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Old 12-20-2009, 03:24 PM
 
11 posts, read 30,203 times
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Hi there.
We are an English family (from London) looking at re-locating to Atlanta with my husband's company. We are interseted in AIS - I know some of you have direct experience of AIS and wondered if you would mind helping us out / answering any queries.
We have two kids - son is 7 yrs and daughter is 3yrs.
We are coming over to Atlanta mid January to see the city / get a gauge of the place and try to see where we would like to live / what we can expect regarding housing / neighbourhoods / sports facilities / day-to-day living etc...
Husbands office is in Dunwoody - just by the 285/400 intersection.
When we come over in January we will hopefully be able to see the school - any tips / advice for admission. (our kids will be coming on a later trip). I have spoken to the school and they have been very informative & helpful - but I am concerned upon reading about the difficulty of getting in etc... our kids are bright and sociable but not 'gifted' as such (at least not to anyone else's definition of the term !!)
Any help would be much appreciated. This school is really the only one we are interested in, at the moment - because it has the IB program / it is easier for us to transfer back to UK or elsewhere after a few years / the immersion language programe appeals to us greatly and also our son is peanut allergic and they can deal with this....
Thankyou in advance...
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:08 PM
 
13,433 posts, read 21,890,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlton41 View Post
Hi there.
We are an English family (from London) looking at re-locating to Atlanta with my husband's company. We are interseted in AIS - I know some of you have direct experience of AIS and wondered if you would mind helping us out / answering any queries.
We have two kids - son is 7 yrs and daughter is 3yrs.
We are coming over to Atlanta mid January to see the city / get a gauge of the place and try to see where we would like to live / what we can expect regarding housing / neighbourhoods / sports facilities / day-to-day living etc...
Husbands office is in Dunwoody - just by the 285/400 intersection.
When we come over in January we will hopefully be able to see the school - any tips / advice for admission. (our kids will be coming on a later trip). I have spoken to the school and they have been very informative & helpful - but I am concerned upon reading about the difficulty of getting in etc... our kids are bright and sociable but not 'gifted' as such (at least not to anyone else's definition of the term !!)
Any help would be much appreciated. This school is really the only one we are interested in, at the moment - because it has the IB program / it is easier for us to transfer back to UK or elsewhere after a few years / the immersion language programe appeals to us greatly and also our son is peanut allergic and they can deal with this....
Thankyou in advance...

Yes, definitely look into AIS...but if it doesn't work out (admission difficulty, etc.)


But, since your husband will be working in Dunwoody, you should also look at Heards Ferry Elementary in neighboring Sandy Springs. Heards Ferry is an excellent school, a public school, in the Riverwood High/Ridgeview Middle Cluster. This is important because Riverwood and Ridgeview both have International Baccalaurate programs--Heards Ferry feeds into these schools. Heards Ferry is definitely a great and ideal environment for an international family.


I hope this helps a little.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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I've heard very good things about Riverwood and Ridgeview but I don't live near there so I don't have specifics.

Down where we live, City of Decatur Schools are also IB schools through grade 10 with an IB Diploma Programme to be fully implemented by the time the class of 2015 graduates. Technically, grades 4 and 5 (Glennwood Academy) are fully certified IB schools and grades 6-10 (Renfroe Middle and Decatur High) will be certified by this summer unless something goes terribly wrong. Renfroe and DHS are currently running as IB schools, but it takes a couple of years to be certified by the IB folks. They want to watch the school in action for a couple of years to make sure that they are doing a good job with the implementation of IB pedagogy.

Glennwood was named a Georgia School of Excellence a few years ago, and Renfroe was named a Georgia School of Excellence this year. I have a child at Renfroe, and I can say that As do not come easily there. She is gifted identified but has to work hard to get an A. One negative at Renfroe is that the only foreign language offered through 8th grade is Spanish - so that is a bit limiting.

Fernbank Elementary, Shamrock Middle and Druid Hills High are also IB schools. Fernbank and Druid Hills are great, but Shamrock is a little inconsistent. I believe it is getting better though.

Given all that... if you get in to AIS and can afford it, by all means send your children there. It is better than any private or public school that I know of. However, if your kids do not get in.. keep in mind that there are public school IB options that are quite good.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:40 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,059,593 times
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Seconding the above posts ....

When we moved to metro Atlanta from Canada we were very concerned about the schools in the U.S. south, and applied for our then 7 year old at two private schools, one of which was AIS. She was accepted at both, but the cost was probably too much of a challenge for us. The wife of the manager at my company's local office (blessings on her) told us that many of the public schools here are fine, including in East Cobb, which she recommended as being convenient to the office.

We did move to East Cobb on this recommendation, and while I'm not sure it was the best fit for our family culturally, the schools have been first rate. I was personally educated in New Zealand, the UK and Canada, back in the day, so I'm comparing from a Commonwealth perspective. If AIS doesn't work out (and I too have heard it's an excellent school), I expect the IB options in the public systems down here would serve your family very well indeed.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:52 AM
 
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Default Atlanta International School

Thanyou to everyone for your replies... it is very kind of you all..
I have looked at the schools in question and it has been very helpful.

I am interested in Glenwood since it seems to be more pro-active on the allergy front as well. Is that a reasonable Atlanta commute - from Glenwood area to Dunwoody ? Is it a safe area to live in - I am finding the whole zip code / good / not so good areas confusing.

Have we not missed the application deadlines for public schools? Do you know what happens to families who apply late? - over here it is 'get what you are given' if you miss the deadline - and since all the good schools are oversubscribed your kids get given the underperforming ones nobody wants...

