindergarten to Grade 1. I went to different schools for Junior and Senior Kindergarten, at which point I moved to a 3rd school and stayed. So the kids should be fine. In terms of stability, they get that at home, which is most important. They have their parents and grandparents, and familiar objects they love. That provides stability. Also, most schools will allow new students to visit an “open house” to see the school, meet the students and teachers. You also might want to read them books about NYC and make a list of things they will want to visit once you get there. Make it an adventure.

    Now, for the test scores. Take them with a grain of salt. Kids are taught to the test. I live in Canada so the atmosphere is a little different, but any teacher in North America will tell you that they despise the standardized testing. In the U.S., students are trained for weeks, usually beginning in March, on how to “read” the questions and “answer” them in order to achieve the highest score possible. During this time, other subjects like Art and Science are put to the side until after the test date. I have also scored these tests and I can say first hand that they give little to no sense of what a child is capable of. Non-educators will probably disagree, but the tests do not represent a school entirely. Your best bet is to visit the school, talk to the principals and teachers and have them meet Abigail and Lucas. See how they interact with them and consider where you feel “at home”. They will succeed where they are nurtured and encouraged in a positive environment.

    I’m sure both schools will be great for your kids, but you are right in that the drive for Phil…it should be considered as strongly as the schools because traffic is a huge pain. The slightly lower test scores at a school may be a “sacrifice” if Phil can be home happier and earlier.

  10. Congratulations, Stephanie. I’m sure you’ll be far happier in New York than you’ve been in Boca. Just curious, though … will you still call yourself a Texan?

    Cheers!

    1. Author

      Yes, I’ll still call myself a Texan, if for no other reason than to be “different.” Which is absurd, but the cowboy boot fits. With kids who say, “Yes, Ma’am” and, “No thank you, Sir” coupled with y’all, I’ve earned that right.

  11. Hi Stephanie…

    I’m Shannan Reimer’s friend. I thought the same thing about NY Schools and the age limitations with Kindergarten but it’s simply not true. I wish I would have known this 2 years ago…I probably would have kept my son from starting kindergarten for another year….
    Anyway….I know they say can’t be in kindergarten at 6….I recently (2 weeks ago) had a meeting with my son’s elementary school principal who confirmed that this is not a hard rule and they never want to send a kid straight to first grade. Don’t rule out Brooklyn (we live in Dumbo and our son goes to school in Brooklyn Heights- PS-8)….we love it but understand the suburb dilemma. Just like everyone here…we are debating moving out to the suburbs (eventually) for more space and better schools. Staying in the city or Brooklyn almost requires private school tuition which is doable with one child but becomes difficult with two…

    Have you considered the Westchester towns? I think that’s where we would go if/when we do move. Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Scardsdale, Bronxville?

    Good luck!!! I would love to meet you once you get settled back into NY life.

    -Jen

  12. I know I am probably adding fuel to the fire…but, have you considered Plainview/Old Bethpage? That school district is also fantastic and there are amazing homes for sale in that area. And as all of us New Yorker’s know, a rush hour commute can be a killer! Good luck with the decision!

  13. Wow!
    Back to NY for NYNY. I hope continued happiness follows you wherever you go!

    xoxo

  14. Thanks for making me laugh so hard this morning. Your denial is reaching new levels:

    1. A gifted program for Lucas, really? What are you smoking?
    2. Your previous post is about almost divorcing, now Phil is working with your dad?
    3. What happened to Phil’s high flyin career??
    4. How’s the sale of the Texas McMansion going?

    If only you’d post the truth once. Just once.

    1. Author

      1. Actually yes, he tested gifted. Fine motor skills have nothing to do with intelligence. And this mama don’t smoke, despite being smokin’
      2. Phil has been working with my father since February. Regardless of what happens with us romantically, he’ll always be in our lives, as the father to my children.
      3. Phil is working with my father because we need to be in NY for health reasons. His employer in FL is still working with Phil.
      4. The house in Austin is under contract.

      I wish you’d suck on some nice. Just once.

      1. 1. Is she dissing on a *little boy*?! Are you freakin’ *kidding* me?! That’s just flat out LOW.

        “Anon” has posted some jealous doozies (stop reading if you dislike Stephanie so much), but LUCAS?!

        That’s disgusting, “Anon.” (thank goodness for web stats, though, eh, Steph?) ;)

        1. I would not comment on lucas, I snark on Stephanie’s absurdity.

          1. Author

            You would not comment on Lucas? Isn’t that exactly what you did? Perhaps you’re the one who should just be honest for once.

            1. A mom saying her 4 year old tested as gifted? Sounds like a pretentious mom – has nothing to do with the kid. Am only responding as I was trying to comment on you, not your son. Have nothing but hope for them.

              1. Author

                They’re five, and their teachers recommend that everyone in the class be tested. Florida school systems are different than in other parts of the country. One public school, for example, has a “regular” program for children not categorized as gifted. Then there’s a “low gifted,” “medium gifted,” and “gifted gifted” class. THAT is ABSURD. But parents who get their children tested at the recommendation of their child’s teacher are neither pretentious nor absurd… at least not for that act alone.

