Fulfilling our drea...
 

Fulfilling our dream of Caribbean Living Early  

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klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 239
September 8, 2014 7:43 pm  

I'll try and make this short and quick. LOL! Soon enough you will see that is quite laughable w/ me. Anyway, my husband and I have always had the dream of retiring in the Caribbean. But recently I realized that if we waited till then we will NEVER make it. Sooooo, we are looking to relocate in a year or 2 (sooner if doable) to St. Croix with our 2 daughters who are 9 & 6.

After reading this entire site, though not every single forum and topic of discussion, we are starting the planning process. I have my degree in Elementary Education and already scoped out the DVI Education website and found out I have everything need to teach there. I just have to apply. I also contacted a local realtor in St. Croix and found out that St. Croix is in need of teachers. My husband has been working in the restaurant industry since he was 16 and is a Manager at a high volume restaurant.

Both of our children will attend public schools there. What I would like to know is which of the elementary schools would you suggest are "the best." Please don't comment if you are going to tell me how horrible the public schools are over there. I've worked in low income school districts and know for a fact that there are plenty of great dedicated teachers doing their best to teach with what they are given.

Also, I don't want to live in the Upscale east end areas of the island. I want to live and be apart of the community. However, I don't want to have to look over my shoulder 24/7. What neighborhoods/quarters would you suggest?

I have other questions as well but my post is already long enough. LOL. Thanks in advance for any input.


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TommySTX
(@TommySTX)
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Posts: 220
September 8, 2014 7:52 pm  

Congrats on the decision! Have you been to St. Croix before? My wife and I moved here when I was able to get job transfer a couple months ago. I was only able to do a 1 week visit before we moved. We have been here a couple months and love it so far. We do not have children so unfortunately I can't help with the school question but I can help with any moving type questions if you have any since we are fresh off of doing it. We chose to live on the West end near Frederiksted and have had no issues and feel we're in a very safe area. You will hear stories that, while what the people are saying is true tends to focus a lot on the negatives. We are still very new obviously but haven't felt a bit unsafe anywhere yet and we don't live like hermits. GOOD LUCK and congrats again on LIVING life and not letting it come at you. We're very happy we made that decision! 🙂


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klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
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Posts: 239
September 8, 2014 7:59 pm  

Hi TommySTX! Actually we have not been to St. Croix before. We have, however, been to the Bahamas, Jamaica (2 times) and the Dominican Republic. We were originally thinking of Jamaica b/c we love the laid back culture but after researching realized it would be very difficult to move and get employment there. So I thought of the USVI. I'm sure it is different than the other Caribbean islands we've been to, but I'm sure they are also similar as well. We plan on making a PMV closer to our move date, since we are going to save up as much $ as possible and we don't want to give any prospective employers the wrong idea of when we will be moving. We want our word to mean something and not have people think we are flakes before we even get out there! LOL.

Thanks for any advice you can give us. we are super excited!


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OptimusPrime
(@OptimusPrime)
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Posts: 29
September 9, 2014 1:23 am  

I would definitely do a PMV before making definite plans. My wife and I moved here less than a year ago with all of our belongings and we are already planning out move back to the states. We studied and planned for years, but reading about and seeing in person are two different things. Also make sure your PMV is long enough to get past the vacation feel. I don't want to badmouth the people or the island itself, it just isn't what we expected overall and is way more expensive for everyday items. Best of luck!


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MosquitoBaitt
(@MosquitoBaitt)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 80
September 9, 2014 2:47 am  

Please don't comment if you are going to tell me how horrible the public schools are over there.

Also, I don't want to live in the Upscale east end areas of the island. I want to live and be apart of the community. However, I don't want to have to look over my shoulder 24/7.

First you ask about the public schools then ask us NOT to tell you the truth.

And the upscale people ARE part of the community, just like the non-upscale people.

It's one island, one people, one love on STX.

~ It's Always Beer Thirty!


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klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
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September 9, 2014 2:59 am  

MosquitoBaitt, you left out some important information when you decided to quote me.