With my sons peanut allergy, from what I have seen so far on the internet (which I admit is very limited) we will struggle to find schools able to manage this with us. I am aware of the 504 plan, but gather it is hit and miss on the individual school head as to a management plan that you can agree on. AIS already has 20 kids with peanut allergy so this makes me more comfortable about it, as well as it being from K up to high school. Ideally I would like to keep them both in the same campus, but like you say - we have to get in there first!!!

Thanks to everyone... any more suggestions / comments would be welcome.
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:01 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,059,593 times
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Public school admissions are almost entirely based strictly on catchment area. If you move into the school's attendance zone at any time, they have to take your children. The flip side of this is that if you want your kids at a particular school, you have to find housing in its attendance zone.

There are some exceptions to this for "magnet" programs, which accept students from a much wider area and do have admission criteria and deadlines. Magnet programs are not as common in metro Atlanta as in some other parts of the US, but we do have some.

Also, publicly funded pre-kindergarten (for four year olds) has limited capacity at most schools and other locations offering it. You'd want to keep this in mind for signing up your three year old for admission next fall, if you are interested in this offering.
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:34 AM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,034,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlton41 View Post
..

With my sons peanut allergy, from what I have seen so far on the internet (which I admit is very limited) we will struggle to find schools able to manage this with us. I am aware of the 504 plan, but gather it is hit and miss on the individual school head as to a management plan that you can agree on. AIS already has 20 kids with peanut allergy so this makes me more comfortable about it, as well as it being from K up to high school. Ideally I would like to keep them both in the same campus, but like you say - we have to get in there first!!!
Most schools are quite comfortable dealing with peanut allergies. Is your child in a peanut free school now?

Decatur to Dunwoody is doable, but not such an easy commute. You must make sure you move to the City of Decatur only.

AIS is an excellent school -- is your husband moving here with a major corporation and do they have a relationship with AIS? That can help, but isn't necessary. I realize that you aren't visiting until January, and now you are probably out for break, as are most schools here, but I would start the application process as soon as I could. Besides being qualified, getting a space in a non-entry year class in a private school, takes a bit of luck. (Students have to be leaving.) AIS has a fair amount of turnover because of the nature of the school -- so I expect there will be spaces.

How long do you expect to be here?
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:47 AM
 
11 posts, read 30,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
Public school admissions are almost entirely based strictly on catchment area. If you move into the school's attendance zone at any time, they have to take your children. The flip side of this is that if you want your kids at a particular school, you have to find housing in its attendance zone.

There are some exceptions to this for "magnet" programs, which accept students from a much wider area and do have admission criteria and deadlines. Magnet programs are not as common in metro Atlanta as in some other parts of the US, but we do have some.

Also, publicly funded pre-kindergarten (for four year olds) has limited capacity at most schools and other locations offering it. You'd want to keep this in mind for signing up your three year old for admission next fall, if you are interested in this offering.

Hi Rainyrainyday - thanks for this.
Could you clarify for me - my son will be 8 in Feb 2010, my daughter will be 4 in July 2010 - what years in school does that put them both for sept 2010 admissions in the public system? I am assuming the private system is the same as public.
I have read that some schools do not like summer birthdays and put kids back a year - is that right?
What age/school year is elementary / middle / high broken down into?
I am trying to work out if my son will be in elementary or middle school in sept 2010.
I think my daughter would be in PK in sept 2010 unless they don't like
summer b'days, so would she be in PK in sept 2011 instead?
Do most people put little ones into a nursery before elementary? I assume these are mostly private - is that right??? I am a SAHM, will not be working so it is not a daycare I need.

Thanks for your time... sorry I am so ignorant of the US systems....
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:54 AM
 
2,974 posts, read 6,455,833 times
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I agree that AIS is an excellent choice and also agree that looking at public school options is your safest back up plan. In addition, if you are buying a home, you will be better off when you get ready to sell if the home is located in a strong school district. The Sandy Springs cluster of Heards Ferry, Ridgeview, Riverwood is growing in popularity due to the strong administration and family support. That would be a good public school decision.

You might also want to look at some of the smaller private schools (Mt. Vernon, Holy Innocents...) They most likely would be very accomodating regarding the peanut allergy situation and are preschool through 12th programs.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:02 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,059,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlton41 View Post
Hi Rainyrainyday - thanks for this.
Could you clarify for me - my son will be 8 in Feb 2010, my daughter will be 4 in July 2010 - what years in school does that put them both for sept 2010 admissions in the public system? I am assuming the private system is the same as public.
I have read that some schools do not like summer birthdays and put kids back a year - is that right?
What age/school year is elementary / middle / high broken down into?
I am trying to work out if my son will be in elementary or middle school in sept 2010.
I think my daughter would be in PK in sept 2010 unless they don't like
summer b'days, so would she be in PK in sept 2011 instead?
Do most people put little ones into a nursery before elementary? I assume these are mostly private - is that right??? I am a SAHM, will not be working so it is not a daycare I need.

Thanks for your time... sorry I am so ignorant of the US systems....
The summer birthday issue seems to be a well-known aspect of admission at some private schools. Public schools allow parents to hold a child back a year or so before first admission, but accept children according to the Sept 1 birthday cutoff prescribed by state law.

Elementary is K (kindergarten, entry at age 5) through grade 5 (entry at age 10). Middle school is grades 6-8 (ages at entry 11-13), High school is grades 9-12 (ages 14-17).

Yes, your daughter would be PK in Sept 2010 and your son would be entering 3rd grade. However, you might want to work with the school on your son's placement, just in case he's significantly more or less advanced than his American peers. At age 8, with any luck his educational level should be similar, however.
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