              2. Hey asshole, here in NY the *school district* tests your child’s IQ at THREE years old if they are getting OT or other services. So her son could absolutely test gifted, which entitles him to special programming in some districts and certainly in NYC schools. She’s not “pretentious” for wanting him to have the programs for which he qualifies.

              3. Why would saying your kid is gifted be pretentious. If they have been tested then it is likely true and therefore a fact, rather than anything else. It is you putting a negative slant on that.

      2. What is the family business? I am so curious! I am SO GODDAMNED JEALOUS! you got to leave Austin (we are still here, hubs is looking for a new job, at this point anywhere we cannot take the heat in the summers, too far from everyone, etc) and is Phily glad to be done with the hedge fund stuff? I have no idea how the economy has affected hedge fund peeps but i DO know that industry would probably have been too stressful for someone with a heart condition, etc.

        JEALOUS! I want to move back east so. much. Good luck

  15. As a mom of two young kids, I think minimizing Phil’s commute so he can get to you and the kids ASAP in the evenings is paramount. We moved from NYC to Westport, Conn. just before our daughter was born in 2008, when my husband was working a few suburban towns away by car. Then, shortly after we bought our home, my husband took a new job back in in NYC and now commutes 90 minutes each way, door to door. I call it planes, trains and automobiles. He has to really struggle to make it home for our 3 year old’s bedtime and almost never sees our 8 month old during the week. He’s generally a very patient, adaptable guy, but the commute is exhausting and frustrating and he misses his family a lot.

    Your children are bright and have committed, involved parents–they’ll excel in either school. I really believe everyone will be happier if you make it easier for both you and Phil to be present together, have family dinners, etc. on a regular basis.

  16. I think the theories about moving them to a different first grade after Kindergarten don’t apply as fully because they have the stability of their twinship. You are getting to town early enough to hunt down some moms and have some play dates to let them meet at least a couple of kids before school starts.

    Too bad the business can’t move. is that something that is possible in the future? Of course, if it is a big factory or a long-term lease, that would never be possible, but if not, why not ramp up the list of goals?

    Be sure to eat at Michy’s at least once before you go. It’s worth it.

    You are going to be so much happier and have such a richer life with this new path. Good for you. Better doctors, culture, schools, just better everything. Enjoy.

  17. Aww, good luck! I can overanalyze school systems for days, and it sounds like you’re a champ, too.
    The only thing I have to add to your very thorough report is a reminder to keep considering, as you already are, the likely outcomes for YOUR kids in a particular setting. It may be more predictive to look at their would-be *peer group* than a district or school as a whole.
    A score of 91.5% sounds better than 80%, but if the odds are nil that your kids will end up in the failing 10% or 8.5%, it’s less of a deciding factor. Point is, they’ll be the cream of the crop wherever you go, and what we all need is a comfortable niche, not a perfect place.
    Also, I need to thank you for this: my kids are just a teense younger than yours and your posts are sometimes an amazing glimpse that helps orient me for just-around-the-bend, better than any guide could. Please never stop writing!

  18. Congrats, that is very exciting! I moved a lot as a young child, and each time I got more and more introverted and quiet. It was hard to be the new kid when I felt like everyone else knew each other already. Maybe it will be easier for the twins because they’ll always have one friend in their grade?

  19. I agree with Justine, and not because we’re both Canadian ; ) The quality of a school can be measured in different ways, and the people placed on your children’s path will make the difference, test scores notwithstanding.

    I’d go with Roslyn, assess after a few months. In my experience, when it comes to commutes, traffic and lifestyles, simpler is better. Your kids have THEIR WHOLE LIVES to compete and be the best. In the meanwhile, give yourself and Phil a bit of a break, non?

    So… does that mean we’ll see you in Montreal sometimes? It’s a short 5 1/2 hour drive… Just sayin’.

  20. I think you’ll love the homes in Roslyn Estates. The community is gorgeous. Beautiful trees, ponds, diversity of houses. (The one next door won’t look like yours.) Easy commute. Easy access to anything and everything you could possibly want. However, it’s not likely you’ll like the people. If you make the effort, you can meet interesting, thought-filled people, but you’re quick to paint a portrait of people with one brush stroke.

    Jericho is known for its school district. It’s highly competitive and the kids are stressed beyond what any child should have to endure. I’d say you’ll find the same culture in Jericho as you will in Roslyn, so you might as well ease up on Phil’s commute and go with Roslyn Estates.

    I looked in The Hamlet. It’s so overgrown with trees the community doesn’t maintain that homes and properties are rarely dry. I was attracted to the pool, etc., but you live life in your home and the townhouses didn’t do it for me at all. Plus, you have kids. Kids equal backyard, which I’m sure you’ll have in Roslyn Estates. Plus the duck pond and playground and library all in the Old Town of Roslyn. I’m sure you can find a pool club to join that isn’t cost prohibitive. (Country Estates Pool and Tennis?)

