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Old 09-27-2015, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Midwest
21 posts, read 15,372 times
Reputation: 68

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Hi everyone. Soon I am looking to move myself, my 13 yr old daughter, and my partner ( soon to be wife ) to the Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs area. We visited earlier this month, stayed in a restored Carriage House on Park Ave, and just loved it there. I felt comfortable enough to hold my girlfriend's hand as we walked down the main street there with the tourist shops and restaraunts, and no one even gave a second look. That was affirming. I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if Manitou has a visible gay/lesbian community and if it's inclusive to newcomers? We are past the age of serious socializing with a pack, but it is nice to make friends and have someone to go and do things with.

Also, I have a 13 year old daughter who has HFA. She is very bright, creative, kind and funny. She does suffer from some social anxiety and I'm concerned about her making this transition. She is on an IEP. I have a friend here who grew up in Manitou and she told me that the schools there are very accomodating to the IEP students who learn by doing, rather than by reading textbook lessons. Field trips, "mainstreet set-ups" where the kids can learn how to purchase things with a debit card, or write a check, or shop for a list of specific items...things like this as simple as they are to you or me, can be very imposing for a child with autism, and they don't overcome that anxiety through a textbook lesson. Can anyone share info or experience with Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs special education? Are the mainstream kids kind to the exceptional students? Is there a bullying problem? Is there a certain school that I should seek out for my daughter? Are there schools that everyone knows aren't the best for special education? What about these chartered schools? We don't have them here, but we do have Magnet schools. Are they the same?

Right now we are very interested in two homes, one is on Plainview Pl in Manitou. The other is on Washington Ave in Manitou. Can anyone speak to the issue of neighborhood safety, that sort of thing, being mindful of the fact that I have a 13 year old daughter with autism who will be wanting to be outdoors and ride her bike. For the past 5 years we have lived on a small rural farm 20 miles from the city. I can send her outside to work her dog or just lay in the swing and listen to music and I have no concerns that anyone or anything will bother her. She is used to alot of outdoor freedom. I have to make sure that she still has that wherever we move to.

I'll be Googling for answers to some of my questions but some of this stuff is just best shared by one who has experienced it. I hope someone out there can help me out! I do appreciate it.
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
2,668 posts, read 1,666,689 times
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As you've noticed, Manitou is a very unique locale that you can make yourself feel very comfortable in. I don't think I can address all of your questions but I would say that the geography of Manitou could create concerns for me as a parent. The narrow valley, minimal yards, narrow roads, high tourist concentrations, and odd house placements are items that I would wonder about. Obviously these are personal assessments you have to make for your child, but they will be in sharp contrast to the wide open spaces of a rural farm she is familiar with. You will need to teach her how to be weather area as a simply thundershower can turn into a life threatening flood in a matter of minutes.

I also have no intimate familiarity with Manitou's D14 school, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they are accommodating to alternate teaching methods. It is a smallish district so they won't have any charter or magnet schools, they simply have their schools. I do have an aquaintance with a child in D14 and they love the smaller classes and teacher interaction, FWIW.

Colorado Springs D11 does have regular, charter, magnet, and alternative school programs. They used to have an excellent alternative school program at The Bijou School on the town's west side. However, District re-alignment a few years ago brought this school, as well as several other alternative programs, to the Wasson campus in the very center of town. While it isn't Manitou, you may want to look at programs there, but that could be a big impact on choosing to live in Manitou or the west side with such a long school commute being required daily.

Charter schools tend to be a hybrid of public/private education. They are public schools so anyone in district can attend them, but they act like a private school with low class sizes, attention to student needs, and academic achievement. This also means that there tends to be wait lists for attending the because of the limited class sizes. A magnet school would tend to attract specialized focus on specific student talent areas. D11 does have several gifted/talented magnet schools and they attempted to have a science/engineering magnet school, but I don't think the science program has worked out as well as planned.

Bullying... this is a very dynamic item in today's society with a variety of social media and electronic devices. I can't say I see a lot of it, but I also have to say I see my school district, D11, addressing it constantly as a preventive measure. Does it happen, I'm sure it does to some degree as I can't picture it being totally eliminated. But it does seems that most schools have a wide variety of methods to address and deal with it when it does pop up and most staff seem to be willing to listen if it does.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:28 AM
 
5,003 posts, read 6,681,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post

Charter schools tend to be a hybrid of public/private education. They are public schools so anyone in district can attend them, but they act like a private school with low class sizes, attention to student needs, and academic achievement. This also means that there tends to be wait lists for attending the because of the limited class sizes. A magnet school would tend to attract specialized focus on specific student talent areas. D11 does have several gifted/talented magnet schools and they attempted to have a science/engineering magnet school, but I don't think the science program has worked out as well as planned.
One thing about charters that many people don't know - one of the key factors of their success is that they can write charters that do not follow the usual 'public' school rules that may allow them to be more successful. One of the most common of these is not providing services. Many charter schools do not provide a full array of Special Education services - in fact, many do not provide any at all. Many also do not provide things like lunch services, etc. In general, charters are not the best place for students needing any kind of services.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:00 AM
 
420 posts, read 1,010,332 times
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I have a couple of acquaintances who teach in the Manitou Springs district. From their reports, plus other things I've heard (such as the fact that that district still thinks that arts and music education is crucial rather than disposable fluff) if I still had school-age children I'd be looking seriously at that district.

Re the question about housing in Manitou, you'll want to look very carefully at Google Maps street view/Google Earth -- making a pre-visit would be even better. As previously noted upstreams, streets are narrow, curvy, and hilly.

If you happen to be a church-goer and want some recommendations of churches where you and your partner/wife would be very welcomed, Direct Message me.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:54 PM
 
841 posts, read 1,249,072 times
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Great suggestions, especially about the locale- not a place you want a HFA child wandering around by herself.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Midwest
21 posts, read 15,372 times
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Thanks to all of you for your replies! I appreciate the different perspectives that can only come from a local's standpoint. You bring up some good points. I had told my partner just last night that I don't think I would ever feel comfortable letting our daughter go around Manitou, unsupervised. While we were there she asked many times to go across the street alone to the park by the creek. ( Soda Springs Park? ) Of course we accompanied her each time she went. There are varying elements that would be dangerous for her in Manitou, some of which I had not even considered yet but thanks to your advise, will now. This is taking alot of pre-planning, more than I realized it would. I'm convinced now that living in Manitou might not be the best thing for her, but the school sounds terrific. Now I am more inclined to find a home in the Divide or Fountain area. Hopefully one with lots of space and more privacy than your average home.

Can anyone tell me about school bus services? I've Googled for an answer, have yet to find one. Where we live now, you can ride the bus to school if you are a certain distance away, IF you aren't a transfer student. I'm wondering if we lived in one of the rural areas ( not sure what you call them here - homes on the mountainside, not in the city ) if the bus would pick her up or if I would need to take her to school.

Thanks again for your thoughtful replies. It helps.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
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I don't' know about the mountain areas, but D38 (north end of El Paso County) sends buses to pick up the kids out in the more rural areas of their district.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Midwest
21 posts, read 15,372 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
One thing about charters that many people don't know - one of the key factors of their success is that they can write charters that do not follow the usual 'public' school rules that may allow them to be more successful. One of the most common of these is not providing services. Many charter schools do not provide a full array of Special Education services - in fact, many do not provide any at all. Many also do not provide things like lunch services, etc. In general, charters are not the best place for students needing any kind of services.
Excellent information. Thank you.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:23 PM
 
5,003 posts, read 6,681,120 times
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Most or perhaps all of our school districts offer bussing for students who live within a school's boundaries but beyond a certain distance. In School District 11, I think the distances are something like a mile for elementary, 1.5 miles for middle and 2 miles for high school - but that is just to give you an idea, may not be exactly accurate and each school district sets its own bussing boundaries and limits. In a few cases there may be bussing for people out of area, but that is much less common.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Midwest
21 posts, read 15,372 times
Reputation: 68
Thank you, Otowi. This is good to know.

As we speak I am searching for homes in the Woodland Park, Divide, Fountain areas. Maybe OCC. We have decided not to live in Manitou, but hopefully we will find something we like nearby. I hope I'm not misinterpreting what I have read, but I believe that we are allowed to enroll my daughter in the district of our choosing without any transfer hassles, tuition, etc. Is this correct? And depending on where we live and where she is enrolled the school bus will pick her up and bring her home, yes? Where we live now, all IEP students are allowed bus service no matter if the school they attend is in district or out, IF it's an out of district school due to service needs, meeting an IEP requirement, etc. For the fact that I transferred my daughter to a neighboring district due to extreme bullying ( it went on unabated all year - the principal refused to act ), the transfer is considered our "personal choice' and therefore the bus does not pick her up. I drive her to a country road bus stop every day.

Anyway, I guess I should find a school district website for some of these questions. I do appreciate your help.
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