Why Back to School is Better in the City

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The suburbs can have their school buses—we have endless options for an amazing education.


There’s a reason 13 of the top 15 schools in New York State are in the city. Whether it’s an A+ public school, innovative charter, language immersion program, private school or sought-after test-in public high school, there’s no shortage of spots for your kids to hunker down and learn.

So, for that, we spend time agonizing over the right preKs and the application process for kindergarten and whether or not to tap an admission coach for kids well (WELL) before college is even on the horizon. But at the end of the day, our kids learn to be innovative, eye-opened leaders thanks to their urban education—and that’s the ultimate “A.” Some other reasons we love sending our kids to school in the city? 


#1. There’s no “waiting for the bus” here 

While some kids get a bus, most don’t—and that means you’re on your own for transportation. That would no doubt stress out suburban parents but, here, it’s easy to navigate. 


“Sometimes we walk, sometimes we ride scooters, sometimes I drive them—or we take a Lyft if it’s that kind of morning,” explains marketing VP and mom of two Mara, whose kids attend a private school in downtown Brooklyn. “We should walk—we’re close—but mornings can be crazy here! So I like having the flexibility to get there when we get there and not be late…even when we really push it.” 


Besides the options, there’s the inevitable waiting-in-the-rain scenario. In the city, grab an umbrella and jump into the subway or flag a cab or Uber and you’ll be cool and dry—no kids diving into bus stop puddles here. 


#2. You’ll expand your inner circle—and your immediate community 

You’ve met everyone with kids in your building—and what feels like a five-block radius. You hit the same parks, the same burger joints and the same Starbucks. You see them on the subway, you wave as you dodge cabs and you’re always chatting in the lobby or the rooftop playground. Your neighbors are great—but you know them. And in the city, you get a chance to expand your network to an entirely new group of equally amazing families—families at your school. 


“We’re on the Upper West Side,” says PR consultant and mom of two Joanie. “But our kids actually go to a school in Chelsea. It’s great because now we know two neighborhoods really, really well—Chelsea is like the kids’ home away from home. We’ve got a favorite bakery by the school, a favorite juice spot, a favorite frozen yogurt place—and now we have friends to visit in different areas.” 


Many city parents echoed the same sentiment—it’s amazing to have your inner circle expand and have different friends and connections in different parts of the city. Not only will it inspire you to push beyond your Park Slope/Upper East Side/Tribeca roots, but you’ll get a sense for what’s what in different urban hotspots—and likely surprise yourself in the process. 


#3. There are endless choices, all in a few blocks 

For many parents, the endless educational options in the city are THE massive appeal—there’s no suburb where you’ll find a Mandarin immersion school, nationally-ranked fencing program, STEAM school with an average SAT score hovering in the 1500s and an arts-centric middle school, all within a few blocks. 


Here, though, that’s a reality. Trinity School has a 6:1 student/teacher ratio. Stuyvesant consistently ranks the best school in the country. For every language immersion school, there’s a college-prep program, art deep dive, a school for aspiring filmmakers/designers/mechanics/space engineers or a serious play-based curriculum. It’s all up to you—and, down the road, can be dictated by your kids’ interests and passion points. 


#4. Because no two kids are the same 

In that vein, remember that your kids don’t have to attend the same schools—ever. In the suburbs, chances are kid #3 is heading to the same schools as #2 who, of course, went to the same schools as kid #1. The problem? Those are three different kids with three very different personalities, preferences and educational needs. 


“We send my son to a G&T (gifted and talented) program on the east side,” says Marcy, mom to two boys in midtown. “But my younger son actually struggles a bit in school and we send him to a private school on the other side of town—he hops a ride with my husband in the morning.” While it can be a little chaotic some mornings, Marcy says it’s well worth it.

“Both boys get more focused attention and can thrive as individuals. There’s no, ‘oh, you’re Jeremy’s little brother?’ and an expectation they perform the same. They get their own schools, their own reputations and their own chance to really thrive on their terms. It’s great. And in the suburbs, we wouldn’t have that.” 


#5. Your kids will get super independent, super fast 

You’ve seen kids riding the subway solo—and, soon enough, that will likely be your crew. Kids can get free MetroCards to get to and from school and, often, they start heading off to school with their pals in or around middle school. While it’s nerve-wracking at first, it breeds a ton of independence—and gets you off the hook for morning drop off. Bonus!



We get it—we’re raising our families in the city, too. Get in touch and let’s talk neighborhoods and next steps, and help you find the right block to call “home.”

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