    Welcome home…

    1. I know a lot of kids who are graduating from Jericho this year. They weren’t stressed compared to all the kids I know in Manhattan–that was stress

      I actually found it amazing how into their classes they were–yes mostly AP classes and how studying was interesting because they were treated as mature people who could learn and wanted to.
      As I graduated from Jericho and hated it I was totally prejudiced against it but…

      1. Author

        I can’t imagine Jericho is much different than where I went to high school (Wheatley in Old Westbury), either. TWO things I really liked about Wheatley:

        1) It was small. You knew every single person in your grade (there were 93 of us in my graduating class I think)… this meant very small classes, where we often sat in a circle, not with a teacher lecturing at a blackboard. This I really liked.
        2) The SWS program was remarkable.

  21. I would strongly recommend that you go to meet with the kindergarten teachers at both districts. If you are planning on renting for a year, and you are happy with Jericho’s kindergarten programs, then you should move there for a year. Long term, you might be happier with Roslyn’s schools and you may want to purchase a home there, but it really isn’t a problem to move the kids from one district to another between kindergarten and first grade. You don’t need all of Jericho’s schools to be excellent, just the kindergarten classes for next year. And it will be easier to make a long term decision once you are in NY and see how Phil adjusts to the job and what the commute is like.

  22. Re: Rye, New York being “two bridges” from Queens…

    It’s only a one-bridge commute from Westchester to Queens; the Throgs Neck or the Whitestone, depending on where in Queens you need to go. The taxes in Rye are absolutely ridiculous, but that’s a whole other issue.

  23. Hi Stephanie,
    If the decision is only between those two districts, I would go with the shorter commute. Your children are young enough that every school year feels like a different world anyway, so if you decide to move somewhere else later, it shouldn’t be a big deal as long as they are still young (up to 8?). That being said, go meet the kindergarten teachers at the school they would attend. Either way, your children will do great because they have great parents.

    1. Author

      Thanks Debby, very sweet. Phil, since he’s in NY as I type this, is meeting with the Principal of Roslyn tomorrow morning. He’s already attended Kindergarten orientation at Seaman, having met other parents and the Principal there. I’m just annoyed that Roslyn doesn’t introduce “the smart board” until first grade, while almost all other districts introduce it in kindergarten. What’s that about? For those who don’t know about the smart board technology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCfmJCSAG70

  24. having grown up in the EW School District gotta say that I love love love living in port washington—it’s like long island, but not…the best town for young families and i think the schools are up there as well…lots of pride and loyalty and people of all sorts..plus living in a ‘water’ town is fun and beautiful!

    1. Author

      Port Washington was actually my first choice, but it’s not an option because of the distance from the LIE. You are a prisoner to one road and the traffic to get to the LIE or Grand Central. It’s just not an option because of that. And the train line, which is awesome, just isn’t an option for Phil. So, as much as I’d love it, Port Washington isn’t an option.

  25. I’m a senior citizen who moved a lot as a young person: my father was a minister and then in the Air Force. I would say that the most important factor in the ease of handling the moves, and new schools, was that both my parents NEVER freaked out and acted stressed over the moves. My brother and I learned it was normal, and not a big deal to relocate periodically. “Home is where you hang your hat”. Humans are VERY resilient but we pick up on the signals of our parents and relatives. Good luck.

  26. Long time no comment. Nothing to say till today. Forget Rye. You don’t want to be a Jew in the Rye public schools. Ditto Bronxville. How about Pelham? High taxes but prob not as high as Nassau. Right over the Bx. border but NOTHING like Yonkers or New Rochelle. Lots of beautiful older homes…Tudors, etc. I was wondering why it came up on my LinkedIn feed that Philip Beer had joined moving industry group. Good luck w/all the upcoming stuff! Save move & travels!

  27. Having grown up in Roslyn, I’m not a fan. Of the schools OR the town. Live in Port now – love it. Sent you an email. I feel like this town in LI’s best kept little secret. Why rule it out?

    1. Author

      I agree. I LOVE Port Washington. A lot. It’s being ruled out because of how far a drive it is from the LIE. Phil won’t even consider it, no matter how many times I bring it up. And my father agrees with him wholeheartedly in terms of the commute. Basically, Phil wants a town that’s super close to the LIE and Grand Central Pkwy.

  28. The commute time to Queens from most neighborhoods in Port would be about the same as from Roslyn Estates (used to live right near Estates). Willis Avenue is the “only road” from Roslyn to the LIE and it’s very busy in the mornings. Port is one exit further West towards Queens and Manhasset, so you make up time there as well.

    It’s about a “draw.” Both are closer than Jericho. GL with whatever you decide.

  29. My husband and I grew up in Great Neck and we moved to East Hills for the community and the schools. We have been here a year and we couldn’t be happier with our choice!

  30. Yay!! I’m so excited for you!! I went back through and read it twice, but is this a permanent move, or just for one year as someone else mentioned?

    1. Author

      I’m excited, too. No, the move to New York is NOT planned for a single year. It’s just that we plan to rent a home for a year before buying, to be sure we’re happy with the school and specific town within New York.

