What are the schools like in White Plains, NY?

Asked by Anne, White Plains, NY Thu Dec 11, 2008

As a future home buyer and parent, I've been looking at Westchester school districts and I'd ruled out White Plains because I thought it had lousy schools. The Newsweek high school ranking is poor and I know the city is diverse with beautiful homes as well as projects and slums. The high school looks beautiful but then I've seen, who I think are students, trying to look tough & smoking cigarettes outside the Starbucks downtown. But then Houlihan Lawrence school reports list some zip codes as having a good "High" ranking schools. What's the real story? I like White Plains, the taxes are low, & it has nice neighborhoods. Will someone please give me candid advice on the schools here and/or sources other than Newsweek or HL for school reports? THANK YOU!

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Rwhiteplains, Home Owner, White Plains, NY
Thu Jan 13, 2011
Hi there,

We currently live in WP and are looking to move out of it because of the schools.

Don't get me wrong, WP is very nice place to live. We love it very much. But, we have to move because of the schools. It's been changed so much in the public schools since we moved in 6 years ago.

BTW, the tax is not as low as you would expect it.

A very frustrated WP Resident
0 votes
Ruthmarie Hi…, , Westchester County, NY
Fri Feb 13, 2009
There is a limit as to what we can say regarding schools and school systems. I am a tad confused about the Houlihan Lawrence school reports in White Plains. White Plains operates on the basis of "school choice." Parents choose the elementary school and there is only one high school. So the ratings should be uniform throughout the city. I don't understand how the reports could change by zip code.

I'll add two things:
1. White Plains has a diverse population. The stats that you see reflect both extremes in that spectrum. You can not expect scores to the same as a community with a more homogeneous population. Not going to happen. Any average also tends to be driven by the extremes on either end. So there is more flux in a heterogeneous population with respect to scores.
2. I will second what Mike says. The Starbucks downtown is no where near the White Plains High School - which is located in the southern end of the city. Starbucks is quite close to the train and bus station and the Galleria Mall. Chances are many of these "tough" kids got here by train/bus and were hanging out in the mall.

Your best bet is to visit the schools. In general, I think parents rely way too much on raw scores to determine what is "good" and what is "bad." I've been an educator and there is more to a school than its average SAT score.
0 votes
michael grae…, Agent, White Plains, NY
Tue Dec 16, 2008

You have been given some good suggestions about calling the school district to obtain information. Most school districts will invite you to visit the schools and see them as they really are. As the retired commissioner of Planning for the City of White Plains and active over the years with the White Plains School District I know that you will find a lot of the information helpful in your decision making. The young people that you see in the downtown of White Plains are not all from this great City. White Plains is a regional hub of government and retail as well as an employment center. The low property taxes are a direct reflection of the strong retail base that is providing over $50,000,000 in sales tax this year. The commercial base is also very strong in White Plains, and that coupled with all the new development makes White Plains a wonderful choice for a residence. As a real estate broker in White Plains, I see many people learning about the great things White Plains has to offer and buying their first home here. If you have questions please feel free to ask and I will respond.
0 votes
John Vrooman, Agent, White Plains, NY
Thu Dec 11, 2008

"The facts don't lie", but they also don't always tell the whole story...and that can lead to misinformed judgments & decisions. Please contact Laurette Young at the parent information center. (lauretteyoung@wpcsd.k12.ny.us / http://www.whiteplainspublicschools.org. I was born and raised in White Plains. It's a great community. I've been in the real estate business for 20 years...and I would love the opportunity to discuss your needs with you.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Dec 11, 2008
Hi Caty, As agents we can only give you resources, check the sites mentioned below and analyze what makes up the rankings. There are typically many factors they use such as, test scores, challenge index, graduation rate, etc. What may work for some children may not work for others.

My suggestion, and many people love this, is to visit the schools unannounced. The reason you do this is the school won't have time to plan for your visit and put on a mask. You will see how they treat you and also see what really goes on. Try not to judge a book by its cover, go with the hard facts from reports and also your own research. Let's face it kids are kids and every school district will have its challenges. You might be pleasantly surprised.


Christopher Pagli
Associate Broker
Legends Realty Group
0 votes
Karen Benvin…, Agent, Bedford, TX
Thu Dec 11, 2008
Go to http://www.nystart.gov for an overview. Also, Schools welcome visitors as well. Feel free to call them to plan a meeting and a visit to the school while in session.
Good Luck!
If you need any further help, please let me know!
Karen Benvin Ransom
Associate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence
914-232-1212 x342
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu Dec 11, 2008

The facts don't lie. Check the New York State Department of Education website. You can access volumes of information about every school district in the state including White Plains.

It will break the academic ratings down into elementary, middle school, and high school results. The site will also recognize those areas that are strong points as well as those that need work. Additionally, it will post school discipline trends: suspensions, fights, weapons, etc.

Check the site out and let yourself be the "judge."

Good luck
The Eckler team
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Thu Dec 11, 2008
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