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Old 01-15-2010, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Austin
35 posts, read 86,238 times
Reputation: 26

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We are moving to Austin this summer & had been really looking at the Lakeway area. But my extended family, who already lives in different parts of Austin (Hyde Park, NW Hills, RR), has given me a lot of flack for how far out that is. They are encouraging us to look at Westlake instead. One of the big attractions to us for Lakeway was that the high school is quite a bit smaller than Westlake. Both schools just won silver awards from US News, so we know they are good schools. But is Westlake still so big given that they've split off the 9th graders? It is hard to get a current picture from online resources - and impossible to get a complete picture.

Can someone with some 1st hand information please enlighten me? Thanks in advance.

Last edited by meredithT; 01-15-2010 at 01:32 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Southwest Austin
5,019 posts, read 9,943,289 times
Reputation: 3507
I have an 11th grader at Westlake. It's an outstanding school, in my opinion. My current 7th grader (private school) will attend Westlake starting 9th grade.

That said, I would have no problem with Lake Travis from an academic standpoint, but like your family has said, Lakeway is too far out to live (for me personally). It's also cheaper though, so you'll have to find the right balance for your budget, housing needs, commuting tolerance, etc.

It's hard to find a decent family home in Eanes ISD (aka Westalake Schools) for under $400K. If you do, it will be older, smaller, but well located (unless way out Bee Caves Rd).

If you're simply chasing good high schools and don't care where you live, others will chime in with recommendations for Leander, Round Rock areas, where you'll find more affordable homes that attend well rated schools.

Steve
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:53 PM
 
289 posts, read 488,119 times
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I know many families with kids at Westlake.

The one "theme" I hear over and over is that they each find their small world within a big school. So in that sense, it doesn't seem that big to them. I do think it is important for a kid to find their niche there to get that sense of belonging, whether it is in sports, yearbook, art, dance, choir, etc. There are lots of small communities within the larger community.

While Lake Travis is smaller, I personally don't think it's so small that it would seem that different, but that is just my gut sense. Now if you chose a small private high school with a class size of 100-150, that's when you're going to see a difference, IMO.

Both Lake Travis and Westlake are very strong public high schools. I don't think you can go wrong, and I think any academic differences between the two are marginal. So I would pick the area you would prefer to live in and go from there. If you have extended family, you'll be able to make the drive on the weekends to see them from either location fairly easily!
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Austin
35 posts, read 86,238 times
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We are fortunate & can afford to live in either place. We certainly don't want to live beyond Lakeway - commuting time is important. I need to have the flexibility to work downtown if I need to (but I won't do that every day). From what I can see online, Westlake is 2300 students vs. Lake Travis 1600. That is a significant difference. My daugther attends a school here in Jersey of 2000 right now & feels very lost in the shuffle (although she does well, takes AP classes). It's hard to decide...we initially thought we'd have to go private school but I'm so impressed by what I read about Westlake/Lake Travis....seems like they certainly offer a great education.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:02 PM
 
289 posts, read 488,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meredithT View Post
From what I can see online, Westlake is 2300 students vs. Lake Travis 1600. That is a significant difference. My daugther attends a school here in Jersey of 2000 right now & feels very lost in the shuffle.
Well, that's an important consideration and in some ways, can depend on the child. I would encourage you to visit both schools with your daughter before you make a decision.

At this point, I expect one of my kids will go to Westlake and the other to a smaller private school, partly based on their personalities, partly based on other stuff. Still don't know about my 3rd one yet. But school size certainly plays a factor in the decision.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Austin
35 posts, read 86,238 times
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Excellent idea -- visit both & take a look. We'll do that in March when we house-hunt. Thanks for the idea.

Keep the comments coming. This is helping me.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Southwest Austin
5,019 posts, read 9,943,289 times
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Quote:
Westlake is 2300 students vs. Lake Travis 1600. That is a significant difference
I agree with Blakely, it's not enough a difference to matter. If your daughter feels lost in a 2,000 student school, reducing that to a 1600 won't cure anything, and upsizing to 2300 won't matter either.

And blakely describes my daughter's exact experience, finding her small world inside the larger school. She has a diverse set of friends, with great parents. We could not be happier with our experience and the size of the school is not at all a negative factor.

Steve
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
12,984 posts, read 13,410,989 times
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I have kids in LTHS now. One graduated in 2008. I also know many people whose children have gone to Westlake.

I think the schools are more similar than different. Westlake is closer to 2500 in enrollment now and LTHS is closer to 1800.

By and large both schools have an affluent student body. Westlake more so across the board. Westlake scores higher in official rankings but I believe that is because the student body is more homogeneous and less diverse. LTHS has a larger non-white lower income segment that does not perform as well. The TAKS data, if you want to dig it up, can show the achievement by demographic group for both schools. If you and your children value academics I don't think it matters.

You probably have heard of stories about Westlake kids driving BMWs and Range Rovers. They are true. LTHS has them too, just fewer of them. You hear about Westlake and drugs. True too, as it is of LTHS. There are stupidly rich and spoiled kids at each school.

I can tell you first hand that the AP and Pre-AP programs at LTHS are demanding.

I think you can expect LTISD to change more over the coming years because it is growing while Eanes ISD is not. Robin Hood school finance law strongly impacts both school districts. LTISD recently built a 5th elementary, and is likely to build a 3rd middle school in the 2013 time frame. LTISD will not build an additional high school for a very long time as LTHS was recently expanded to handle between 2500-3000 students eventually.

As for Lakeway - I have lived in the Lake Travis area since 1985, including 12 years in Lakeway. It is not too far for me - and I work in the Arboretum area.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Austin
35 posts, read 86,238 times
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Excellent. Exactly what I'm looking for. Her'es another question. My son, who is 13, is a skinny computer nerd, not a football player. Will that be a big problem for him at LTHS?
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
12,984 posts, read 13,410,989 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meredithT View Post
Excellent. Exactly what I'm looking for. Her'es another question. My son, who is 13, is a skinny computer nerd, not a football player. Will that be a big problem for him at LTHS?
No! Although LTHS has an obviously good football team, it hasn't always been so. And the computer nerd is well supported at LTHS. My kids are swimmer athletes and pride themselves on NOT being related to the football program whatsoever.

LTHS has a very good "ag" (agriculture) program, supports the arts and music crowd very well, etc.
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