  31. I am not sure I have much to contribute other than to say, don’t pay too much attention to the test scores. The book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education” looks closely at the testing models that were/are employed in New York that became the model for No Child Left Behind and they’re really a bunch of hogwash.

    That’s all I’ve really got. Good luck!

    1. Author

      I think you’re right. It has been a concern of mine, the whole “teaching to the test” thing. But then again, that’s what the SAT prep classes are for, too. At a certain point they test you on how well you can take a test and not on what you actually know. But these standardized test scores DO in a large part determine where you go to college, the connections you’ll make there, etc.

      My gut instinct about Jericho, though, is a fear that the kids will get stressed out by how competitive it is. That *I* will get stressed out over how competitive it is. I want no part of that. It’s what I adore so much about Austin. It just doesn’t have that competitive spirit, not that I’ve seen. No one gives a shit what car you drive or in which town you live. They don’t care who makes your bag or earrings. I love how cool and interesting everyone is. I wish I could move the people of Austin to Long Island.

  32. So happy for you that you’re moving back to ny! You will be so much happier

    1. Author

      I happen to agree. Boca just isn’t the town for me. As much of a gorgeous community it is, and the weather is something about which one could become religious, it’s missing soul and funk. Artsy. Different. I’m not sure Long Island is much different, but my holiday dinners, at least, will be jam packed! I can’t wait for that!

      1. My comment comes from having lived in Miami for several years, so I have first hand knowledge of the beautiful weather and not so beautiful personalities. Never lived in NY, but it seems much more you

      2. I totally agree with ur comment as I lived in boynton for 7 years and before that nycity for 15.. It defiantly lacked the flavor and culture and was simply boring..!

  33. Hey Stephanie,

    Glad you are moving to NY. Don’t worry, kids adapt and are resilient and changing schools and districts won’t be a problem if they continue to feel loved and supported. They can always see their friends they made at the old school on weekends the following year if you do change schools, they will still be in the same city.

    Stephanie, have you considered a Montessori school? Montessori schools generally work very well with advanced children and most of the children in Montessori schools (from my experience) are beyond their peers at conventional schools. It seems a very good system that works well for gifted children and allows them to continue to advance at their own pace.

    Good luck with the decisions.

    1. Author

      You KNOW I’m all about Montessori… for a mother who did NOT choose a Montessori preschool for her children. But these private schools are few and far between on Long Island. I try after school to do Montessori activities with them, anything hands on and organized. I truly believe we learn best with the Waldorf Steiner approach to learning–“a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks.” It would be a dream to send them to a Waldorf school where there’s an acknowledgment of the mind body connection, that people learn better when they are moving! Ever see Akeelah and the Bee? It totally makes sense to me. Plus, Abigail squirms a lot in class and I think she’d really benefit from this type of education–and NOT one that makes her “sit in your seat!” as she learns.

      I believe we all have a nature, a way we were born. And instead of fighting it, we should roll with it, those inclinations most natural to us. Shoving children into pegs kills imagination and originality.

  34. Wish you the best with your move; the Fredericksburg peach stands are up on 360. Thought of you!

  35. so happy for you!! Like the more diversified ethnic mix in roslyn! and I hate those uber competitive towns…who needs that? Welcome back north!

  36. Stephanie,

    Have you considered home-schooling for kindergarten? As for the touch screen/smart board concept – use an IPAD – I am sure you could probably buy these lessons from the home school products and do the same thing yourself.

    As for friends – as I observe my niece and nephew – they are completely different. My niece formed her friendships from school and my nephew formed his friends from the neighborhood and baseball (he started playing at 5 or 6). I definitely agree that about 8 or 9 kids have formed some good connections and you want to be settled on a school by then.

    That being said, short commute for Phil, homeschool the kids, get the kids involved in swim team (yes even at 6) and baseball/soccer and have fun being close to your family.

  37. Welcome back to NYC! I have to say that you have handled all these moves beautifully. It’s not easy for the mom to remain upbeat for the kids’ sakes during the stress of uprooting. Wish you the best; maybe you can teach a writing workshop part time at some point. You would definitely draw in a lot of students.

    1. Author

      I’ve been toying with this idea. Having just finished a writing workshop, I really felt so helpful and joyous after each class, knowing my feedback was really helping people… it’s a great feeling. I loved the debates and ideas. I might go there. I’ll also, for sure, take a workshop again. Perhaps in my old hood near the Columbus Street JCC.

  38. Darn it, I really hoped your next move was to Atlanta. ;-) I’d give my left boob to move within spittin’ distance of the greatest city in the world. I echo the sentiment of wherever you choose, the kids will be fine, because of their parents. Best of luck!

  39. Why not Port Washington? Also such an easy drive to Queens. SO much more diverse and so much more of a real town than any of the other places you mentioned…I grew up there and really appreciate the place now…am glad my parents have stayed.

