For Highly Rated Schools — Great Neck, N.Y.
Median list price: $1,188,000
Great Neck is the name of both a peninsula jutting into Long Island Sound in Nassau County and one of the nine villages and several unincorporated areas that are part of it. The larger entity is what matters if you want to send your children to a school district that was recently ranked first in New York State and third in the United States by the educational ratings company Niche. (Or if you want them to follow in the footsteps of the director Francis Ford Coppola, comedian Andy Kaufman, hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen or Olympics skater Sarah Hughes, all of whom were educated there.)
Great Neck Union Free School District serves about 6,500 students in larger Great Neck, New Hyde Park and a section of the hamlet of Manhasset Hills. The district consists of one preschool, four elementary schools, two middle schools, two traditional high schools and the Village School, which provides alternative education for students with emotional difficulties adapting to conventional classrooms. (A 42-page document details the districtwide reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year.)
Raw numbers tell an impressive story. Expenditures per pupil last year were $30,536, versus $22,024 statewide. On 2018-19 assessments, 80 percent of the students from third to eighth grades met standards in English language arts, versus 45 percent statewide; 83 percent met standards in math, versus 49 percent statewide. The average SAT scores for the class of 2019 were 624 English and 668 math, versus 534 for both subjects statewide.
“Buyers have always come here because of the strong education that Great Neck offers, and more so now than ever,” said Angela Chaman, an agent with Laffey Real Estate. Ms. Chaman’s two younger children are students in the district, and her eldest, a 2019 graduate, is a student at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
“The class sizes are smaller,” she said. (The student-teacher ratio is 11 to 1.) “There is individual attention. If I had a child having a hard time during a certain period of life or with a certain subject, I always felt I could reach out to the teachers and admin for extra help.”
Asked whether competition with other highly regarded Long Island school districts — Jericho, Syosset and Roslyn, to name a few — is a force for excellence, Ms. Chaman said, “maybe.” Born in Iran, she gave more credit to Great Neck’s many immigrants and first-generation Americans, who respect the advantages of a good education and have high expectations for their children. A curriculum that offers Mandarin, Spanish, French and Hebrew reflects its international student body, as well as dishing out opportunities to hungry young learners, she said. (The district is 47 percent white, 41 percent Asian, 9 percent Hispanic or Latino, 2 percent multiracial and 1 percent Black or African-American.)
By the way, Great Neck also has a direct train line to Manhattan, more than 20 parks, four library branches and excellent shopping — attractions that raise the financial bar for entry. A four-bedroom “contemporary Colonial” on a third of an acre in the village of Great Neck Estates is $1.788 million, with taxes of $32,562. A two-bedroom co-op in a 1965 building near the Long Island Rail Road station, is $589,000 with a $1,081 monthly homeowner’s fee that includes property taxes.
Also consider: Scarsdale, N.Y.; Millburn, N.J.; Westport, Conn.