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Old 01-18-2017, 10:15 AM
 
4 posts, read 3,660 times
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My husband is transferring to California permanently from Chicago/NW Indiana for his job. We will be moving to the Central Coast San Luis Obispo area. The schools where we live are very highly rated and it seems that the schools that are highly rated in San Luis Obispo are equivalent to lower rated schools here. For instance, the state average test scores of Indiana are 73%, so schools with a rating of 10 have a higher score of around 97%. In California, the state average is only 35% so the schools in CA with a rating of 10 have a high score of 72%. So the schools on paper look much better in Indiana than in California. My question is: if you live in central coast California, do you feel like the children still get a very good education? Education is our number one concern when choosing a place to live, even the highest rated schools in San Luis Obispo have a lower rating than the one he goes to now in Indiana. I am slightly concerned because he is on a very good track getting wonderful grades in elementary school, and I am hoping that the new school that he goes to will challenge him enough and he will continue to grow and learn just as well as he does here. Any insight would be wonderful. Thank you
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:25 AM
 
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Very rural Schools in that county. Likely in for a shock, especially from a large city. Good place to retire, but I'd steer clear of it if schools are the top factor, though they aren't bad, rural areas cannot compete with urban districts.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:51 AM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,270 posts, read 10,506,470 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movintoslo View Post
I am hoping that the new school that he goes to will challenge him enough and he will continue to grow and learn just as well as he does here.
Is he taking Latin and reading the Great Books? You may want to go private:

San Luis Obispo Classical Academy
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:14 AM
 
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Haha, no. He's not a genius or anything he's just an average kid but he gets really good grades. I feel like if he goes from learning in a High rated school to learning in a lower rated school that he may be bored. He's my only child so I do worry a lot more than I should. I just don't know anything about other school districts because this is where I was born and raised. We have visited the Central Coast recently to check out the area, and we really loved it there. We are very excited to move there but after doing some research into the school system and deciding where we will live I just found out all of the stuff.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:05 PM
 
7,031 posts, read 3,744,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movintoslo View Post
My husband is transferring to California permanently from Chicago/NW Indiana for his job. We will be moving to the Central Coast San Luis Obispo area. The schools where we live are very highly rated and it seems that the schools that are highly rated in San Luis Obispo are equivalent to lower rated schools here. For instance, the state average test scores of Indiana are 73%, so schools with a rating of 10 have a higher score of around 97%. In California, the state average is only 35% so the schools in CA with a rating of 10 have a high score of 72%. So the schools on paper look much better in Indiana than in California. My question is: if you live in central coast California, do you feel like the children still get a very good education? Education is our number one concern when choosing a place to live, even the highest rated schools in San Luis Obispo have a lower rating than the one he goes to now in Indiana. I am slightly concerned because he is on a very good track getting wonderful grades in elementary school, and I am hoping that the new school that he goes to will challenge him enough and he will continue to grow and learn just as well as he does here. Any insight would be wonderful. Thank you
Forget those online rating sites. They won't tell you what you need to know.

First, make a list of what you actually like about the educational experience your children are having in Indiana. Is it class sizes? Is it the way classes are taught? Or.....? Be as specific as possible.

Test scores are only part of the comparison you need to make. But, here in California, we use API (Academic Performance Index) numbers for each school to report test scores.

Statewide, the "average" API for all elementary schools is 811, for middle schools (7-8), 800, and for high schools, it is 757.

Now, let's look at how schools in San Luis Obispo actually compare. You can find that information (although slightly dated) here:

API 3 - Year Average(CA Dept. of Education)

You'll notice the vast majority of schools in San Luis Obispo are above statewide averages, and many are WELL above average.

But, again, test scores don't tell you everything. If you click on a school's name on the above link, you'll get a nice little report telling you about the demographics of the school. Schools that have significantly higher percentages of students from low income families will tend to automatically score lower on standardized tests.

I mentioned that the API scores above are a little dated. Every school and school district in California are required to publish what is called a School Accountability Report every year. Some schools and districts put them on their websites. For others, you'll need to call the school and request it. That will give you current test scores, plus a whole lot of other information about the school and how it functions.

At the high school level, most high schools (in Indiana too) put together something called a School Profile. This is a report that high schools send to colleges with transcripts when students apply to college. Even if your kids aren't yet in high school, I'd recommend calling the counseling office at the high school they would attend if you stayed in Indiana and asking for a copy. Then, as you begin to look at districts here, do the same for their high schools.