    1. Author

      Work on Phil for me, would ya? He has said it in twelve languages so far: No. He strongly believes that the commute from Port Washington to where he needs to be in Queens would be unbearable. I can’t even get him to even TRY the drive (I grew up in East Williston and would absolutely jet off to catch a film at Soundview theaters in Port like it was nothing. I’m not driving every day to Queens, and I’m not sure I get it, why it’s such an appalling idea to him. Because I do love Port Washington probably most of all of Long Island. It’s the least amount of Long Island IN Long Island. Great train branch, too. Main street, all of it. Such a nice mix too. Manhasset is mostly Catholic. Great Neck is mostly Persian Jews. Garden City is old school WASP living. These towns have stereotypes in their whip-stitched pockets. But Port Washington isn’t all that, which is what I was looking for after living in a town where every house and housewife look pretty much the same. “Diversity” implies race and religion, socioeconomic factors, but I’m talking even the diversity of body type! All the women don’t drive their kids to school in matchy matchy workout wear. They don’t all have the same manicure or manners. Different upbringings, different opinions, people who race out the door in reindeer pajama flannels, just to get the kids to school on time. Port Washington is probably the closest I’ll get to finding Austin living. Am I deluded here to think that people in port are “over it.” Whatever “it” turned up for them years ago, whatever it that was so ten minutes ago. I feel like the people of Port Washington have the ability to see through the bullshit without making anyone feel as if they’ve just stepped in it. People in Port are looser, Free To Be You and Me people… my people.
      But Phil says it’s too far a commute for him. I wish he’d explain it better so I could understand.

      1. I have no idea what Phil is talking about, and I do this commute myself. Roslyn, Port and Manhasset all have “one road” each out of town.

        Maybe Phil does not understand that Port Washington continues all the way to Flower Hill – it’s not just Main Street and parts north. If you want to be closer to the expressway, you can be almost perpendicular to Roslyn Estates. The LIE is a half mile further than on Willis, but also one exit closer to Queens.

        It sounds to me like a broker or someone else has convinced Phil that this is a problem and so there’ll be no convincing him otherwise. I don’t really get it either. He would consider Jericho, which is much further than Port, but not Port?

        By the way, Roslyn High School is no longer on the list of “Top 1000 Schools,” a good indicator of the overall strength of the district. Port is. Might be worth the (imaginary?) extra commute time.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/20/america-s-best-high-schools.html

      2. Phil is wrong. Port is much closer to any part of Queens than Jericho. I do this commute everyday. You take a side road to the LIE from Port; you have to deal with more LIE for Jericho.

        Maybe he just wants the Jericho-type town?

  40. Okay here’s what I’m thinking:
    1. Can Phil/your dad move the location of the office? Or work from home a couple days a week to lessen the impact of the commute?
    2. Phil strikes me as the type who needs decompression time. I know driving can be stressful, but so can little kids. Is Phil taking this into consideration?
    3. Thank fucking god.
    4. Even if you pick the shittiest school district in NY, it’ll still be better than whatever you’d have ended up with in Florida.
    5. Even if you pick the shittier school district in NY, you can supplement at home – you’ve already proven that you can, and you seem to enjoy your version of homeschooling.

  41. Don’t forget the added bonus of being close to your sister in law and niece. We can’t wait! Love you!

    1. Author

      Couldn’t forget that! I did write cousins. But yes, there are Aunts too! Aunt Hollis, Aunt Amanda and Uncle James and Aunt Erica. And baby cousin Hannah. Every time I mention New York, the beans say, “And it’s not a far drive to Connecticut to see Mikayla either!”

  42. I do not have personal experience with either city, but based on what you have detailed I would definitely pick Roslyn. It may not be the absolute best with test scores but it still seems like a *great* school. Plus, it is more socio-economically diverse, as well as racially diverse. That for me is important. Plus the time saved in the commute! Smaller commute = happier lives and more time as a family!

  43. Stephanie,

    I have four kids. Our most recent move they were going into 7th, 6th, K and preschool. That was two years ago and they are thriving! We moved from the top school district in Maryland to the top school district in North Carolina. Good schools were a big consideration. However, I honestly believe the input kids get at home – how involved you and/or Phil are with homework, school activities, etc. make a huge impact on school performance.

    I vote for Phil’s shorter commute being a deciding factor. We have reduced our stress level tremendously since moving out of the DC area (financial, commute, competitive atmosphere, etc. etc.). My husband and I both work from home. We walk the younger kids to/from elementary school. I cook dinner every night. Our family has never been happier. Remove as much stress as possible and the rest (including academic performance) will follow.

    Best of luck on the move!

  44. I’m so happy for you! This is such a great move for you all. I have nothing to share on schools or moving, just that I think it’s where you belong and where your family has the best chance of happiness. Since he’s working for your father, you have clearly already decided Phil and you are in it for the long haul. My best wishes on the move and my wish that it brings you everything you want. Really exciting!

  45. I grew up in Floral Park – right on the Nassau/Queens border as others have stated already. If you are looking for houses there, check in the “West End” – the elementary school would be FPBS (Floral Park Bellerose School) and it’s a great school. Garden City, the next town over, is obviously another fantastic choice but like you have expressed already, it’s WASP central!

