Montclair Elementary Schools Open House Schedule

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

schoolbus.jpgIf you have children in Montclair, you know about the kindergarten tours and “choice” process. Parents drag themselves through six schools in a week’s time, pick one they think will get their kid into Princeton, and then rank elementary schools in order of preference from first to last. Parents do this while trying not to get too emotionally attached to a certain school because very few get their first choice in the end. 
Montclair has had a magnet school system since 1977, a move made to desegregate our town’s schools. Basically, that means you can live in the uppermost part of Upper Montclair and still choose to go to Nishuane–at least theoretically. We hear it’s a complex process meant for people who understand quantum physics.

You register in March and then wait. You get a letter in early July letting you know which school your child will attend. You barely get that letter in time to buy school supplies before the Staples in Cedar Grove is wiped out.

My daughter will be going to kindergarten in September (how did this happen again?), so I’ll be touring next week. The thought of my little baby being old enough makes me cry. I plan to bring a box of tissues and wear waterproof mascara on her first day. The good thing is that I truly believe Montclair’s schools are great and know that wherever she ends up, she’ll be in good hands.
Here is the schedule for tours:

Day hours:

  • Bradford — 9:15 & 10:15 a.m.
  • Edgemont — 9:00 & 10:00 a.m.
  • Hillside –10:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Nishuane — 9:30-10:15 & 10:30-11:15 a.m.
  • Northeast — 9:00-9:45 & 10:00-10:45 a.m.
  • Rand & Watchung — 9:30-10:15 & 10:30-11:15 a.m.


Evening Hours 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. : 

  • February 2nd – Nishuane
  • February 3rd – Edgemont
  • February 4th – Northeast
  • February 5th – Rand
  • February 10th – Bradford
  • February 11th – Watchung
  • February 12th – Hillside  


Pick up an orientation packet at the Montclair Board of Education, 22 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042. Or download the packet here. All the hours are open house visitation, so no appointment is necessary. If you can’t fit in all the tours this week, tours will be available during school hours after March 1st by appointment only. You need to call the school directly to set one up.

  • Bradford       (973) 509-4155
  • Edgemont     (973) 509-4162
  • Nishuane      (973) 509-4222
  • Northeast      (973) 509-4242
  • Rand            (973) 509-4255
  • Watchung     (973) 509-4259     

What do you think about our elementary school “choice” process?


  1. POSTED BY Lila Lee  |  January 31, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

    My kids have an Oct 1st and a Sept 30 birthday. Is there a culture of holding kids back a year before starting kindergarten if they’re that close to the cutoff date?
    Also – have their been any theories as to why the schools all have various rankings. They’re all supposedly good, but does one school fiddle with their submission of numbers so that it ranks significantly higher on sites like schooldigger than the other Montclair schools?

  2. POSTED BY Maria  |  February 07, 2009 @ 7:14 am

    My son’s birthday is September 24th. After much discussion with various education professionals (one being my sister) and my own feelings about his maturity, I chose to start him later. He is now in first grade and he his flourishing. He has gained confidence in knowing he is one of the oldest in his class (there are a few August and early September children older then him). I also heard it’s different for boys than for girls, but I have never regretted my decision.

  3. POSTED BY Lila Lee  |  February 13, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    Hi Maria,
    Thank you for your input. We’re definitely leaning towards it.
    I think it might be a cultural choice too. When speaking to my NY parents they wonder why I would consider such a thing. When I speak to NJ parent, they almost always wonder why I am hesitating and advise me to go ahead and do it!
    So that buy me a bit more time to deal with kindergarten. I swear it has nothing to do with it though!

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