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Old 07-13-2009, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
6 posts, read 13,649 times
Reputation: 11

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We're thinking about buying a new home, and want a progressive, community oriented public school for our son. The two neighborhoods we're looking at right now are Medlock and the LaVista area. Does anyone have real life experience and opinions on the schools? Or, do you have other favorites in the same general area?

Briarlake vs. Medlock?

Henderson vs. Shamrock?

Lakeside vs. Druid Hills?
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
1 posts, read 2,782 times
Reputation: 10
Default Lavista Area Opinion from a native Dekalb parent

Having grown up in Dekalb County (attended Fernbank Elementary) and now having two kids of my own with special needs (Aspergers for both and a mild PDDNOS for my youngest) I have some experience with the Dekalb County School System. My son went to K & 1st at Briarlake, but we decided to remove him and home school after 1st grade, simply because as an Aspy, they weren't able to cater to his strengths (reads and comprehends at a 9th grade level) and his weaknesses (significant social issues & difficulty w/ nonverbal cues). However, this does not mean that I think Briarlake is any less of a school. I think it is a great school for most people. My youngest is entering pre-k this year at Coralwood (they just do pre-k & K for a mixed student body of kids with various disabilities and standard HF kids), just down the road. So far it's been a great school and my daughter loves it.
But back to Briarlake, they are a very involved school w/ a strong PTA that feeds into Lakeside. (A higher rated school than DHHS) but not to put down DHHS, I just think that overall, LHS has a better reputation than DHHS.

As for middle schools, I really don't have an opinion. I don't like middle schools just on GP, but that's my baggage probably.

I recommend Briarlake & Lakeside if at all possible. Oh and if you have a son, join the Cub Scouts at Briarlake. It's a great program, but then I am biased.

Hope this helped.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:16 AM
 
3,564 posts, read 7,445,275 times
Reputation: 1041
First, I need to ask the obvious. Did you consider City of Decatur? That would certainly be my first choice.

As a long time DeKalb resident and DeKalb schools parent, I have grave concerns about the direction DCSS is headed. There is a wide variance of quality of schools within DeKalb, even within high school clusters. Unlike some other school systems, DeKalb doesn't come close to delivering a consistently strong program at every school.

I have no idea how old your children are, but this Fall DCSS is set to announce another round of redistricting and school closings. These changes very possibly will impact the high school clusters you are looking for. If you can wait, I would.

The perception (and perhaps the reality) is that DCSS is not the best school system to work for. In my nearly two decades involved with the school system, I have seen a total decline in the quality of leadership. Even the good schools aren't immune, because if the good candidates aren't applying, well, you get the picture.

All N. DeKalb middle and high schools are pretty much two schools -- that is if you have a gifted/high achieving students, you get one experience (generally positive), but if you an average or lower student, it is generally not a good experience.

Middle school stinks as a model (I agree with the other poster) and if your child(ren) are very young there is the real possibility that the model may be tweaked changed nationally over time. Research continues to show that it just doesn't work.

What is your timeline? Do you have school age children? If not, I would wait 8 weeks until school is back in session and go visit. These are two very different elementary schools.

Finally, I would sacrifice what I wanted in terms of housing to live within the City of Decatur, I think over time that school system will continue to move forward. Many in DeKalb aren't even convinced that the system has hit rock bottom yet.
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