There's so much to say about the Montclair Public School system, it's hard to know where to start. It's a magnet system, with six elementary schools (technically seven, but one pair together comprises K-5th) and three middle schools that all ultimately funnel into a single high school. Children don't automatically attend the closest, neighborhood school, but rather submit their school preference in rank order. Almost all are granted their first or second choice.
This is an incredible system that was initiated decades ago to integrate the schools. Each elementary school has a magnet theme - STEM, Montessori, Gifted and Talented, Environmental Studies, etc. - in addition to its district-wide offerings, so while they all provide the same curriculum, they all have a slightly different vibe.
When a child starts school in this district, the family fills out a Placement Request Form. In order to help families become familiar with the schools, there are a few weeks in March where parents and kids can tour the schools. Also, this year, there are Virtual Tours available, where each elementary and middle school is showcased in a 2-4 minute video.
I sometimes jokingly refer to this process as the Tyranny of Choice. For me, it's like going to a diner hungry and having too many yummy options on the menu. When we came to Montclair, I could literally see one of the elementary schools from my house. Charming and unbelievably close, this was not the school we ended up requesting. We thought my son would thrive more at a different (larger) school and also our school of choice had a later start time and provided busing, something I came to cherish as I started working more. (I know...me...the Walkability Queen!)
I have lots of information about the schools -- as a real estate agent, a community member, and a parent who has watched three kids rise through many of them. My clients say I am a wealth of information, and I'm always delighted to share the wealth. Call me! 973.809.5277