We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Long Post - lots of questions -

Hi, I'm reading some great posts here.. So glad I found this board.

We will most likely be moving to JAX this summer (pending sale of 1/2 home here in NY)

I have been scouting the internet like crazy and am getting very confused with what I see and what I've heard.

I have a 14yr old who hopefully will be attending Douglas Anderson. She is a promising artist who attends a very similar program here in NY however, her academics are only midrange (80-90) parent reviews on greatschools.net state that they only teach to the A+ student are only concerned with their A+ rating and not the children. (similar to the Jr. High she attended here)

She is a very sweet girl but tends to the wierd artsy stuff as well as alternative rock, cut up jeans, black clothes etc etc. She fears she will be an outcast. Are there any kids like her in JAX? If she walks around in black will she be made fun of or picked on? Moving is hard enough on kids as it is. Again, she's really a sweet kid, just doesn't like looking sweet.<smile>

My next question is.. I have an 11 yr old who is not as good of a student. He could get lost in the cracks in a second. I have not been able to find what looked like a good middle school anywhere. Some claim fights and safety issues, other poor administration low test marks etc etc. It seems that St Johns county might have better schools - is that true?

I would like to live in a great family friendly neighborhood with a good Jr. High and regular high school for my son but that is not too far for my daughter to get to D.A.

I was told that Mandarin and zip code 32217 are very family friendly and reasonably priced but was not happy with what I saw with the Jr. Highs there at all. We would like to rent for a year until we become comfortable and get to know the areas. I would prefer to rent in an area that I might buy so my kids don't have to go through a huge upheaval again.

We are coming down the end of this week for the Easter Vacation and hope to cover as much ground as possible (and still take a day or two to feel as if we're on vacation)

Any advise on where to look, where to stay away from etc etc?

Thanks for any help you can offer

Long Island
Level Contributor
28 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

I'll come out of my self-imposed exile one more time as I'm a recently transplanted lifelong NYer so I can sympathize. Everything is different here. Regardless of what other are going to tell you, diversity isn't big here so your daughter will not fit in with the typical cheerleader-types. That said, if she's going to an artsy-school, that's where she'll make her friends and find more people like her. The more artsy areas are definitely Riverside/Five Points and Avondale (and I think Springfield)--but I wouldn't describe them as family friendly. But the demo is more skater/goth/artsy/gay/bohemian there. I would also consider San Marco. Where I live, Julington Creek in NW St. John's county is very family friendly but---and I don't mean this in a pejoritve way-- is very whitebread.

Sounds like your son will need to go to private school if you live in Duval so bring your wallet. St. John's might be better for him but worse for yor daughter (in commute and dmeographics).

Good luck

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Thank you for the transplanted NY'er point of view and the great info. It's truly appreciated!

Long Island
Level Contributor
28 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

At the risk of generalizing, since you're from NY and mentioned Mandarin, I should mention that if you're Jewish (as am I), Mandarin is probably your best bet.

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

I'm not but have many jewish friends orthadox and reformed, well here at least anyway. I am not one to be prejudiced I like for everyone to be happy (as long as their happiness doesn't consist of inflicting pain on or being mean to others)

I just don't want my kids to be miserable or have their education suffer because of moving.

From greatschools.net it seems that private school's can cost about 15k a year, is that true???? Even the best catholic schools here in Brooklyn are not that much money.

Jacksonville, FL
Destination Expert
for Jacksonville
Level Contributor
5,494 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Hi TAGS - You're right! That was a long post. Let's see if we can help answer some of your questions. Jacksonville has a huge population of students (both younger and college) who are very alternate. Your daughter would probably feel very at home at DA. That being said, the guidelines to get into the school are fairly high. Twenty years ago when it was proposed to start DA as a School of the Arts, there were a lot of people in the community who were concerned that academics would fall by the wayside in favor of arts; that there wouldn't be a proper or appropriate balance. So guidelines were set to ensure that DA students are not only gifted in the arts areas, but keep up with their academics as well. However, not all kids there are A+ students. Not by a long shot. I have two stepchildren who graduated from DA. Both were in the visual arts areas, and one got excellent grades, the other did not. Her grades were average.

