right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We’ve got a new look! Walk through the key updates here.

Relocating to Baltimore - suggestions on Bmore/Howard County high schools?

2

Replies to: Relocating to Baltimore - suggestions on Bmore/Howard County high schools?

  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    ^Thanks.

    So, which towns in Montgomery, Howard, or Baltimore counties Maryland have great schools for college prep and ALSO have a nice downtown area with shops and restaurants (like Ellicott City) and are near nice parks? I would really appreciate your insights very much. Posters who live in the area can be a great help to me. Thank you.
    · Reply · Share
  • FromMDFromMD 738 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 748 Member
    Not sure if Wooten's numbers above are correct - see MCPS school profile below. It appears 596, 636 and not 591, 528 as shown above.

    http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/schools/woottonhs/counseling/2012-13WHSProfile.pdf
    · Reply · Share
  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6315 replies275 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,590 Senior Member
    FromMD-
    You are correct. I made an error when I copied numbers to my spreadsheet from the following website. Shame on me.

    http://www.msp.msde.state.md.us/college_readiness/SAT/2013_SAT_150234.pdf

    The math SAT for Wooton was 628, not 528. Now the total SAT of 1219 agrees with the US News "College Readiness" Index of 84. So sorry about this error. I'm surprised I didn't catch it myself..
    · Reply · Share
  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 316 Member
    I'm a resident of Howard County, and both my kids attend Howard County public schools. Howard County is a good school system, and your daughter can get a good education at any of the Howard County schools. Differences in test scores have a lot more to do with demographics and socio-economics than with the quality of the schools themselves. All the Howard County schools you listed are very good. But so are others, even though their test scores may not be as impressive. Guaranteed a good portion of the kids at Centennial and River Hill are where they are academically because they've gone to tutors for years in addition to whatever they've learned in school. I'd encourage you to look at the school profiles online as well, not just the test scores. I have a friend whose son goes to Centennial, and in looking at colleges this year, he specifically wanted to go somewhere with more diversity (not just racially, but also in terms of interests/backgrounds) -- where everyone *wasn't* just like him.

    My kids went to elementary/middle school with a lot of kids who go to River Hill. Nice kids. Nice families. More $$$ and bigger houses than I'd ever imagined, so we had to fight off affluenza constantly with our kids not understanding why all their friends had <insert new expensive thing here> as soon as it came out, and they didn't. Of course not everyone who goes to River Hill falls in that category, but yes, it happened enough that I started dreading the birthday party extravaganzas that just seemed so over the top for elementary/middle school kids. Not alot of diversity, either -- white and asian, mainly. We live in a nice upper middle class neighborhood, but we weren't living in a million dollar house, which is what is predominant particularly in River Hill; we were in the "low rent" section of the school district for those years. Now, for HS, the situation is reversed ... we are in the "high rent" section of the district. Our HS is a much more diverse place -- it has excellent teachers and high achieving students, but it also has much more socio-economic and racial diversity. Unlike Centennial and River Hill, where one quickly begins to believe that not only are all kids above average, they *have* to be above the 90th percentile if they're not going to be complete failures (that's an exaggeration, but yes, that sort of skewed perspective does creep in...), our school has a lot of high achievers, and a fair amount of low achievers who are just hoping they'll be able to graduate ... as well as a solid "middle".

    I'm not trying to warn you away from any of these schools -- they're all good schools. As to which ones are more welcoming than others, I honestly don't know. Nice kids, nice families in all of them; and some snobby/not nice people in all of them too, I'm sure. I'm just trying to say that you might want to look at other factors beyond just academics to see what will be a good fit for your daughter. Maybe look at the strength of whatever extracurricular activities your daughter enjoys at these schools as well, to help guide your decision. She'll be fine at any of them academically.
    · Reply · Share
  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 316 Member
    Other than Ellicott City and Columbia, Howard County is pretty much devoid of "downtown" atmosphere. Lots of parks around, though. Look at Elkridge -- it is close to Ellicott City, parts of it are districted for Centennial, and it has a really wonderful park, Rockburn Branch Park, right there. Lots of cool stuff in Rockburn -- hiking/mountain biking/riding trails, a mountain bike skills park, a frisbee golf course, easy access to Patapsco State Park, tennis courts, ball fields, etc., etc., etc.. The part of Elkridge that is not districted for Centennial goes to Howard, which is also a good school, but with stats that don't necessarily stand out like Centennial's do. Also, Elkridge tends to be a bit cheaper than Ellicott City.
    · Reply · Share
  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 316 Member
    Here's a link to all the parks in Howard County, just FYI, since that seems important to you. Some of them are very small, but then some are huge and expansive like Centennial, Rockburn, Schooley Mill, etc.. http://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments.aspx?ID=1679
    · Reply · Share
  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 316 Member
    You should also be aware that right now the teacher's union and board of education are at an impasse in negotiation of the new contract for the teachers. I don't know what to believe about who is being unreasonable, and I'm not taking a side, just letting you know. Google it, and you'll find lots of articles about it, I'm sure. Issue for your situation is that I've heard rumblings of the union advising teachers to not do "extra stuff" like write recommendations, etc., until the contract is finalized. That particularly hurts seniors. I'm guessing your daughter will mainly have recommendations from her current school, so that might not be an issue, but thought I'd give you a heads up. Now I'll be quiet -- sorry for the multiple posts.
    · Reply · Share
  • mom2andmom2and 2732 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,749 Senior Member
    Do you have younger kids as well? If not, then perhaps you might consider buying a house where you ultimately want to live and sending her to a private school (if possible) or renting for the school year in a "good district" while you find a house you like, without worrying as much about schools. Although this district will be submitting her application, much (most) will come from her past high school including recommendations etc. Hope you find a good place to land and that your daughter find her people at her new high school.
    · Reply · Share
  • VSGPeanut101VSGPeanut101 865 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 886 Member
    This is a great point, @mom2and‌. If this is your last kid, there are many, many private school options, which might make more sense than buying a house for the school district that you'll only use for a year.

