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Raising Kids in The City

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Raising Kids in The City

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 106 total)
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  • #548320

    fensterbme
    Participant

    We have been downtown or near it for over fifteen years (6 in German Village and now almost 10 in Westgate). In those years we have seen things improve dramatically, and I am encouraged because the pace of improvement continues to quicken.

    We have also had a lot of fun raising our kids in the parks, going to places like COSI, Franklin Park, the North Market, I could go on and on, our daughters have had a rich experience.

    That said the achilles heel is schools and education… this isn’t a unique issue to Columbus, it’s the same in lots of cities. But for us it’s probably what is going to make use leave living down ‘in’ Columbus.

    Our oldest daughter is going to start Kindergarden, and it’s going to start *this* week and the school system still is not able to tell us 1.) when her first day is to start, 2.) who her teacher will be or 3.) what kind of things we should prepare for, etc. The teachers who we have met at the school seem to be great folks who are doing their best with very limited resources. We are hopeful but nervous honestly.

    When it comes to our kids and education I’m not prepared to sacrifice a sub-par education just because we enjoy being downtown.

    I think the last decade the city has improved a ton and has successfully drawn a lot of people to it (lots of them younger professionals, etc.), the question is as they these people get older, get married and have children if they will continue to live downtown or if they will then move back out to the suburbs to get a quality education for their kids. To me Colman has done a fantastic job as mayor, but the last big barrier to people wanting to living in the core of Columbus is the education that they can get for their kids IMO.

    #548321

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    Have you researched other options outside of an entire lifestyle upheaval with financial impacts possibly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    #548322

    AMEEKER
    Participant

    dubdave00 said:
    I’d be curious if any of you get grief from your own parents or older people you otherwise respect, for raising a kid in the city.

    Just curious how you respond to it.

    When we moved to Weinland Park FROM 5xnw, I think our family took it worse than when we moved to Iraq. We’ve lived here almost two years, and there have been probably six shootings within two blocks of our house (at least – those are just the ones I can remember). Just yesterday, there was a drive by across the street from Weinland Park Elem, DURING school hours. My daughter doesn’t go to WP Elem, but this is still our neighborhood, and frankly, I don’t love it (yet). I WANT to, because of the location, and the future that is planned for the area, some of which is happening already (well, on the other side of 5th in Italian Village). But we only have so many years with our daughter to be young. When the one park we have close to us is within eyeshot of three of those six shootings; when we have to walk past the sites of all six of them and over two crazy busy one way streets to get to the only grocery store close or the the lovely Short North…it doesn’t give me the same lovely feelings about “city life” that others might have. It makes me think to myself, “This isn’t worth it right now. We should move to a burb and find a house with a yard a sidewalk, and then we can move back to the CITY after she graduates.”

    (Also, I should say I’m feeling grumpy today about city life, so this post may be a little tainted).

    #548323

    AMEEKER
    Participant

    I think something I’m just now feeling is that since our daughter goes to school over near UA at Ecole Kenwood (a Columbus Public School), but we live in Weinland Park, is that she doesn’t see her school mates on a daily basis after school. I think this would be LESS true in the suburbs. She went to preschool with a few kids from the neighborhood, but by and large, she doesn’t have a group of kids in the neighborhood she’s growing up with (and, since WP Elem is year round, their schedule is different than hers even).

    And, I’ll just say this ((it’s not something we haven’t said outloud in our neighborhood)), but it’s an interesting twist that she is one of only a few white girls in our neighborhood. That’s not a statement of anything about anyone – I’m just saying it IS… and as I’d imagine most black children feel if/when they’re in a crowd of mostly white children, she often asks us why she is the only tan girl when we are at WP neighborhood events. I think that’s a different um… challenge, though that’s not the right word really… for us than might be present in some of the other CBus inner ring neighborhoods that are a little more diverse. I don’t know how that will play out for us in the coming years but I do have a fear that she could end up feeling very left out because of both of those things (one of which isn’t specific to Weinland Park and one that is).

    #548324
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    We’re in a somewhat similar situation, as our son’s school is 2 miles from home, and his school friends all live in different neighborhoods. But I don’t think of it as much of a problem.

    This is purely anecdotal, but I grew up in Marysville, and I only had one friend from school who lived within walking distance. For whatever reason, a lot of the houses on our block were older/retired couples. My best friends from school either lived on the other side of town or further out into the country, so we were all separated by a few miles.