I also said, "I've worked in low income school districts and know for a fact that there are plenty of great dedicated teachers doing their best to teach with what they are given."

I asked for "the best" public schools on St. Croix because private school are not an option for us and I'm sure my children can get a good education within the publics school system. When I read other posts on this forum a majority of the people do nothing but bad mouth the public schools. I'm sure that they ALL aren't as bad as people make them seem. We live in a neighborhood in San Diego County where the schools are rated 2-3 out of 10. Your schools can't be that much worse.

And yes I said I want to be apart of the "community.' But from one of the realtors I've already talked with, she tried to show me only homes in the "Upper East end" where it is, according to her" the ONLY safe place on St. Croix to raise my children. I'm sure that is false too. I want to be immersed in the culture. Not live in a bubble.

It seems to me Mosquito that I have some how offended you b/c you only seem to nitpick my original post. If you have some information about the public schools or neighborhoods other than the "upper east end" I'd love to hear them. Otherwise I'm sorry you seemed to take my original post out of context and I hope you have a wonderful evening.


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klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
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Posts: 239
September 9, 2014 3:03 am  

Hi OptimusPrime!

Thanks for the feed back. We definitely plan on doing a PMV closer to our move date.

We are definitely aware of the higher cost of living and have taken that into account. Right now I am a SAHM and when we get there I plan to get back into the work force teaching. I'm sorry it wasn't what you expected, But I LOVE your encouragement at the end of your post. Are you sure you don't want to stay? You seen to have the awesome friendly Islands attitude.


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Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
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Posts: 681
September 9, 2014 10:25 am  

Please don't comment if you are going to tell me how horrible the public schools are over there.

Also, I don't want to live in the Upscale east end areas of the island. I want to live and be apart of the community. However, I don't want to have to look over my shoulder 24/7.

First you ask about the public schools then ask us NOT to tell you the truth.

And the upscale people ARE part of the community, just like the non-upscale people.

It's one island, one people, one love on STX.

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

And, really, if this person is going to work for the public school system, unless she and hubby are living off a trust fund, she's gonna be one of the poors anyway.

Not looking over your shoulder 24/7, especially with kids, is not common sense. Not here.

IT


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CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
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September 9, 2014 10:35 am  

We live in a neighborhood in San Diego County where the schools are rated 2-3 out of 10. Your schools can't be that much worse.

Not unless you consider 1 out to 10 to be much worse.


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Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
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Posts: 681
September 9, 2014 10:37 am  

We live in a neighborhood in San Diego County where the schools are rated 2-3 out of 10. Your schools can't be that much worse.

Not unless you consider 1 out to 10 to be much worse.

And when, exactly, did they finally become nationally accredited again? Just a few years ago?

IT


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noOne
(@noOne)
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September 9, 2014 11:17 am  

STX is 28x7 miles with 55k population, which is not the same as an area like San Diego's school districts.

according to http://vide.nclbreports.avr247.com/vidoe/Reports/ReportsLanding.aspx the 2011-12 USVI graduation rate was 64.9%

Reading proficiency also was at 35.9% and math proficiency was at 46.4%

You can read what you consider to be "bad" and "good" here, but the numbers don't lie.

Since your daughters are getting here at such a young age, perhaps the culture shock will not be so bad for them. For you, on the other hand...


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noOne
(@noOne)
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September 9, 2014 11:35 am  

Yeah reading a little about SD:

"As of 2005 it represents over 200 institutions and has over 15,800 employees. The average teacher in the district makes around $67,000 a year, with a benefit package worth around $24,000 a year."

I don't think you're going to find anything even remotely like that down there, in structure, pay, appreciation or input on how the schools run as a teacher, student or parent.


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TommySTX
(@TommySTX)
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Posts: 220
September 9, 2014 12:04 pm  

More "STX is a nightmare posts". I don't know why these boards exist or why half of the people post on them if their posts are always negative. They should re-name this board "Reasons to run away or stay away from STX."


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noOne
(@noOne)
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September 9, 2014 12:08 pm  

Well then Tommy, speak up! What good do you have to say about the school system down there?

