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Old November 3rd, 2019, 08:50 PM #1
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Talk to me about WV Public Schooling and Youth Sports/Activities (Harper's Ferry)

Hello all,

Wife and I are once again in discussions for moving. I'm putting together a case for the Harper's Ferry area for lots of reasons I probably don't have to mention here (significantly cheaper housing, overall lower cost of living, beautiful scenery and, uh... guns). My wife and I have already been to the area a few times and, while she loves the type of houses we can afford there, she isn't too thrilled about much else. I'll be honest, she is having a hard time overcoming the "Hillbilly" stigma of WV. She has been in Anne Arundel County her entire life...

That said, I'm still trying to put together a strong case for the move. While things such as the cost of living are pretty easy to outline objectively, I'm having a harder time getting information that's easy to digest in comparing schools and youth activities/sports to Maryland.

We have two girls, both currently in Elementary school. School and youth sports/activities (soccer and dance, specifically) are a large part of of our life and we are very committed for that to continue. Our concern is lower population, lower median income/higher poverty rate means less opportunity and competition for our children in WV.

I see that WV is generally ranked worst 10 states in the country while MD is generally in the top 10 for Public Schooling. This is obviously a hard case to make as a benefit of moving to WV...

What is interesting to me, however, is that the schools in the areas we are looking at are actually ranked higher than our current location schools. I don't know if that means they are actually better or if that's weighted to the state and they are actually similar/worse.

I'm hoping for some feedback on the following:
  • Does anyone know how school rankings are handled? For example, is an "8" in WV actually a lower ranked school than a "6" in MD?
  • Can anyone speak to the state of WV public schooling in general? Harper's Ferry/Jefferson County specific feedback would be awesome!
  • Can anyone speak to youth sports/activities in the area? Hoping for strong programs with good pool of competition...

As always, I truly appreciate any/all feedback. I'd love to call WV "home" at some point in the near future...
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Old November 3rd, 2019, 09:01 PM #2
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WV is hilbilly. Its a lot different from Maryland. I moved here back in 2014 and love it but I stuck out like a sore thumb in Maryland. Ppl here are liberty minded and not afraid to live their own way- riding ATVs down the road, piling junk on the side of their houses, having no regard for HOA's. The first thing I was told about our neighborhood HOAs is they dont stand up in court. And I saw in the past five years no one follows the rules. That being said, I like this over the yuppie lifestyle of Marylanders and all their laws and rules. But it is kinda wild west out here. You need to hold your own. The cops are stand offish and dont like to get involved. Ive seen a number of confrontations between neighbors and they handle it head to head. Sometimes it goes well other times not so well.

As far as schools go, Jefferson county is the best in the state. But as you stated in your post WV is in the bottom 10% of the country. Its tough over here. One of my buddies is a gifted teacher and he is quitting after this year citing lack of discipline and control in the classroom. I hear their schools are not great. The unions stymie change in the system. We homeschool so it does not affect us. If we were public schooling our children I would personally not move here. Again, thats my personal opinion. The athletics are active out here but not as much as Maryland. People are into outdoor sports- hunting, shooting, boating and offroading.

Like I said I love it but its not for everyone.
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Old November 3rd, 2019, 10:41 PM #3
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Living down here in south western Virginia I've found the locals have nothing positive to say about West Virginia, other than the ATV trails are good. I've heard a few stories already of the lawlessness tall guy is describing.
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Old November 3rd, 2019, 11:30 PM #4
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Okay, I apologize I don’t have any concrete answer; however; when I was looking into buying some investment parcels up there 20 years ago or so my intent was to identify where all the federal employees for the facilities .gov had already and was in the process of actually moving up there (RAFIS fingerprint facility, NICS facility, etc., etc.)

I got distracted by other opportunities but, I still wonder, “Where’re all those federal employees buying homes, sending THEIR kids to school? Etc., etc.

I wish you best o’ success!
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Old November 4th, 2019, 02:22 AM #5
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Is that a greatschool rating? If so, you might take a look at what their rating criteria are, because that number doesn't mean what you think it means.

We considered moving to WV instead of VA. The election day results in VA may end up making us regret this decision, but the bottom line is we couldn't find good public schools in WV that were close enough to my work. I have some friends who live in the Harper's Ferry area. They love it, but they mostly have grown kids, or are happy paying for private school/homeschooling.
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Old November 4th, 2019, 07:18 AM #6
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Some parts of the state (mainly southern counties) really pull down the ratings for the state as a whole. My 9 y-old attends a Randolph County school in Elkins and I can honestly say that his school is on par with the one he left in Southern Maryland several years ago. In fact I believe it is more challenging for him since they don't seem to teach to the lowest common denominator.

As far as after school sports and activities, it's about the same as Maryland, although soccer doesn't seem to be as popular here. I'm sure that is different county to county. My son is going to be on the downhill ski team this season, and other than that, he loves hunting, fishing, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and a plethora of other outdoor activities which are available in our area.
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Old November 4th, 2019, 12:50 PM #7
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We don't have any children, but as a suggestion, the next time you are up this way, buy yourself a copy of the Journal newspaper. Many issues contain articles regarding activities and sports events for kids in the area. We live in Charles Town and love the easier, quieter style of living here. People tend to be more polite and considerate than all the seemingly stressed out, angry folks living in MD. One other plus factor for us is the lack of congestion. For us, a traffic jam in Charles Town is more than 8 cars at one of the five traffic lights on the main street! Just my observations, mind you. Good luck in your quest.
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Old November 4th, 2019, 04:13 PM #8
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My son (Sack, on this forum) moved to Harpers Ferry area this past December.
Maybe send him a pm?
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Old November 7th, 2019, 12:42 AM #9
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If you truly care about your childs education and upbringing , avoid WV at all costs. I moved into WV public schools from AAco and the difference between the quality of education was night and day. There are quite a few law suits between Jefferson Co and Berkeley Co relating to child abuse from teachers in the public schools.
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Old November 7th, 2019, 08:36 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bean93x View Post
If you truly care about your childs education and upbringing , avoid WV at all costs. I moved into WV public schools from AAco and the difference between the quality of education was night and day. There are quite a few law suits between Jefferson Co and Berkeley Co relating to child abuse from teachers in the public schools.
Don't lump all the counties and all the schools into one, just like anywhere else you will have your good and bad.
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