    I imagine that could still be the case for plenty of larger suburban districts where everyone is very spread out. If your childrens’ friends lives in a different subdivision, it’s not like you’re going to let them walk across Sawmill Road to go visit. You’re still going to be driving them everywhere unless by random chance that their friends live in very close proximity.

    #548325

    jchristy
    Member

    labi said:
    There has been discussion about this issue at the University Area Commission, and I believe there are already conversations going on between the UAC and Cols City Schools about it – you should get in touch with UAC president Doreen Uhas-Sauer. http://universityarea.org/about/contact-us/

    Very interesting. I appreciate the info and I’ll definitely reach out to Doreen. Our group is just getting started, so info/contacts like this will go a long way to helping our cause (or prevent us from re-inventing the wheel).

    Walker said:
    I like the idea, but I don’t think the group should just be limited to the Short North. There’s a lot of people asking the same question who live in German Village, Olde Towne East, 5xNW, Old North, Clintonville, etc.

    Our son is going to school in The Short North. ;) But we don’t live in the neighborhood.

    We definitely talked about the need throughout most of the urban areas of the city, but decided to just focus on the Short North in the near term. One, we weren’t sure how many people would really care enough to get involved, and two, we felt that the Short North was the most under served. I believe that Clintonville has been successful in setting up community schools in the past, and I’ve talked to a fair amount of parents who are really pleased with Whetstone. Also, Germain Village currently has a similar group, https://www.facebook.com/SouthsideSTAY.

    fensterbme said:

    Our oldest daughter is going to start Kindergarden, and it’s going to start *this* week and the school system still is not able to tell us 1.) when her first day is to start, 2.) who her teacher will be or 3.) what kind of things we should prepare for, etc. The teachers who we have met at the school seem to be great folks who are doing their best with very limited resources. We are hopeful but nervous honestly.

    What school is your daughter attending? I’m curious if it’s a Columbus City School and how long it’s been open. One of my major concerns is that even if the city does move quickly and open up a neighborhood school, how long will it be until it becomes fully operational.

    GCrites80s said:
    Have you researched other options outside of an entire lifestyle upheaval with financial impacts possibly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    What other options are you thinking?

    #548326

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    ^I’m saying fensterbme should get with you guys and talk about their concerns.

    #548327
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    jchristy said:
    One of my major concerns is that even if the city does move quickly and open up a neighborhood school, how long will it be until it becomes fully operational.

    The Victorian Village side of the Short North already has a pretty decent neighborhood school in Fifth Avenue International. We are sending our son there and have been pleased so far with the teachers, faculty and classroom environment. The international focus of the school was appealing to us, and seeing our son learn Mandarin Chinese in kindergarten has been an experience that I think surpasses some suburban counterparts.

    My hope is that anyone currently living within the boundaries of 5th Avenue International (Victorian Village, a small bit of South Italian Village, Harrison West, The Circles, University District (West of High) and a portion of Old North (south of Hudson)) will consider this school, will get involved at this school, and help make it even better than it already is.

    No need to start a new school from scratch.

    #548328

    dirtgirl
    Participant

    One factor, at least for me, in why I have only good things to say about raising my kids in this particular urban environment is that it’s fairly easy to have a car in Columbus. That isn’t the case in NYC and some other big cities. It makes a huge difference not to have to drag a stroller and enough diapers and crap for the day onto a city bus or down a subway hole on a hot summer day to go to a park or museum. It also means we can get out of town to a metro park, a local farm or other offerings of nature fairly easily. If it was all concrete and sidewalks all the time, I’d have a much different opinion.

    #548329
    Shelley Mann
    Shelley Mann
    Participant

    I don’t have much new to add, but this conversation did get me thinking over the last few days. I’m in Italian Village right now with a 4-year-old daughter and for the most part love raising a child in the city.

    She attends an awesome daycare in the Short North, Little Dreamers Big Believers, but I do feel some anxiety about schools as we look forward to kindergarten. A lot is still up in the air at this point. I am in Weinland Park Elementary district, and her dad is in Fifth Avenue International–so, Walker, glad to hear you guys are liking that school! I know several parents who are successfully navigating the Columbus City School system. Like fensterbme said, I’m hopeful but still kinda nervous.