//I notice a dearth of people speaking up in favor


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CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
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September 9, 2014 12:08 pm  

Would you ban negative product reviews on the internet?


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TommySTX
(@TommySTX)
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Posts: 220
September 9, 2014 12:17 pm  

I've seen so many people coming to this board for advice or some direction and instead of actually addressing that person's question the discussion inevitably goes to how horrible this place is in every aspect. Then all the negative people go to the time honored "we're just being honest" line. Why is it so important for so many of the participants of this board to try and scare people away? Maybe there's not enough good people actually moving here because all they hear are horror stories, while true, that do not paint an accurate picture of life here.

I can't speak to the schools directly as I've already stated. I don't have kids and would only be giving second hand knowledge from friends I've spoken to that also live here.

I feel like apologizing to so many people looking for advice on this board and tell them that life here is not some horrible nightmare filled with crime and rude people. The posts go way off topic and the OP's are left shaking their heads I'm sure.

klpmtm,

I'm sorry for hijacking your post to rant like this. I hope you are able to speak with some people that can give you a realistic view of things including the schools. I know one of the teachers at a local elementary school. I don't think she scans these boards but perhaps I can talk to her and get some feedback on what she thinks for you.


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
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Posts: 6523
September 9, 2014 12:26 pm  

TommySTX makes a viable point which has been observed by many new to the forum and is also well-recognized by many of us who've been contributing for many years. Getting up early in the morning as usual I opened up the forum to find a slew of posts from a few of the regular naysayers whose barrage of negativity was quite a morning-dampener and led me once again to wonder for the millionth time, "why do you even live here?"

Of course not everyone thinking of moving here is going to actually make the move, and the majority of those who do don't stay forever for any number of reasons. But jumping all over someone with a challenging tone isn't helpful. There are disgruntled and disillusioned people everywhere but those who post here aren't representative of the whole by any stretch.

kipmtm, take it all with a block of salt and look forward to the PMV which will afford you a better idea of what it's like to actually live in the islands. Good luck!


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
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September 9, 2014 12:27 pm  

klp: I can't help you with St Croix, but we would welcome a great teacher and family on St Thomas. If you haven't been to the VI before, consider us! We are closer to the BVI for fun weekends, have lots of activities for children, easy access to the US, blah,blah.. 😉


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sheiba
(@sheiba)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 483
September 9, 2014 12:32 pm  

Pearl B Larsen and Ricardo Richards are know as the two better public schools on island. However, even if you live in the assigned district there is no guarantee your children will attend that school. If there are no openings in your district school your children will be assigned the next closest school which could be one of the worst.
An east side address would likely send your kids to Pearl B Larsen but as I mentioned its not a guarantee.
And FYI being a teacher or employee at that school will not allow your kids to enroll. It is strictly enforced based on residency. Source-I am a school employee, with kids, feel free to pm me with questions.


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noOne
(@noOne)
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Posts: 1495
September 9, 2014 12:34 pm  

I would suggest getting involved as an employee at a private school and enroll your kids under a special rate.


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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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Posts: 8748
September 9, 2014 12:53 pm  

i was also going to suggest pearl b larson. most people do say that is one of the best in elementary.

your pay will most likely be nothing like you are expecting. they were talking this am on a local talk show about a teacher charging a student for a drink of water.

the safest areas of the island are NOT in the project-other than that-read about the crime. it can find you even in the "safest" areas.

any other questions, just feel free to ask.

the crime/school talk is not meant to scare you off, just prepare you for the truth


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Alana33
(@Alana33)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12191
September 9, 2014 1:08 pm  

I do not know the public school system in STX as I live in STT but parochial schools are an option and less expensive than private schools. I believe that the private schools do offer reduced/hardship/scholarship (?) rates for qualified students and their families.
Do your homework as happy kids make happy life.

Best to decide where children will be going to school and then choosing a rental location that is convenient for the commute and access to your work, shopping and play.

You may want to contact a Realtor during you PMV and get a insiders take on locations and neighborhoods. You can check the local papers to see what's available as well as check on MLS.