    In my opinion, FP has a lot of the same good qualities as GC but it’s a little more down to earth and there is none of that school competitiveness that GC and Jericho is rich on – it’s worth a look and I don’t see how Phil could complain about the commute! However, if you are looking to raise your children in a community with a lot of other Jewish children, FP has a very small Jewish community. My best friend growing up was Jewish and her family went to temple in Roslyn. She had deep roots in both towns and when we hit our teens she went to a Jewish Summer Camp in Massachusetts.

  46. For a self-professed Waldorfian, you place so much emphasis on scores and numbers and rankings, not to mention technology (smart boards in K?! Waldorf would cringe!). Visit the schools, meet the teachers and administrators, and make a decision based on that. These are your kids and their success is not a formula to be calculated.

  47. Hi Stephanie! Long time reader and first time contributor, but I wanted to welcome you back to NY (prematurely). I met Phil earier this year in a bar in Hoboken. It took me a while to place why he looked familiar, but when I realized why I knew him, I didn’t hesitate to introduce myself and gush about how much I love your blog and your books. You probably do not recall, but he actually called you and put me on the phone!

    Anyway, again, just wanted to congratulate you on the move and all of your successes. Perhaps you and Phil can come on back to Hoboken once you are settled wherever you settle and grace NJ with your presence! :)

  48. Wow Stephanie!
    You sound elated! Good move. I’m sure the beans are very excited! Not to mentioned all of your relatives. Best of luck. You always do a great job.

  49. I’m about your age and grew up in Douglaston, the sheltered peninsula of Douglas Manor, to be precise. Great area to raise kids — it looks and feels more like Long Island but is just on the Queens side of the border. Community pool and “club,” too, within walking distance of the whole neighborhood, plus you have the Long Island Sound on three sides. If you take the suggestion of renting for a year elsewhere for kindergarten purposes, it might be worth exploring once you look to buy.

    I went to the local elementary school right on the outskirts of the neighborhood (PS 98Q) which was one of the best at the time. I am not sure if it still is, or if a lot of the Manor folk send their kids to private school such as St. Anastasia’s nearby.

    1. Author

      Doug Manor is beautiful, but yes, most of the people who live there send their children to private school. It’s also NYC schools. I’m wondering if we can’t get around this “must skip kindergarten” rule.

      1. Hi – I work for the NYC DOE (right next to the early childhood people) — would you like me to do a little reserach for you on this???

  50. Congrats on your move.
    Just curious — what type of industry does your father work in? Is it finance — which explains why Phil is able to work with your dad?

  51. Hi Stephanie – I’m happy to see you and your family moving back to (exactly where in) NY because it’s been an overall longing tone in your blogs. I was so excited to see/hear you speak first at the TX Book Festival several years ago when I was so grateful that you re-sparked, inspired me to pursue the book idea I’d been chewing on for awhile.

    Then getting to see you, your babes and Phil around Austin was fun. I’ve been a lil star-struck because you chose a writing path that worked out so well for you – and because you were an example of someone being so authentic to who they are and not censoring herself. I’ve learned but have yet to personally implement the lessons from you.

    So I’m still on that / those paths.

    Since you were here in Austin for awhile and are now ending up back in NY, do you have any thoughts or concerns about the cold / snowy weather? I ask because I very recently was thrown a *very* unexpected curve ball in life (after having 1 unexplained surgery that was hard and two very unexplained / dr errors in my treatment and care causing me unbelievable pain and thusly many unexpected medical bills!) that is pushing me to make a move – to a new job (perhaps back on the hamster wheel), or, as my family and friends are really encouraging, a move back to MA where I grew up.

    Anyhow – I truly have hated visiting home / MA in the snow and cold and walking my dog as my nose and ears are frozen, the exponentially higher property / home values – the actual homes are nothing like Austin as you’ve probably experienced and Austin is so new, clean and fresh our by me/where you guys were.

    I fear a bunch about maybe having to move back although it may end up being what the Universe has now pushed me towards.

    Thoughts? Appreciated. I know you’re dealing with your own things – would love your two cents here too.

  52. Wow, well, I am glad you like Port.
    It’s exit 36…Jericho is exit 40 or 41…much further East. I guess it’s probably closer to the LIE? But PW is two towns from the Queens border.
    Port is no Austin, but it’s true that it is not as cookie-cutter or as segregated as the surrounding towns. Being on the water is really wonderful. And people there do tend to be a less status obsessed and more down to earth than they are in Roslyn or Great Neck.
    I am from a mixed (Irish Catholic-Jewish) marriage and feel lucky that I grew up in a relatively mixed community…can’t believe I am going on about a town I couldn’t wait to leave.
    Anyway, I suppose it depends on where in Queens his office is. PW is really 15 minutes from the Queens border.
    I guess you wouldn’t consider looking at neighborhoods in Queens or Brooklyn?