    Glad to learn about the Short North Parents group, I filled out the form and wondering if there are plans for a meetup at some point?

    As for general city living, our little part of the neighborhood has a big field for flying kites and playing soccer and watching Red White & Boom… but from it you can also see a few tents where homeless people are camped out, and we’ve ridden bikes right past passed-out homeless dudes. I can’t really even imagine letting her play outside by herself or with friends at this point.

    And finally, to the issue of unsolicited outside opinions. I did get one “you AREN’T going to send her to Columbus City Schools, are you?” from a former OSU professor of mine that I like and respect, and that stung. And I’m sure at least one of the suburban grandparents will weigh in on the issue once we settle on a school. But as long as I’ve done all the research and made an informed choice, I’m not going to let it bother me.

    #548330

    MrChengsaw
    Participant

    Longtime lurker, first time poster. I felt compelled to contribute as this is a GREAT discussion and very near and dear to my heart as a former middle school teacher and newfound parent.

    My wife and I come from the east coast and are very much infatuated with the idea of raising our children in the city–frankly, I think that the day-to-day life experiences that only the city can afford are invaluable when it comes to creating a well-rounded character. Knowing that there are other invested residents and parents around in these areas (we are specifically looking at Victorian Village) is inspiring and reassuring.

    Walker, I’m curious: while I realize that internet-based research will never compare to personal interaction, online data/info for Fifth Avenue International is pretty… dismal. How long as your son been attending, if you don’t mind my asking?

    #548331
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    MrChengsaw said:
    Walker, I’m curious: while I realize that internet-based research will never compare to personal interaction, online data/info for Fifth Avenue International is pretty… dismal. How long as your son been attending, if you don’t mind my asking?

    Are you referring to the yelp-like sites where people leave reviews of schools? Because yeah, those are awful for a lot of schools. You are far more likely to hear from people who have issues than you are from people who have positive experiences IMHO.

    Our son just started 1st grade today, so he’s only been there one full year. So of course, YMMV from grade to grade and student to student.

    The school has also recently transitioned from a K-5 to a K-8 and now back to a K-6, so previous years of review material may not be as accurate as the experience is today.

    Our personal experience has been a very good one. Only a few minor issues, which teachers and the principal have been very responsive to. The principal also has given our her email address and cell phone (for texting) about any issues we have as parents, and there’s an active Facebook group (closed just to parents) where teachers, parents and the principal interact regularly.

    #548332

    jchristy
    Member

    Walker said:
    The Victorian Village side of the Short North already has a pretty decent neighborhood school in Fifth Avenue International. We are sending our son there and have been pleased so far with the teachers, faculty and classroom environment. The international focus of the school was appealing to us, and seeing our son learn Mandarin Chinese in kindergarten has been an experience that I think surpasses some suburban counterparts.

    I have to admit that I know very little about this school, although, like MrChengsaw, my cursory internet research didn’t leave me feeling very satisfied. Some of that is because I really don’t know what I should be looking for, and I think that’s a common problem for new (or soon to be) parents. I’m definitely in agreement that we shouldn’t start something from scratch if another viable option exists. Part of what we hope to get out of the group is the creation of general community forum where parents can learn from each other and share information. That leads into:

    ShelleyMann said:

    Glad to learn about the Short North Parents group, I filled out the form and wondering if there are plans for a meetup at some point?

    Definitely. We don’t have a set time frame yet, but we would definitely like to get all of the interested parties together and see where it goes. I imagine that we’ll be sending out emails to all of those who have signed-up within the next month or so.

    #548333

    gramarye
    Participant

    joev said:
    San Francisco is the foulest smelling city I’ve ever visited. And I’ve been to Akron.

    HEY NOW …

    #548334
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    jchristy said:
    I have to admit that I know very little about this school, although, like MrChengsaw, my cursory internet research didn’t leave me feeling very satisfied. Some of that is because I really don’t know what I should be looking for, and I think that’s a common problem for new (or soon to be) parents.

    For whatever reason, I’ve found that there’s a real lack of quality, relevant information online about schools in general. There’s a couple of yelp-like sites where people can have a bitchfest and leave 1-star complaints/rants, but that doesn’t really put anything into context or provide quality data for research.

    For better or worse, if you want to know anything about any school, you’ve got to set foot inside it IRL and spent time meeting teachers and seeing classrooms first hand.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 106 total)

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