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

vibriovibrio 4 replies3 threads New Member
My daughter will be uprooted in the middle of summer and has to do her senior year at a new high school. We are looking at Howard County (Ellicott City, Columbia, Clarksville) right now. High schools that we've found are Centennial, Mt Hebron, and River Hill. Any other suggestions? Also open to other neighborhoods/suburbs around Baltimore city. We'd like to live somewhere very safe and family-friendly. We don't mind boring.
Our values for my daughter's final year of high school are good teachers, friendly, conscientious and academically motivated students who won't make fun of a new kid, and good resources and college admissions outcomes. Any and all suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance.
40 replies
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Replies to: Relocating to Baltimore - suggestions on Bmore/Howard County high schools?

  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy 2544 replies22 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    I live there. I am P.M.ing you
    edited May 2014
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  • momjrmomjr 2198 replies8 threads Senior Member
    You've picked a great county. I sent you a PM also.
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  • Mom24boysMom24boys 904 replies47 threads Member
    I agree with momjr and also sent you a PM.
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  • 1214mom1214mom 4634 replies184 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    I pm'd you too. Let us know if you have other questions and what you decide.
    edited May 2014
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  • amarylandmomamarylandmom 623 replies8 threads Member
    Just sent you a note as well!
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  • vibriovibrio 4 replies3 threads New Member
    Thank you all so much!! This was super helpful. We've taken all your advice into heart. Now if only we can find a house... Now also opening it up to Towson district in Baltimore Co...
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  • BurgermeisterBurgermeister 365 replies7 threads Member
    Vibrio - I don't know how to PM; but I lived in both counties and interviewd several Baltimore county schools this past winter. Public schools don't sound eager for my business. We may go private.
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  • amarylandmomamarylandmom 623 replies8 threads Member
    edited July 2014
    Good luck, vibrio, with the house hunting! We moved from an area where housing was almost half the cost as the Baltimore metro area (and we are north which is less expensive). It was a bit of a shocker to say the least. I looked at soooo many houses. We ended up happy with our choice thank goodness! After I got over the price, lol. Hopefully you are moving from a similarly priced area so you don't encounter the same feeling.

    I hope all goes really well for your D!!
    edited July 2014
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member
    Ranking of high schools in Howard and Montgomery Counties, and a few in Baltimore:

    High School, Address, City, Zip, County, SAT Reading, Sat Math, Sat Total, College Readiness
    Walt Whitman 7100 Whittier Blvd Bethesda 20817 Montgomery 630 642 1272 85
    Mount de Sales Academy 700 Academy Rd. Catonsville 21228 Baltimore 620 640 1260
    Poolesville 17501 Willard Rd. Poolesville 20837 Montgomery 614 636 1250 80
    Winston Churchill 11300 Gainsborough Rd. Potomac 20854 Montgomery 606 633 1239 85
    Centennial 4300 Centennial Lane Ellicott City 21042 Howard 583 613 1196 55
    Richard Montgomery 250 Richard Montgomery Dr. Rockville 20852 Montgomery 591 595 1186 67
    River Hill 12101 Clarksville Pike (Route 108), Clarksville 21029 Howard 574 604 1178 56
    Bethesda-Chevy Chase 4301 East-West Hwy Bethesda 20814 Montgomery 584 592 1176 73
    Walter Johnson 6400 Rock Spring Dr. Bethesda 20814 Montgomery 566 585 1151 73
    Damascus 25921 Ridge Rd. Damascus 20872 Montgomery 559 578 1137 49
    Atholton 6520 Freetown Road Columbia 21044 Howard 555 581 1136 38
    Montgomery Blair 51 University Blvd East Silver Spring 20901 Montgomery 561 572 1133 52
    Mt. Hebron 9440 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), Ellicott City 21042 Howard 548 583 1131 49
    Marriotts Ridge 12100 Woodford Drive Marriotsville 21104 Howard 553 576 1129 51
    Glenelg 14025 Burntwoods Road Glenelg 21737 Howard 543 576 1119 42
    Thomas S Wooton 2100 Wootton Pkwy Rockville 20850 Montgomery 591 528 1119 84
    Quince Orchard 15800 Quince Orchard Rd. Gaithersburg 20878 Montgomery 542 559 1101 65
    Eastern Technical Baltimore Baltimore City 536 557 1093 58
    Sherwood 300 Olney‑Sandy Spring Rd., Sandy Spring 20860 Montgomery 531 548 1079 62
    Col. Zadoc Magruder 5939 Muncaster Mill Rd. Rockville 20855 Montgomery 527 544 1071 56
    Northwest 13501 Richter Farm Rd. Germantown 20874 Montgomery 525 544 1069 57
    Catonsville 221 Bloomsbury Ave. Baltimore 21228 Baltimore 529 539 1068 40
    Howard 8700 Old Annapolis Road Ellicott City 21043 Howard 525 543 1068 44
    Watkins Mill 10301 Apple Ridge Rd., Gaithersburg 20879 Montgomery 524 539 1063 32
    Wilde Lake 5460 Trumpeter Road Columbia 21044 Howard 526 531 1057 30
    Rockville 2100 Baltimore Rd Rockville 20851 Montgomery 523 534 1057 50
    Clarksburg 22500 Wims Rd. Clarksburg 20871 Montgomery 511 534 1045 41
    Albert Einstein 11135 Newport Mill Rd. Kensington 20895 Montgomery 519 519 1038 42
    Reservoir 11550 Scaggsville Road Fulton 20759 Howard 508 519 1027 42
    James Hubert Blake 300 Norwood Rd. Silver Spring 20905 Montgomery 508 513 1021 48
    Oakland Mills 9410 Kilimanjaro Road Columbia 21045 Howard 501 509 1010 30
    Gaithersburg 101 Education Blvd. Gaithersburg 20877 Montgomery 495 505 1000 44
    Long Reach 6101 Old Dobbin Lane Columbia 21045 Howard 492 503 995 26
    Paint Branch 14121 Old Columbia Pike Burtonsville 20866 Montgomery 489 498 987 49
    Baltimore Polytechnic Baltimore Baltimore City 481 505 986 26
    Hammond 8800 Guilford Road Columbia 21046 Howard 492 493 985 24
    Northwood 919 University Blvd. West Silver Spring 20901 Montgomery 499 485 984 47
    John F Kennedy 1901 Randolph Rd. Silver Spring 20902 Montgomery 476 475 951 45
    Wheaton 12601 Dalewood Dr Silver Spring 20906 Montgomery 446 465 911 44
    Western Baltimore Baltimore City 438 421 859 37
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  • rrobbrrobb 60 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Montgomery County is typically considered one of the top public school systems in the country. It is, however, part of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, not Baltimore. I can't imagine too many people commute from Montgomery County to jobs in Baltimore City. Plus, if people think Baltimore-area real estate prices are high, most of the DC suburbs are much pricier. As a Montgomery County parent, my kids attend one of the schools about halfway down the above list, and my feeling is that the stats-based listing above is generally consistent with the relative esteem in which the different Montgomery County schools are held. For that reason, I think that the OP should be encouraged that some Baltimore-area schools have stats comparable to top Montgomery County schools.
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  • VSGPeanut101VSGPeanut101 865 replies21 threads Member
    If you've opened up to Towson area, I am happy to provide input on northern Baltimore county schools. PM me if you would like specific details. We love the area and have been super happy with Baltimore Co public schools from elementary to HS. There are 4 BCPS high schools that serve Towson zip codes - Towson (medium size), Dulaney Valley (large size) and Loch Raven (small size) are all strong, the Carver Magnet IArts) is excellent.
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member
    Silver Spring (Montgomery County) is about 40 min drive from Baltimore on I 95. I know someone who commutes from north Baltimore to Bethesda by light rail. But, I agree that it would be better to buy in Ellicott City, Clarksville, or Columbia. Pay attention to the specific neighborhood to be sure it feeds a good high school. High School quality can vary within the same town. Look at Montgomery Blair vs Wheaton, both in Silver Spring.
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member
    Also, look into the possibility that residents of a particular neighborhood might qualify for a district gifted program or a magnet program, like International Baccalaureate, at a better school. By the way, I used SAT total for my ranking above. It doesn't always agree with the "College Readiness" index used by US News which is based on Advanced Placement or IB test scores. Anybody know why there might be a big difference sometimes? Look at Thomas S Wooton in Rockville.
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member
    One more thing...why all the PMing? I'd be interested in hearing what the first few posters said since I am also interested in this question. Please share. Thanks.
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  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD 3085 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2014
    I'm somewhat surprised by Wooten's low SAT score but It's an excellent school. One explanation is its size. It's a large school. The student population may simply be bimodal in the sense that it has very high performers in its special programs and not so high performers in the larger student population. The higher performing students may take many AP classes/exams (10+) and score well, showing college preparedness. But with fewer SAT exams (let's say most people just take it once or twice), the lower scores have more impact.

    Montgomery County does not skimp on counselors. Wooten has twice as many counselors as my daughter's high school with a comparable student population.
    edited July 2014
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member

    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.
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  • FromMDFromMD 738 replies10 threads 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.

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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threads Senior Member
    You are correct. I made an error when I copied numbers to my spreadsheet from the following website. Shame on me.


    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..
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  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 threads 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.
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  • ailinsh1ailinsh1 287 replies29 threads 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.
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