Most students who attend DA don't necessarily live close to the school. It's part of our magnet school program, and there are buses in most areas that will take your daughter. She may have to deal with a very early morning and a bit of a commute.

The middle schools are all over as far as some being really great, and some being pretty bad. Some of the good ones are Twin Lakes and Fletcher Middle. (Fletcher is at the Beach and Twin Lakes is on the Southside). Mandarin Middle School is pretty good, and you would probably like the area regardless of your religious beliefs. Having lived in Jax all of my life, I have seen people of all different faiths and walks of life in most neighborhoods; certainly not congregated in a specific area. It takes being familiar with most of the city before you can really get your pulse on Jacksonville.

I would advise you to stay away from what we call "The Westside" and concentrate on the Southside, Mandarin, East Arlington or the Beaches. Our Northside area is currently 'up and coming'. It's a little rural but growing very quickly. Houses in that area are appreciating very fast and at high rates. The schools in the area are good as well. You may be able to get more house for your money in this area. If you're working with a realtor (and I can recommend someone extremely good if you need one) ask him/her to show you some listings on the North side of the Dames Point Bridge.

Private schools here are very expensive. Not all are 15k per year, but they tend to be very good and a little on the high side. Some of the Christian private schools tend to be a bit less, but you would have to understand that your son would be receiving some type of religious instruction, and you may or may not want that. In most cases, it's not heavy religious instruction, but that depends on the school. There are many homeschooled students here, and we have support programs and actual schools where students go one day a week so they have accountability to qualified teachers. This is ideal for students who need to work more at their own pace. I have a master's degree in education, and I have seen some very good things happening on the homeschool front. Additionally, homeschooled students in Duval County can take part in any extra-curricular activities offered by the public school system. Say your son was homeschooled but wanted to play sports; he could go to the middle school in your district and go out for the sport he's interested in (or the band, or whatever other electives he likes).

I hope we've been able to answer a few of your questions. Jacksonville will be a bit of culture shock to you. We're much more laid back than cities in the Northeast. It's not as much of a melting pot as you will find in NY. If you have additional questions, feel free to email me if you like. My email address is vickisfloyd@hotmail.com.

Good luck!

Vicki

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Thank you Vicki, I have e-mailed you privately. And thank you to everyone else who is helping

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Hi Vicki, I forgot to transfer your e-mail to my travel e-mail address so will you please e-mail me at adangelinc@yahoo.com

Probably meeting with Dan today.

How was the Easter presentation yesterday?

Angela

Jacksonville...
10 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

My daughter currently attends DA and loves it. I've been very pleased with the school and the teachers. The students are a very diverse group and I'm sure your daughter will fit right in and feel comfortable. We live in Arlington and in traffic it takes me about 15 minutes to get her to school. With the magnet program she will also have the option of catching the bus in your neighborhood to the local highschool and then riding the shuttle to DA. Last year we lived in the Mandarin area and my daughter rode the bus. While it made my life easier.. she had to catch her first bus at 6:15am. If your teen is anything like mine... you know that's not an easy task!

Jacksonville is a great place, I'm sure your kids will love it here.

North East Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

Hi Lets take a trip Thanks so much. We visited DA today. We were very happy with what we saw. I'm sure my daughter will do well there. As long as she makes it in I'm fine and settled with her, my other concern would be the Jr. Hi that my son would attend. We didn't get a chance to look in the Arlington area, only Mandarin and Kensington (I think that's what it's called) We will need to rent first until we know exactly where we want to live.

What grade is your daughter in?

Angela

Jacksonville...
10 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Probable relocation to Jax - Many questions

I'm so glad you both liked it! My daughter is in the 9th grade this year and LOVES it! I don't know a lot about middle schools... she went to LaVilla (middle school arts magnet) and we were very happy with that. They also have creative writing if your son isn't artistic or musical. I assume you've already found the school board's website, but if you haven't.. it's educationcentral.org all of the different magnet programs are listed. I was pushing her towards the medical magnet, but Art's won out! lol

Your kids might enjoy going to Adventure Landing's waterpark this weekend. They would have a blast! It's on Beach Bvld almost to the beach. It will help if you are still trying to 'sell' them on the move. = )

Get answers to your questions about Jacksonville