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Old 09-04-2015, 04:11 PM
 
5 posts, read 2,115 times
Reputation: 10

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My husband and I are looking to move somewhere new in the next 1-2 years. We are both teachers - he's high school math/physics. I'm certified K-8, highly qualified K-6 for elementary (all subjects), and highly qualified in math for 7-8. We both have graduate degrees, he's been teaching for 6 years, I've been teaching for 3. We have only taught in urban environments with a high population of English Language Learners. I plan to add science and possibly more to my HQ status for middle school as I want to get out of elementary. We currently live in Las Vegas and hate the traffic here (we see terrible accidents constantly) and we're really unhappy with the school district. We didn't think we could have children when we moved here, but have since had 2 -We have a 17 month old and a 1 month old. We don't want to raise our children here.

We are considering moving to the Atlanta suburbs. We're looking specifically at districts that have more of a year round schedule because that fits with our desire to travel at more desirable times of the year. I would appreciate some input on the following worries/questions we have in considering a move to the Atlanta area (we would strongly prefer a suburb, not the city itself):

Would it be difficult for us both to land teaching jobs in the same district?
We want to live in an area where our children can attend good schools, preferably in the same district in which we teach. Any suggestions for where to look?
We are both atheists and will be raising our children this way until they are old enough to think and decide for themselves. Would this make us very unwelcome or cause any problems?
Can we get a modern home in a good neighborhood zoned for good schools for $300k or under?
How spread apart are most districts? Ideally, we would like to live close to where we teach. My current commute is 5-8 minutes. My husband's is 8-10 minutes.
What's the bug situation like?
How's traffic and traffic safety?
Are schools air conditioned in August?

Edit: Is merit pay a statewide thing? Does the entire state use the same teacher evaluation?
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Old 09-04-2015, 04:30 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU
4,130 posts, read 3,234,413 times
Reputation: 3154
So first thing is understanding school districts here. They're almost all county level with a few exceptions, Atlanta, Decatur, and Buford each have their own school district (maybe Marietta, not sure). Other than that it's all county level. Gwinnett County (where I live) is the largest in the state with near 150,000 students and about 20 high schools with many middle and elementary schools branching off to a specific high school. So it's very possible to be in the same district, but be 45 minutes or more away depending on traffic. Schedules here aren't year round but they've been moving that way. In the late 90s when I was in Kindergarten the last day was in June and we started late August. Now the last day is rotated from May 20th to 26th generally. The earliest first day I had in high school a few years ago was August 11th I think. Now it's around the 7th or earlier. Some districts have started as early as July 31st.

Again, it's definitely feasible to be in the same district, but you may or not be close to one another. Same with schools. There are plenty of great schools in Gwinnett (some of the best in the state). Technically same district, but possibly far away.
Yes you absolutely can get a good home for under 300K. My house fits that bill. Very safe area as well.
Commute would be a crap shoot. I was a sub in Gwinnett last year in the south central part of the county. Same days it was 5 minutes to my local middle school, other days it was 50 minutes with traffic.
Bugs? I imagine more than in a desert. Be sure to get rid of any standing water puddles or pools.
Traffic can be really bad on some roads, not so bad on others. You'll learn quickly which roads to avoid. Cross regional traffic is what will really get you.
Schools are absolutely AC'd. Last time I checked, buses weren't but it's not that big a deal except for a few weeks.
Not sure about pay.
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Old 09-04-2015, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,458 posts, read 7,275,797 times
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Gwinnett actually hit 176k students this year. It is crazy!

I don't know of any year round schools either. I don't think that is a common thing.

You should be fine on house budget and have a wide variety of options across the area. The larger systems you will look at will likely be Cobb County, Fulton County, and Gwinnett County. There are many other smaller systems around that are just as good going further out than that. You will be priced out of some areas, but there are many nice areas that are affordable at your price range.

Atheist isn't a problem, but you are in the bible belt.... and this is a very large diverse city. The more exurban or conservative the area is, the more that might take a toll on the overall population. I would be more prepared to politely handle questions from neighbors, like ... what church do you go to?
The areas that are more diverse from international residents tend to be a bit quieter when it comes to religion as the religions represented are far more diverse.
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Old 09-04-2015, 04:46 PM
 
3,966 posts, read 10,812,805 times
Reputation: 1428
I don't think the highly qualified buys you much here (in terms of salary enhancements), but math and science you can pretty much have your pick of jobs.

Start here to understand the ins and outs of GA teacher certification:
GaPSC*

Yes, you could certainly land jobs in the same system because we have many large systems. Teacher pay varies a bit by district, Atlanta and Fulton have the highest, Cobb, Gwinnett and then DeKalb I think is the proper order. You can go each system's human resources web page and figure out their pay scale.

Further out from the core, you might look at Forsyth or Cherokee. here you will find more affordable, modern housing. Generally much less diversity. GaPSC*

Gwinnett grows by 1000s of kids a year and I imagine you could find jobs in the same high school cluster or close to it.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,451 posts, read 2,829,870 times
Reputation: 2151
Clayton and Henry school districts need more money. I know school districts here aren't on all year schedules accept some charter schools. As far as Clayton goes it has a/c in all schools and buses. They aren't on the dreaded block schedule and they have lots of technology. If you decide to enroll your child make sure they have all honors classes. They also have the option of taking high school classes in middle school if wanted. The best schools in Clayton are Forest Park, Jonesboro, and Elite Scholars(an all year charter school). If Clayton doesn't work there's Cobb and Gwinnett. I would personally stay away from Fulton, DeKalb, and APS. They have some issues to work out when it comes to leadership. And Fulton county is behind in technology to the others.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:40 PM
 
5 posts, read 3,316 times
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The one school that I know of that goes year round is called Elite Scholars Academy; however, they are located in Clayton County, which is a county that is not known for having great schools. Also, this school goes from 6th-12th grades. If you are in need of a real estate agent to assist you, please don't hesitate to send me a message. I will be more than happy to assist you.
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:12 PM
 
142 posts, read 104,247 times
Reputation: 183
Henry, Rockdale, and Newton counties are all on the "year-round" schedule. It is not really year-round, but the summers are shorter and there is a week break every 6 weeks. We start school the very end of July or beginning of August, have a week off at the end of Sept. or early October, a week off at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas, a week in Feb., a week in April, and then get out around the end of May. We really like the schedule. Henry would be the better bet out of the three IMO because I believe it pays more and is larger so you will have more schools to choose from. Plus, it has some really great schools to put your kids in. The Union Grove cluster of schools being the best, and the Ola cluster next. Henry hired something like 500 new teachers this year and continues to grow. I am sure they will have openings when you are ready to look.
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,451 posts, read 2,829,870 times
Reputation: 2151
Quote:
Originally Posted by thdaniel View Post
The one school that I know of that goes year round is called Elite Scholars Academy; however, they are located in Clayton County, which is a county that is not known for having great schools. Also, this school goes from 6th-12th grades. If you are in need of a real estate agent to assist you, please don't hesitate to send me a message. I will be more than happy to assist you.
Well Elite Scholars is a national blue ribbon school and is one of the best in the state. Clayton also has Stilwell School of the arts and Jonesboro and Forest Park high schools are doing much better. Test scores don't equal school success, resources do.
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