STX has AVIS and Crucian Trader as their local papers. They get the Daily News as well but the majority of listings I see there are for STT locations. Crucian Trader is a weekly advertising paper with things for sale and rent. It's free.

STX is much larger than STT and rents are cheaper but the commuting distance can be
longer due to its larger size. STT has better access to other islands for getaways for day-trips like hopping on the car barge to explore St. John for the day and it has some good public schools for younger kids such as Sibilly School and the old Peace Corps school they renamed Yvonne Browski or something like that.

Just have a good cash stash as relocating with kids will be costlier than just setting up house by yourself. Make a list of all your expenses to be: rent, (1st, last, security dep.),
your utilities for electricity, internet, cable or DISH TV, paying for water usage if metered, etc. and all their deposits if not included in rental amount and many don't include everything and you'll pay more for those that do.

Will you have to set up from scratch and purchase linens, towels, cleaning supplies, vacuum, mop, bucket, broom, pots, pans, glassware, silverware, dish-wares, TV's, DVD player, groceries, small incidentals that you haven't thought of and of course tuition for kids. Will you need to buy furniture? Add buying or shipping a car into the mix. Will you need 1 car or 2 since you'll both be working and kids going to school?
It all adds up very quickly so be prepared for how fast it will go.

It's quite different living here and vacationing here and "island life is not for everyone" as many will tell you.

"The worst that will happen is that after a year, you'll decide island life is not for you and move on to something else, somewhere else."

Good luck on following your dream but throw some realities in there as well.


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noOne
(@noOne)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 1495
September 9, 2014 2:20 pm  

V.I. in need of about 130 more teachers

he V.I. Education Department is facing a severe teacher shortage this fall, but Education officials say there will be a teacher in every classroom.

Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory said the shortage last week was around 147 vacancies, but she is hoping it will drop to about 130 by the first day of school.

The department was conducting interviews and making offers up to Friday, and will continue after the school year starts.

St. Croix Superintendent Gary Molloy said human resources officers and school administrators have been conducting lots of interviews over the summer to ensure they have the opportunity to get candidates to fill the positions that are vacant.

Molloy said there are about 70 vacancies in his district.

"We are going to have some challenges in some schools where we are still short on teachers, especially on the secondary level," St. Thomas-St. John District Superintendent Janette Smith-Barry said.

Smith-Barry said some of the vacancies are from people who had committed to working for the upcoming school year, and then abruptly changed their minds at the last minute.

The commissioner echoed that sentiment.

"We've had vacancies that we came into the summer knowing about and had been working to fill, and then there have been the recent notices of retirements and resignation effective August 31," Frett-Gregory said. "No matter what we do, we can not plan for those last-minute things."

Frett-Gregory said the challenges in staffing for the department have never been a secret but shortages in critical areas like secondary science and mathematics is something she is concerned about. She said the department is currently in talks with the union, discussing what they can or will do to address those problems.


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CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2447
September 9, 2014 2:41 pm  

.


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SapphireBeach
(@SapphireBeach)
Active Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 12
September 9, 2014 4:29 pm  

I am so glad I didn't discover this board until after we purchased our St. Thomas condo. We don't live on island full time, but enough to have experienced waiting in long lines at the bank, post office, grocery store and almost everywhere else. We have experienced "teeth sucking" and being ignored. We have known the frustration of dealing with WAPA, Innovative and almost every government agency. We know that "tomorrow" simply means "not today".

On the other hand, we have had people go out of their way to help us before we even asked. We've shared many precious moments with people who have always called St. Thomas their home. At the end of the day, it is paradise. Is paradise perfect? Apparently not, but close enough for many of us.

Maybe klpmtm will love island living, maybe not. I suspect type A personalities don't thrive here, we don't know if she's one or not. As far a schooling goes, she's a teacher. Worse case, she home schools her children.

I have no specific information to provide on St. Croix. We are visiting that island for the first time in November. I've been told it's a much different life there than on St. Thomas. I only wanted to counter some of the negativity. The intention is to warn you that island life isn't going to be what you expect.


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