  53. Ugh. I can’t believe you went from cool and laid back Austin to debating between Roslyn and Jericho. As someone who grew up in the area and knows many girls who have moved to Roslyn recently I would warn against such a move. I remember a post about being at a bagel shop in Boca when you first moved back and how taken aback you were by the nastiness of the general people. Get ready for nasty women with nasal accents, matching juicy sweatsuits, super competitive women with giant diamonds at the gym. Avoid these two towns! I would second Port Washington as well as Forest Hills, Park Slope….Mars? Seriously the people in Roslyn and Jericho are all around awful.

  54. Hi I enjoyed reading about your delimma. As I am going through something similar. I grew up in long island and lived in ny all my life. My husband and I moved to boyton beach lived there 7 years… bought a house ( bad decision) . Any way now we moved to israel a year ago and I want to move back to ny like you i miss my home .Like you i feel horrible for my kids and have lot of decision to make on where to live. I was a teacher in boynton too and strongly beleive that children should not miss oit on the kondergarten experince it prepares them for later schooling.I think Roslyn will make a great place. I have a friend that just moved there sand they love it.

  55. Stephanie, so sorry you are unable to consider Port Washington. I’ve lived here 17 years, and it’s a wonderful town. While there are certainly “mom cliques” that you will come across during your children’s elementary school years (the perpetually yoga togs-wearing kind, who all drone on in that same nasal voice, micromanage their children’s academic careers from the age of two, and who can see you every day for several years and never acknowledge your existence unless they you are closely involved in their volunteer efforts as their unquestioning lackey), there are also plenty of people who are anything but like that. That said, I still have to admit that I live in fear for the day that I will be told that I need to vacate the North Shore for having exceeded the maximum weight limit.

    You will not like Jericho, and I’m pretty sure Roslyn, either. Although I’ve been a SAHM for the past 15 years, I did commute to Brooklyn to my office via car for the first two years we lived here, and believe me, that ride down Port Washington Blvd. hardly did me in. In fact, it was probably one of the best parts of my commute. The LIE was usually fine and so was the Northern and Cross Island, but the Belt Parkway was the bane of my existence, something your husband will not encounter.

    I know you will love it here.

  56. Hi and congratulations!
    I’m with the camp that suggests talking with a principal of an NYC elementary school that interests you and finding out for yourself if the 6 year rule is set in stone.

    And I’d also see if Phil could stand giving the various commutes a try during the morning and afternoon hours he’ll be driving -but not during a holiday week! We really see a difference in commuting patters in DC and I’m sure the LIE is no different.

    Talking with principals in your chosen schools will give you a better feel for things than any printout can, perhaps you could even observe a class before the end of the year.

    Sight unseen, I’d vote for the easiest commute.

    In any case, congratulations! It’s wonderful to be near family.

  57. >I try to remind myself of this: that the most successful people in this world are those who can move through the chambers of change with ease.

    This is so brilliantly and elegantly phrased, it should be engraved on the cover of self-help books.

    Kids are best-suited to moving through chambers of change. When my parents would schlepp me around on trips, I’d feel comfortable in a new hotel–no matter how rundown–as soon as I established a place for my matchbox cars on the foldaway bed.

    So, they’re flexible. For them, moving is an adventure. Do it.

  58. I don’t comment often, but have been reading your blog for years. I’m so happy for you that you are moving back to NY. I don’t know anything about the schools there, but rankings are generally determined by standardized test scores, which are closely related to socioeconomic status and have nothing to do with whether a school has a supportive learning environment and caring teachers. Be with the “people” you want to be with, regardless of school rankings. And I agree with others, I don’t think moving or changing schools is going to be detrimental to the kids, so if you end up moving again (or even two or three more times…) they will most likely consider it an adventure.
    I also agree that kids shouldn’t skip kindergarten, not because of the academics, but because it’s a chance for kids to get used to going to school, to socialize, and “learn the ropes,” so to speak. Good luck with all your decision making! I’m sure you will make the right one, regardless.

    and “Anon” – Really? This is Stephanie’s blog, if you don’t like it, stop reading. It’s judgmental, tactless people like you that make me wish the earth was flat so I could push you off the edge.

  59. Stephanie,I’m a former teacher who has worked with young children for almost 40 years. The folks that gave you the advice to wait to admit them to school were right, especially about little boys. My son was born in October, could read by the time he was 3, but was very shy and small. Keeping him in pre-school an extra year to mature was the best decision I made for him at that time. One thing that does concern me as I look over the stats of the schools that you share is the lack of diversity. Are there no private or cooperative schools in the area that would provide your children with a more diverse educational experience? I think you will find you will be forever grateful that you have raised children who have learned to accept and appreciate everyone, not just people who are the same color they are. You are already a diverse family with differing religions. I bet you could find a school that would give them the same sort of appreciation for people. Sometimes, the schools with the highest grades to parade to the public are not the best in preparing children to live in a diverse world. My son’s best friend in kindergarten was Indian. We moved away and they lost touch. I recently found him on Facebook 25 years later and he was so thrilled. They He is now in medical school! They have resumed their friendship,even if it is long distance. His best friend all the way through high school and college is black. He was the minister who married my son and his wife. I am so glad that my son has grown up color blind because of his school experiences. The schools were good schools, too. He went to one of the finest universities in our state and the country, Wake Forest University. That same young black man who was his friend in high school was the first black president of their student body. After 2 more years of Divinity School, he has just now graduated from Law school! Don’t let statistics make the decision for you. Look into your heart. Choose what is best for each of your children.What is right for one, may not be right for the other. They are individuals, not a matched set. Good luck. I know these are hard decisions to make, but if you have a teacher friend you trust, have that person give you an opinion. But whatever they recommend, don’t move Lucas farther along so that he misses benchmarks. It never hurts those little boys to be a bit older as the years go by in school. They need the maturity.

