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Old 09-07-2008, 12:42 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,298 times
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We are moving to Atlanta to take a new job in lower Buckhead. We definitely don't want a long commute and have 2 kids going into elementary school - and we prefer public. I have heard about Morris Brandon, Jackson, and Sarah Smith, but I'm thinking about the Emory area. Of course Sandy Springs, Roswell, East Cobb are good but that commute scares me.

I understand Morningside and Fernbank are good schools. We are also interested in Oak Grove based on what we've heard and I've read the threads here. Does anyone else have insight they could add?

Oakhurst and Mary Lin are too far south and east. And while we appreciate high test scores and academics we don't want a "test factory machine" as some have pointed out. We like diversity, music, and arts but I would not say we are "granola" as someone else posted here. We have lived in big cities, including Manhattan so we like urban areas.

Lastly I guess Morris Brandon would be OK too and close to work. But they have such high test scores. Does anyone know about this school?

Thanks
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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If it were me, I would avoid Dekalb County Schools and focus my search on City of Atlanta Schools. DeKalb Schools are not in good shape financially and DeKalb County as a whole (not just the schools) is still very much in transistion.

Fernbank and Oak Grove are fine schools, but those of us who are involved parents in DeKalb wonder at what point (and we may have already hit that point) when the good schools will start to suffer because the system has so many weak schools. Oak Grove has a new principal who is known to emphasize test scores and that is important to some in the community. Many Fernbank families don't continue onto public schools past elementary, so if you value k-12 public that is something to consider.

Atlanta is an up and coming school system very strong at the elementary level and fairly strong fiscally (though you pay higher taxes.) Morningside is much beloved in the community.
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Atlanta/Decatur/Emory area
1,320 posts, read 3,816,927 times
Reputation: 495
You should look at the City of Decatur schools as well. They're not significantly further than Fernbank (neither is Mary Lin for that matter). The Emory area is wonderful, but I'm very biased -- I've lived in this area since I was 6 years old except for a few years in Athens for graduate school.

You should visit the schools in advance of your move. Meet the administrators and get a feel for which one offers the best fit for your family.

Good luck with your move!
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:35 AM
 
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Yep, you could have your kids at Clairemont Elementary in City of Decatur Schools and be a good bit further north than Oakhurst Elementary. Their attendance zone is adjacent to Fernbank's.

I'm not as down on Dekalb Co. Schools as Last Minute is. Fernbank is an amazing school. You would want to check out the situation at Shamrock Middle though. Fernbank feeds into Shamrock. For some reason we (meaning Renfroe Middle) received a ton of students from Shamrock Middle this year who either moved to the Decatur district or are paying tuition to attend Renfroe. Shamrock has been destabilized a good bit lately by having to take transfers from other DeKalb Co. Schools that "failed" under NCLB.

I know folks who are very happy with Shamrock though. I'd try to just go check it out if you can find the time... even if you kids are several years off from middle school.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:10 AM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,062,958 times
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CMTiger

Fernbank (and many other DCSS schools) are OK for now. Only time will tell what impact the following things have on individual schools:

1. Declining property values in Dekalb as a whole -- DeKalb has been hard hit by the current foreclosure crisis -- which will in turn result in much lower property tax revenues for the system.

2. Less funds coming in from the state

3. A huge number of aging multi-family housing complexes from the top to the bottom of the county. Additionally, the reduction (rather rapid) of affordable housing with the city of Atlanta. All this has left DeKalb and Clayton as the place were anyone can afford to move.

4. NCLB and the demands (fiscal and otherwise) that are being put on DCSS for spending on low performing schools of which there are many

I know many parent leaders in both the Lakeside and Druid Hills cluster who are giving up on public school. Make sure you fully vet the system, not the school.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:50 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,298 times
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. It is a very interesting perspective to look at the entire system and politics behind it. Does anyone know more about this IB program at Fernbank? Or personal experience with the testing prep at these schools? Or even how much PE, art, and music they have?

I am not as concerned about middle school because we may move, or go private. I think it's more important to us to live in a fun community with a good school than to move way out to the suburbs.

Also, one last question. Are there any pools in this area? I remember my grandmother had a neighborhood pool in the Oak Grove area when I was a kid. Thanks so much!
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:06 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,057 posts, read 35,012,419 times
Reputation: 15180
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandermom View Post
Thanks everyone for the feedback. It is a very interesting perspective to look at the entire system and politics behind it. Does anyone know more about this IB program at Fernbank? Or personal experience with the testing prep at these schools? Or even how much PE, art, and music they have?

I am not as concerned about middle school because we may move, or go private. I think it's more important to us to live in a fun community with a good school than to move way out to the suburbs.

Also, one last question. Are there any pools in this area? I remember my grandmother had a neighborhood pool in the Oak Grove area when I was a kid. Thanks so much!
www.twinlakesswimtennis.org

www.bwbc.net

www.leafmoreclub.com
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Atlanta/Decatur/Emory area
1,320 posts, read 3,816,927 times
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As LovinDecatur has posted, there are a number of swim/tennis clubs in the Oak Grove area. There are also a number of private pools on the other side of the Emory area:

Pools - Decatur Georgia | Home of the Pool Sharks

Welcome to Lake Claire Pool

Inman Park Pool (http://www.inmanpark.org/pool.php - broken link)

And the Candler Park pool. The City of Decatur also has public pools at Glen Lake and McKoy Park:

Decatur Rec's Aquatics Programs & Pool Facilities
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:16 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,057 posts, read 35,012,419 times
Reputation: 15180
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandermom View Post
We are moving to Atlanta to take a new job in lower Buckhead. We definitely don't want a long commute and have 2 kids going into elementary school - and we prefer public. I have heard about Morris Brandon, Jackson, and Sarah Smith, but I'm thinking about the Emory area. Of course Sandy Springs, Roswell, East Cobb are good but that commute scares me.

I understand Morningside and Fernbank are good schools. We are also interested in Oak Grove based on what we've heard and I've read the threads here. Does anyone else have insight they could add?

Oakhurst and Mary Lin are too far south and east. And while we appreciate high test scores and academics we don't want a "test factory machine" as some have pointed out. We like diversity, music, and arts but I would not say we are "granola" as someone else posted here. We have lived in big cities, including Manhattan so we like urban areas.

Lastly I guess Morris Brandon would be OK too and close to work. But they have such high test scores. Does anyone know about this school?

Thanks
If lower B'head is where the job is, then you should definitely do some investigation into these three (very reputable) elem. schools. They are surrounded by great neighborhoods...my sister lived in North Buckhead (Sarah Smith district) for many years and loved it. She said the best thing about living there was its' proximity to everything.
Also, I have lived in DeKalb for many years and do love it here; however, lmm has given you some good food for thought re: its' schools.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:36 PM
 
401 posts, read 1,572,524 times
Reputation: 129
Lovin' has it right. Morris Brandon, Jackson and Sarah Smith are excellent. I believe that at least one of them (Morris Brandon) is an IB school. IB is a great program, and really helps to deflect the test prep mentality that traps some schools. I don't have a lot of knowledge of these schools so I haven't commented on them. However I do know that they are considered top knotch.

Have you checked greatschools.net? They have parent reviews of schools and it may give you a little bit of a feel for the culture of the schools you are considering.

I wouldn't say that Buckhead has an urban vibe at this point... more of an old money vibe. However, if you look around Collier Hills you could probably find something to your liking that is more urban feeling. I'm not sure which of these schools serves Collier Hills... perhaps it is E. Rivers. I have heard good things about E. Rivers. My understanding is that kids there take French every day.
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