It’s South Orange To You, Pal6

Posted by Deirdre // 09-20-2011


I’ve been down for the count most of the weekend, so didn’t get to this until I actually took a sick day. In case you missed it, this week’s NY Times Living In centered on one of the most popular moving destinations for Brooklynites that I know of (purely anecdotal, mind you), South Orange, NJ. Of course Maplewood is probably mentioned more often, but according to this article, “…South Orange has larger lots and more notable architecture”, with one (totally unbiased) real estate agent noting that “It’s not your cookie-cutter kind of place.”

5 bdrm/4.5 bath 1908 colonial in Montrose Park for $675k!! WHAT?!

Apparently the town does offer a mix of more classic older homes (see above), along with more modern architecture in the neighborhood of Newstead.

Beyond Real Estate, the town offers some options for culture, has the kind of diversity we often fear losing when thinking about leaving Brooklyn – racial and a mix of sexual orientations – plus a walkable downtown. There’s a reason that 30% (I’m making that up) of Brooklynites end up in the area. Just remember that you would still have to say, “I’m from Jersey”.

[Late add] What the article doesn’t do – and something I’ve been frustrated with the Living In coverage in general – is talk with any sort of helpful information about schools beyond test scores. I do know the High School, Columbia, is located in and shares students with Maplewood. My college boyfriend went there – I went to private school in Manhattan and we ended up at the same college. Columbia’s ranking is not great amongst NJ high schools, but who knows what that means.

There are arts programs such as dance at CHS





Does anyone have personal experiences with pre-schools, elementary and/or middle schools? Would love to hear some perspectives.


5 Responses

  1. mtb says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    The schools here are getting stronger and stronger and are particularly exemplary in the arts–our musicals are often directed by parents with professional careers. CHS has not only moved up in ranking but is known for having one of the widest array of AP courses in the state. (There’s lots more I could say about the school) The middle schools next year will be authorized to be International Baccalaureate schools–a marvelous, interdisciplinary, globally-minded program connecting us with private and public schools around the world. My son right now participates in Model UN and other great activities at the middle school. The IB program came into being because of parents (myself and others) who advocated for the program as a perfect fit for a diverse community, and also because the administration itself was interested separately. So part of what is great about the two town school system is that you know your administrators on a first name basis and can have an impact.

    • Deirdre says:
      February 12th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Wow that’s great that you’re going to have the IB curriculum! Is that true of all of the middle schools in both towns?

      • mtb says:
        March 29th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        Yes, both middle schools will be authorized to be IB schools. CHS is really getting stronger in new areas too–we were noted as the fastest growing robotics hs in New Jersey, as our robotics team have won the state championships for 3 years. Our college acceptances have also been quite strong in the past few years. Not to sound so boosterish–but having been here a decade I see a strong incline in the schools.

  2. Leana says:
    September 24th, 2011 at 6:40 am

    There are a plethora of great preschools out here. I had a hard time choosing. Plus, plenty of open spots, no waiting in line at four in the morning! S. Orange also shares elementary schools with Maplewood and each one is outstanding in it’s own right. There are two middle schools in the district that both seem great. There is also an ele,entry school that you can choose to send your kid to that is more “progressive” should you not like your zoned school for whatever reason. I have heard no complaints about the schools other than complaints about individual teachers. There is always a lot of chatter about the schools on

    This area is incredibly diverse. I find it much more diverse than where we used to live in Park Slope. It’s very relaxed out here, pretty, affordable, plenty of things to do, and very close to the city.

  3. mcnyc says:
    September 23rd, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I think the only way to really know a school is by actually experiencing it. I would suggest that a community of like minded people is most likely to have a school system that shares your educational values. CHS is not perfect and is surely not the right place for every child but I’ve personally never heard any parent complain about (I could be talking to the wrong people). Most of the ranking methodologies seem pretty easy to poke holes in. There are a lot of intangibles in a kid’s school experience including the kid.