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Hello everyone, I have used these forums to watch my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan for many years now. But I seldom post.

I am finding out now that I am being relocated by my employer to the Tampa/Largo area. I have NO knowledge of the area other than I honeymooned there about 7 years ago and loved it. Currently my school district is rated 3rd in the entire state of Michigan, so I have high standards for public school. I dont know if I should ask which schools to look into, or which schools NOT to look into. But any input that you could offer me would be really great.

On the same hand, any ideas on which areas are more suited to family life and raising teenage kids (12, and 13) would be much appreicated also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pinellas county schools aren't nearly as good as Hillsborough. Northwest Hillsborough/Southwest Pasco county have good middle and high schools. I'm currently attending Sickles high school in Hillsborough and it along with Martinez Middle are some of the best in the state.

To raise kids I'd stay close to Citrus Park area. There is a mall and movies right there and is very close to Sickles and maybe half an hour to get to Largo, 10-15 minutes to Westshore, and about 25-30 minutes to downtown Tampa.

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There are strong areas in the district.

I would recommend looking into the Palm Harbor area. Palm Harbor University (It is a High School) is probably the best public high school in the entire Tampa Bay region.

Also, I recommend looking into the town of Seminole. You can check FL school grades on the Web. I don't remember the site, but you can use a search engine to find it easily.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Plant High School has been rated (at least it had a few years ago) as THE BEST public high school in Florida. It is in South Tampa. Several of my physician colleagues live in South Tampa (a more expensive area of Tampa due to the downtown and waterfront) so that their kids can go to school there. For private schools Berkley Prep is the best in town and one of the highest ranked private schools in the state. Most of my colleagues send their kids there. It is a bit north west of South Tampa (an area called Town and Country) Many people will live in South Tampa but send there kids to school there (10 to 25 min drive in traffic depending on where in South Tampa you live) rather than live in Town and Country. T & C is a lower income community and not highly regarded, but there are some real gem neighbourhoods there that are well kept secrets (Waterfront/non-gated: Dana Shores, Bay Crest // Waterfront/gated: Pelican Island, Sweetwater, Bayfront, Palm Bay) Also right beside Town and Country is an excellent large, non-waterfront, relatively affordable, suburban community named West Chase. It is made up of multiple gated and non-gated sections. (Warning:some of the planned communities there are so Nazi that they have made the national news. To be fair though, I have heard horror stories from several different planned communities in Tampa...) There are some excellent public schools in North Tampa as well, particularly in an area called Tampa Palms. North Tampa generally gives you more bang for your buck than $outh Tampa, but the downside is the traffic if you have to work downtown. I will tell you that I know several people who have moved from North Tampa to South Tampa and Sweetwater just so their kids would be closer to Berkley. In fact, there are Berkly Prep grads who move BACK from out of state to Tampa just so there kids can attend school there. (Warning; this school is not for rebels.)

Good luck.

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