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Issue Date: June 2009

Rating the Suburbs - Beachwood

Lisa Goldman, 50
Beachwood Schools orchestra director
We moved to Beachwood when our oldest was going into kindergarten. We wanted a community that was not far from University Circle, and we wanted a solid school system.

There are about 58 houses on my block, and Halloween is super active — 300 pieces of candy minimum. Everyone is sitting outside.

My neighborhood has a lot of little kids and a lot of parties. You’ve got the runners, you’ve got the dog walkers, the block-party organizers, the play groups.

Where I grew up, there were close to 800 in a graduating class. But in Beachwood, the average is 120 per graduating class. I think what my kids have that I didn’t have was the personalization.

We have this wonderful orchestra program. Last year, we took 50 kids and did a performance tour of Paris and London. The program is really thriving. I have great parents involved and great kids; I go to work happy every day.

One thing that always impressed me from going to faculty meetings is if there is a concern with a particular student, everyone knows who it is, and I think that’s a good thing. Everyone is on the same page.

I am lucky that I get to be with my students, grades four to 12. I get to see them grow, be a part of their mouthy teenaged business and be with them when they come out of it. I get to know the families and grandmothers.

The cultural values were much stronger than I thought they would be. When I moved into Beachwood 15 years ago, I was told I wouldn’t be happy here because there weren’t people like me, but I have found that to be quite the opposite. There is a very strong, artistic, intellectual community.

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