  60. I have many comments, and I am not exactly sure where to start. So I will start here, I lived in NYC for 19 years and then moved to Scarsdale, yes Scarsdale, the epitome of a town where every 3rd car is a Range Rover, in the fall every woman is leaving Soul Cycle (if you don’t what it is you will soon learn) in their Lululemon pants and North Face fleece she was issued when moved here, the husbands all work in IB or Big law, and school district is the very definition of high stress, overachieving and ulcer inducing. First, as for the people, Scarsdale might be even more of it than what you find in Jericho or Roslyn (I am originally from LI so I am very familiar with those towns) but you can still find very normal people that you will like. At least I have. Are those “other” people every where you look, yes. Do they make me feel like crap when I am in Starbucks after dropping my son of at preschool in my Reindeer PJs (I don’t actually own reindeer pjs but if I did I would most definately wear them in public), yes. But I don’t care. I do my thing. They do theirs. That said some of “those” people are actually pretty nice, and smart, and funny. Once you get past the glare of their 4.5 carat pear shaped. As for the school district, we moved here because you can’t get much better than Scarsdale. That said, we will be moving for exactly that reason. I have young children so I am not in “it” yet, but it literally turns my stomach when I over hear those same woman discussing their kids elementary school eductions like they are plotting to invade Normandy. It is way to much to for me. And I know it is way to much for my kids. I think it’s great that you can recite the stats for all these districts and are actually debating where you moved based upon it (it shows that your child’s education is important to you), but remember not every kid in Jericho high school is going to get into Princeton even though they all want to and more importantly are expected to. Some will have to go to the University of Maryland. And there shouldn’t be any shame in it. But in this town, not getting into an Ivy is a like a scarlet letter. There are many great towns with great school districts. Even if their numbers aren’t stellar and they aren’t in the US News Top 20. Going to those schools comes with a huge amount of pressure. And if your kids are as bright as you say, they will do great regardless. And there is something to be said for being a big fish in a little pond. Third, my husband works in Queens as well. And if it is Northern Queens where your husband will work, it is actually much easier from Westchester than most of LI. The commute over the Whitestone and Throggs Neck are generally way better than dealing with the Nassau/Queens border stretch of LIE and Grand Central. Plus we can drive into midtown at pretty much anytime day or night within 30 minutes. And the train is even easier. We will likely move to Ardsley or Edgemont. I like to think of them as Scarsdale light. Finally, I can’t speak for the commute from Port Washington. I do love that town. But you seem to have a very idealized picture of the people who live, etc. Trust me no town in perfect. There are a$$holes everywhere. PS. Sorry about any typos. My kids are swordfighting in the other room and it’s pretty distracting.

  61. Actually, the redshirting thing is not correct. I have a PhD in the social sciences and if there’s one thing that roils me, it’s people taking the pop-statistics of Malcolm Gladwell as gospel. The actual studies,if you read them, show that the primary disadvantage of entering kindergarten early is social, not academic, which is ann important consideration but much less quantifiable. And the whole phrase “statistically significant” – do you have the foggiest idea what that means? For another, more educated and nuanced take by people who actually understand statistics, read this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html

  62. Whatever is the shortest commute. The homework they pile on these days is unbelievable; it’s as bad as you’ve probably heard and maybe worse. The faster Phil can drive home the better. That will let him have a quick nap maybe before dinner and homework? Honestly, two parents are needed for homework. And it starts now–they’ll have worksheets every damn day.

    I am happy for you—I do love warm weather, but there are always sweaters, coats, etc!! And indoor swimming pools maybe in a housing community?

  63. Hey Stephanie, when I was a kid we moved every two years (starting when I was 3 years old) between two different countries. Besides the fact that I grew up speaking two languages fluently (very helpful!) I must say that I am now a very flexible person when it comes to adapting to new situations workwise or similar. I don’t quite remember any details of the school changes. I just sailed through the changes smoothly. My mother was worried about all the changes she put us through, but a school director told her not to, because it me and my brother seemed pretty resilient to him. But of course each kid is different and I can’t speak for Abby and Luke. Just wanted to share my 2 cents. :-)

  64. Do you think a move to the North Shore is wise? You are bound to bump into them on the Miracle Mile or Costco. I went to him with a shoulder problem. After reading your blog, I did not let him perform the surgery.

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