The high school Profiles will give you MUCH more indepth insight into the way schools and school districts are functioning then those online rating sites. The Profiles will tell you about:

1. the way the high school curriculum is structured, including how many Advanced Placement and Honors courses are offered, and how many students actually enroll in AP courses (and past the AP exam)

2. details about the college going culture at the high schools -- where kids go to college, how many students go to college, what the median SAT and ACT scores for the most recent class were, etc.

3. details about school facilities and extracurriculars offered at the schools.

Again, even if your children aren't in high school yet, they will be some day. And most school districts plan the elementary and middle school curriculums to prepare their kids for their local high school. So, the Profiles tell you something about the whole district, not just the high school. Comparing the profile of the high school your children would go to if you stay in Indiana to specific schools here will give you a more "apples to apples" set of information than those more generalized online "ratings."

But, all those reports still won't tell you about whether a specific school is right for your kids. To do that, you need to get out here and visit a few schools in the areas that you think you might live. Use your "what I like about the schools now" list to compare the schools here.

Ultimately, the only rating that matters is YOURS. By thinking more deeply about what your children need, and what you like (or maybe dislike) about their experiences in their current schools, you will be able to ask the right questions of the schools here.

Because, in the end, the overall test scores of a school don't tell you anything about how YOUR kids will fare in any school. Test scores are just a starting point for identifying possibilities; they shouldn't be the only thing you compare in making your decision.

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:07 PM
 
7,031 posts, read 3,744,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movintoslo View Post
Haha, no. He's not a genius or anything he's just an average kid but he gets really good grades. I feel like if he goes from learning in a High rated school to learning in a lower rated school that he may be bored. He's my only child so I do worry a lot more than I should. I just don't know anything about other school districts because this is where I was born and raised. We have visited the Central Coast recently to check out the area, and we really loved it there. We are very excited to move there but after doing some research into the school system and deciding where we will live I just found out all of the stuff.
Again, the "ratings" don't matter. What specifically does your son's current school offer that helps him feel challenged and engaged? That will help you compare apples to apples.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:52 PM
 
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Is your son currently in gifted program? As far as I know, none of the schools in SLO county has gifted program. Also if he likes arts, think twice moving to California. Most public schools don't have weekly art lessons like Midwest schools do, which sucks yoo.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:08 AM
 
7,031 posts, read 3,744,270 times
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Originally Posted by Morning coffee1 View Post
Is your son currently in gifted program? As far as I know, none of the schools in SLO county has gifted program. Also if he likes arts, think twice moving to California. Most public schools don't have weekly art lessons like Midwest schools do, which sucks yoo.
Actually, in order to be eligible for admission to a UC or Cal State, students must complete at least one full year of fine or performing arts courses. Every high school in California offers courses and programs to allow students to complete that requirement.

I do agree that some districts have scaled back their arts curriculum at the elementary level, but it is misleading to say that there is no arts education in elementary schools here because just about every elementary school I know includes art and music in the elementary curriculum, even if they don't have a dedicated art or music teacher.

There are also plenty of ways to supplement arts education if that is a priority for a family. For instance, my daughter was a talented artist when she was in elementary and middle school. I supplemented her "in school" art classes with classes and programs through local museums and city recreation programs. Most of these were very low cost or even free. So, if you value the arts (as I do), that's an option too.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:18 PM
 
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Wow Rosie SD! Thank you so much for such a detailed response! I really appreciate it. He will be going into 2nd grade and so far has very little interest in art class. He does not choose to do crafts or color or paint at home either, even when I offer it. Our family as a whole are not artistic. Anyway, I did call a few elementary schools and really fell in love with one in particular just due to how awesome and informative the school secratery was and seeing that they do some of the same things that make me love his current school. She assured me that it was a very good school and even told me of a few others to consider. It makes me feel better to try and ignore the online ratings. I think everything will be fine, I just wanted more info on how educated and successful people from that area are in general. It has been my dream to move to CA for years and I absolutely cannot stand winter anymore. The specific location cannot be changed due to his job but we do love it there so it will be good I'm sure
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:01 AM
 
8 posts, read 5,907 times
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Do you mind sharing which elementary school you spoke with? Sounds like one I need to add to my list! TIA.
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