Scottsdale the best city in the country to raise children
Parents have chosen the best city in the country to raise their children, according to the online-identity services website MyLife.com.
That is, if parents are basing their choice on the same criteria as the website. MyLife compared the country’s 100 most-populous cities and determined the ranking using specific criteria: Average family income, cost of living, crime rate, quality of public schools, and the number of public parks per capita.
The website gleaned statistics from the data-collection websites SchoolDigger.com, NeighborhoodScout.com and AreaVibes.com, as well as the Census and Yelp.com. SchoolDigger measures the quality of public schools by averaging published math and English test scores from state departments of education.
Scottsdale landed the No. 1 spot by scoring especially high in the “average family income,” “quality of public schools” and public-parks categories.
The “accolade seems right on the mark,” said Kelly Corsette, spokesman for the city of Scottsdale.
“We’re a safe city, with great parks and outdoor spaces, served by top-notch schools,” he said.
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Tamara Delmar, area director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, also found the ranking appropriate, but said the criteria do not capture all of what makes Scottsdale an ideal environment for raising children. She cited the Scottsdale Police Department’s relationship with the Boys and Girls Clubs as an example of the “spirit of collaboration” among community agencies that really sets the city apart.
“(The Police Department) does an incredible job of outreaching to the community,” Delmar said. “They have provided presentations giving us a better understanding of what they do. One officer came to us and asked if he could start a mentorship program in the Grayhawk community. They also provide counseling services. They are always willing to go above and beyond the scope of their own jobs to support the families they work with.”
Jeff Thomas, associate superintendent for the Scottsdale Unified School District, said the city couldn’t have nabbed No. 1 without Scottsdale’s great teachers and school leaders.
“You would be hard-pressed to find a community more engaged in education for children than Scottsdale,” he said. “We take a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of every child.”
However, next school year, budget cuts are expected to reduce music and art classes, cut teaching positions and close one elementary school. That will create a challenge for the district to maximize educational opportunities with less resources, in an effort to maintain education quality, Thomas said.
“We’ll focus on the core areas first to make sure kids are college- and career-ready,” he said.
Delmar praised the Scottsdale Unified School District for providing excellent educations to Scottsdale kids, but also said she would like to see the district enter into more partnerships with youth-development programs such as her own.
“(Those partnerships) are hard for any community to provide, but I think it would really take Scottsdale even further up the echelon in regard to quality youth services,” she said.
Scottsdale wasn’t the only city in the Valley to make MyLife’s list. Chandler came in No. 4, scoring especially high in the public-school ranking category.
MyLife’s list came just a day after the financial website WalletHub.com ranked Gilbert the ninth-best U.S. city for families. WalletHub compared the 150 largest U.S. communities and ranked Gilbert high based on its affordability, socio-economic demographics and education. The city ranked lukewarm for health and safety on that list and did poorly in the “family activities and fun” category.
Scottsdale came in No. 28 on that list.
MyLife, headquartered in Los Angeles, publishes the “Top 10 Cities” lists in order to “reinforce community and connection” among its users, said Becky Velazco, the website’s spokeswoman.