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Old 01-21-2010, 10:30 AM
Location: New Mexico
32 posts, read 103,210 times
Reputation: 23


In your opinion, are Eastside schools (typically in the Far NE heights) that much better than the westside schools? If so, why?

I grew up in the Far NE heights, went to school there. My husband and I moved to the westside before we decided we wanted a family. Now we have 2 kids, one is ready to go into kindergarten. I am trying to decide if its better to move back to the eastside or not for the schools. Our house payments is so affordable-we bought 10 years ago and there is no way we would get this kind of deal again. With what is going on now, we can take annual vacations and do a lot of activities with the kids.

When I was growing up in the heights, I never really thought my schools were 'great', just kind of well, normal schools. My husband also grew up and went to school in Albuquerque (in a less desirable school district than where I went). He did very well in his school and went on to go to great colleges and has a great job. He thinks it really matters more how much we get involved in the school than where the school is located. He also worries about some of the social pressures in the 'best' district. Plus staying here allows me to be a stay at home mom.

I'd love to hear thoughts from fellow ABQers as to the pros and cons. I really love our house and our neighborhood and would hate to leave it. Still, if its best for the kids, we would move. (Additional info: kids would be going to James Monroe for mid school and either Cibola or Volcano Vista for HS).

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:47 AM
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
3,587 posts, read 7,294,842 times
Reputation: 2750
Sharks vs. Jets?

APS schools tend to be pretty comparable in terms of teacher pay, facilities, etc. Where they tend to differ is the student and parent involvement. This last factor is what brands a school as "good" or "bad". Certainly, any teacher is going to be more effective if 29 out of 30 of their kids already speak the language and want to be there than if 3 out of 30 do. Naturally, the more experienced teachers tend to take advantage of their seniority to gravitate toward the less stressful environments, so there are secondary effects there.

Albuquerque does not have much of a disparity between east and west in terms of student bodies. A kid at Cibola high will probably do about as well as one at Del Norte.

Albuquerque does have a bit of a disparity between north and south in terms of student bodies. There's nothing wrong with the buildings or the instructors so much at Rio Grande, Highland, or West Mesa Highs, but their aggregate quality of education still ends up being quite low for Albuquerque. Honor students bound for Ivy League, etc., can still do so at any of these schools. It's just not as much fun.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:48 AM
25 posts, read 62,086 times
Reputation: 32

It sounds as if you are very happy where you are right now. If you discover that there is indeed a big difference in the school quality of east vs west, perhaps you should consider charter schools or home schooling, rather than moving.

In fact, given the low quality of the APS school system, I think you should consider these two other options in any event!

Best of luck with your decision.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:02 AM
Location: ABQ (Paradise Hills), NM
742 posts, read 2,606,793 times
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Are the schools in the far NE Heights better than the ones in your neighborhood? Yes. Are they SO much better as to offset the benefits of your current home/family situation? No. Not by a long shot.

Stay involved in your kids' school life, and they will benefit no matter where they attend.

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:04 PM
Location: Burque!
3,556 posts, read 8,853,622 times
Reputation: 802
Since you've asked... yes, East side everything is better.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:19 PM
Location: New Mexico
918 posts, read 2,005,284 times
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I am a teacher. Five years ago I left the classroom (at a different west side school) to take a three year job asa supervisor of new teachers and student teachers. During those three years, I traveled around to schools daily all over APS as a supervisor of teacher interns, so I got to see how schools functioned all over the city. I also participated in a behavior intervention program at one far NE heights elementary school that has high test scores and has been touted on this board as being "excellent."

Well, guess what? I was not impressed with the instruction at that "excellent" school compared to things that were going on at other schools. Just lots of worksheets and workbooks and not any great teaching. The test scores were decent because the kids came from families who valued their education -- not because the school was so great.

I also spent time at one far NE heights mid-school where I saw things that would make your head spin I don't want to go into details but gee -- I was shocked that this "excellent" school had some very undesirable qualities.

I also went to schools in the south valley -- a few that were spectacular and a few that were not so spectacular. For the most part, what I observed the most though, was that the schools deemed not so good, had many teachers who worked their butts off never sitting down during the day, and the schools that were deemed excellent, relied on canned programs and workbooks to teach while those teachers sat at their desks and graded papers way too often.

Also, many of the lower test score schools were bustling after the school day with after school clubs and teachers doing small group tutoring while the "excellent" schools were like ghost towns 15 min. after school let out.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:06 PM
Location: Paradise Hills
26 posts, read 33,172 times
Reputation: 58
East vs. West.
First - just a personal note
Mostly a school is only as good as the effort you and your child put into getting an education.
Then again there are schools that no matter how hard you try they are so caught up in an idea, you and your child are screwed.

Alot really depends on what elementary school district you are in now.
Go on line and check out their web site.
What happens at the school?
Is there a really active PTA? Are parents encouraged to help at the school and do they/
What kind of after school activities are there?
How vibrant is the elementary?
Then call and ask to visit. Go see some classrooms.
Do you live close enough to easily walk or are you close to a bus stop.
These are things you could look at in deciding about just an elementary school.
But you are looking at the long term and will need to consider middle schools and high schools.
This is James Monroes first year not being overcrowded, in years past the test scores have been dismal. Hopefully they will go up, but if they don't then there are still problems you may not want to deal with in the future.
And then there are the high schools. I have had a student graduate from Cibola and I currently have a student at Volcano Vista.
By the time you get to high school the atmosphere, strengths and weaknesses will have changed.
Cibola has an active college prep push, while Volcano Vista is following a new career model that has required vocational ed classes heavily featured.
La Cueva, Cibola and Volcano Vista are the only high school in APS to make AYP - Annual Yearly progress.
One other thing - APS is an open enrollemnt district.
You can go to any school- provided there is room. You don't have to move.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:29 PM
277 posts, read 574,563 times
Reputation: 121
I am not an expert on any of these schools by any means, but just wondering...

As the Westside rapidly expands, and more and more school-age kids are living over there over the next 10-20 years, if the current trends would can to hold true. If La Cueva is, in fact, THE place to be, what is going to happen as more (potential) jobs and families seep into the Westside (Intel, Rio Rancho, whatever...)? Are all these parents and kids going to tolerate the so-called mediocrity for long? Seems to me that there isn't much choice for Cibola et al. but to improve, if any of this is in fact true.

Similar thing about the North Valley which I don't understand. Plenty of affluent families and neighborhoods - can't understand how there hasn't been a bigger push to improve schools in the area, rather than just be resigned to private options.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:44 AM
1,072 posts, read 2,237,385 times
Reputation: 933
Stay where you are! The difference in school quality, if there is any, is hardly worth giving up the amazing quality of life you've achieved. Your kids will benefit immensely from you being a SAHM and the level of involvement that allows in their daily lives.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:23 AM
454 posts, read 912,704 times
Reputation: 527
Originally Posted by Chaparral View Post
Are the schools in the far NE Heights better than the ones in your neighborhood? Yes. Are they SO much better as to offset the benefits of your current home/family situation? No. Not by a long shot.

Stay involved in your kids' school life, and they will benefit no matter where they attend.


I completely agree. Although I think that La Cueva is better than RR schools, RR schools are decent and for someone in your situation, I think you being able to be at home and involved and not have financial stress is well worth staying, both for you and your kids.
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