    A word of caution about Baltimore. Baltimore is crazy into private schools - grown adults with advanced degrees, when meeting for the first time will ask each other where they went to high school. Very clique-y and bizarre to people that move here as adults. Most people my husband works with think I'm nuts for allowing my kid to go to public school. My daughter believes her boyfriend's mom hopes they break up so he will find a girl who went to the girls' school associated with his boys' school.

    I will put my plug in for Dulaney (north of Towson) with a large student body, tons of EC options (every kind of club and interest!) and a great college acceptance list every year. My favorite area to look at homes would be the Hampton area, surrounds an old plantation - now a national historic site. Also borders on Loch Raven Reservoir and Cromwell Valley Park with acres and acres of hiking trails. You would have to drive to downtown Towson.

    If you want to be in a more walkable city or neighborhood location - Stoneleigh and Anesleigh near Towson University are fantastic neighborhoods where people really bond with their neighbors. The high school for this zone is Towson - again a very strong school, not as large or as "well to do" as Dulaney. I am pretty sure Towson outranked Dulaney on the last USNWR ranking, or perhaps it was WashPo ranking - but Dulaney is generally considered the "jewel" of BCPS.
    · Reply · Share
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 21935 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,949 Senior Member
    Two of my brothers went to Delaney after having a year at Calvert Hall (private boys school), one by choice, one after being asked to 'explore other educational opportunities.' Both were happy at Delaney. Another brother graduated from Calvert Hall, and also was pleased with his choice. We knew lots of kids from all the catholic schools and a few from the Lutheran school. I can't tell you how many boys I met who attended Gilman, Princeton, Yale law. It was like a path they were put on in Kindergarten and they all followed it, then returned to Baltimore to settle down, get married, and repeat.

    Back when I lived in Baltimore (late 70's/early 80's) no one went to public school in Baltimore City unless it was to one of the application schools (Western, Poly) and even then, most went to private schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • TheatreMom74TheatreMom74 52 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    I also live in Howard County, in Elkridge, for the past 8 years. My daughter just graduated in the top 15% of a HCPSS towards the middle of the above list. I considered sending her to one of the many girls' private schools in the area after middle school but opted to let her go forward at the neighborhood school after talking to a few parents. It's widely known and recognized in the region that Montgomery County and Howard County have some of the best public schools in the country. They flip flop from year to year in 1st and 2nd place according to test scores.

    I would look into whether your child is able to test into the Gifted & Talented classes like both of my children did in the 4 & 5th grade. There are Honor classes offered but they are only 1 grade level above the regular curriculum, as opposed to GT curriculum that is 2 grade levels above. Five of my daughter's original middle school classmates even graduated high school a year early because they had the maximum amount of credits needed at the completion of their junior year. There are countless AP classes offered at most of the high schools in the area and a specific focus on extracurricular activities outside of solely athletics.

    One of the major draws for me regarding this school system, compared to Montgomery County's schools- of which I'm a graduate (Montgomery Blair), is the GT Independent Research Program. This program begins with leadership seminars in middle school and an opportunity to take classes after an interview selection process for rising sophomores and above. My daughter is a proud graduate of 3 years in the program, which culminated in an unique Intern/Mentor half-day internship program where they are placed with professionals in the field of their choosing. I can't stress enough how this particular course shaped my shy and reserved daughter into a true leader, talented speaker (won 2 speech contests) and confident student. She had an amazing GT resource teacher who retired after the end of this school year. I'm sure the level of success for the program varies from school to school but it's an awesome opportunity for college preparation.

    PM if you need more details
    · Reply · Share
  • 1214mom1214mom 4408 replies176 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,584 Senior Member
    We live in Howard County, and my kids went to a school in the top third to half of the county. They both had significantly higher than average SAT scores for the county, but even though their grades were what I consider very good (4.2-4.3 weighted for one) they were NOT in the top ten percent of the class. I think he was barely in top 20%. Stating the obvious, If you go to a school a little lower in the rankings, you might do better in the percentile rankings, which some colleges weight more heavily than others. We moved from Montgomery County because our school in that county wasn't one of the top on the list. I think the variance in Montgomery County is much higher than HoCo. I think could have lived with my kids going to any of the HoCo schools, and our public school experience was very good. Good luck.
    · Reply · Share
  • vibriovibrio 4 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thank you everyone for the help! We finally finished house hunting and it looks like it will be Howard High School for our son, and our daughter will go to private with her friend (long story). Anyone with kids at Howard or know anyone?
    · Reply · Share
  • MillancadMillancad 5917 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,941 Senior Member
    I see you've decided, and I can't comment on the school you've chosen as I don't know it. I hope you and your children enjoy it! I mostly wanted to express my sentiment that ailinsh1 was spot on in the description of River Hill. My cousin attended the school and is more out of touch with issues of affluence than nearly anyone I know, and I can be quite out of touch myself at times! Additionally, he was always almost the only black student in his class, which none of his family thinks was good for him.
    · Reply · Share
  • vibriovibrio 4 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Yes, this was one of our concerns with River Hill as well as Dulaney High in Baltimore County. We are not affluent by any means and we definitely liked the diversity (racial and socioeconomic) at Howard much better! :)
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity