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Old 10-01-2007, 11:44 PM
 
40 posts, read 108,891 times
Reputation: 21
Red face Visiting Dallas Again in 2 Weeks!!!

Just found out today we are flying out to Dallas again for a look in less that 2 weeks. We know we want to focus on these areas... any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!!

1. M Streets/Lakewood (Stonewall Jackson Elem. in DISD)
2. Park Cities
3. Preston Hollow? (Preston Hollow Elem.?)
4. Dallas- (Richardson ISD Brentfield, Bowie, Moss Haven)

Here are my biggest questions/concerns:

1. Safety- my hubby travels quite a bit and we'd have no family and friends (at least at the beginning!). My friend who is a native of Dallas scared me a bit about the M Streets. She said parts of the area are great but within a block things can be very seedy. She was very negative about Stonewall Jackson, however keep in mind she is a product of private schools and her daughter is in a private school where we live, quality of the program is EQUAL to our daughter's PUBLIC school. This is due to the fact that I have a M.Ed. in early childhood ed. and taught for many years and reserched the areas like crazy (I knew the best choices but am not sure about Dallas!). I can walk into a school and get a feel in classrooms etc. of what is going on. I'm hoping visiting schools will give us the answers we need. Love the fact that Stonewall Jackson has a gardening program and their feedback on greatschools.net is excellent. I'm a bit worried about the HIGH percentage of children on free-reduced school lunch (35%). History says these are more high risk families. As our daughter's teacher just admitted to me last week..............

"The district cares about the below grade level students improving to grade level. They are not concerned about children making progress that are well above grade level like your daughter!" My heart sank. She recommended Gifted & Talented testing but this is only once a week for an hour!

2. We want a diverse but also a challenging environment for her. I'm not sure private schools are the answer either. I have so many friends whose children are in these settings and so far not a whole lot has impressed me.

The thing I'm most comfortable with in the Park Cities is safety and the comfort of a decent public school system (we want a nice neighborhood but could care less about keeping up with the Jones!). Problem is I'm not sure how back to basics and rigid the school setting will be- In other words, is there high pressure to perform in kindergarten and not a loving, nurturing "whole child" type setting?

Remember these realtors knowledge of specific schools is very limiting, heck I know more than they do at this point and I'm not even in Dallas yet- SCARRY!!!! URGH!

Y'all have been lifesavers with your feedback!!!! Thank you so much for your candid opinions..........
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 276,866 times
Reputation: 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by amymaha View Post
Just found out today we are flying out to Dallas again for a look in less that 2 weeks. We know we want to focus on these areas... any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!!

1. M Streets/Lakewood (Stonewall Jackson Elem. in DISD)
2. Park Cities
3. Preston Hollow? (Preston Hollow Elem.?)
4. Dallas- (Richardson ISD Brentfield, Bowie, Moss Haven)
The Park Cities are expensive and pretty snobbish; I think the median yearly income in HP is something like $200-$300k and median house price is over $500k. Preston Hollow is almost as bad. There's nothing wrong with being rich...I'm a north Dallas girl myself...but I grew up in north Dallas. People new to the area sometimes don't like the atmosphere there. I wouldn't live there again myself either; it's just TOO snooty.

Quote:
Here are my biggest questions/concerns:

1. Safety- my hubby travels quite a bit and we'd have no family and friends (at least at the beginning!). My friend who is a native of Dallas scared me a bit about the M Streets. She said parts of the area are great but within a block things can be very seedy. She was very negative about Stonewall Jackson, however keep in mind she is a product of private schools and her daughter is in a private school where we live, quality of the program is EQUAL to our daughter's PUBLIC school. This is due to the fact that I have a M.Ed. in early childhood ed. and taught for many years and reserched the areas like crazy (I knew the best choices but am not sure about Dallas!). I can walk into a school and get a feel in classrooms etc. of what is going on. I'm hoping visiting schools will give us the answers we need. Love the fact that Stonewall Jackson has a gardening program and their feedback on greatschools.net is excellent. I'm a bit worried about the HIGH percentage of children on free-reduced school lunch (35%). History says these are more high risk families. As our daughter's teacher just admitted to me last week..............
Anywhere you go in Dallas public schools, you will see poverty and limited English proficiency. It's been that way ever since I can remember.

Quote:
"The district cares about the below grade level students improving to grade level. They are not concerned about children making progress that are well above grade level like your daughter!" My heart sank. She recommended Gifted & Talented testing but this is only once a week for an hour!
Yeah, it'll probably be like that in Dallas too. Kids who don't speak English are sucking away the resources.

Quote:
2. We want a diverse but also a challenging environment for her. I'm not sure private schools are the answer either. I have so many friends whose children are in these settings and so far not a whole lot has impressed me.
The prestigious private schools in Dallas are an extremely rarified environment and I wouldn't recommend them if you want your daughter to see what real life is like. I went to Hillcrest (yeah, I'll come out and admit it) and boy, was THAT an education. I went to college with kids who'd gone to private school and they were freaking out in college. I was fine...been there, done that, seen it all.

Quote:
The thing I'm most comfortable with in the Park Cities is safety and the comfort of a decent public school system (we want a nice neighborhood but could care less about keeping up with the Jones!). Problem is I'm not sure how back to basics and rigid the school setting will be- In other words, is there high pressure to perform in kindergarten and not a loving, nurturing "whole child" type setting?
If you don't care about keeping up with the Joneses, the Park Cities are not for you.

Quote:
Remember these realtors knowledge of specific schools is very limiting, heck I know more than they do at this point and I'm not even in Dallas yet- SCARRY!!!! URGH!
A lot of them aren't from here either. Trust the natives, not a real estate agent.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:04 AM
 
Location: la hacienda
2,234 posts, read 6,416,555 times
Reputation: 1081
<<The thing I'm most comfortable with in the Park Cities is safety and the comfort of a decent public school system (we want a nice neighborhood but could care less about keeping up with the Jones!). Problem is I'm not sure how back to basics and rigid the school setting will be- In other words, is there high pressure to perform in kindergarten and not a loving, nurturing "whole child" type setting?>>

Of the areas you mentioned, the Park Cities would have the best school system (HPISD.org). The best thing to do would be to visit an elementary school and ask questions. Call ahead and make an appointment. There are a lot of people like you, moving into the district chasing schools. There is a lot of old money in Highland Park and most of those kids will go to private school.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:40 AM
 
15,969 posts, read 25,420,254 times
Reputation: 5899
I grew up in the area and I don't know of any 'seedy' areas in Stonewall Jackson. In fact it is getting so gentrified that many of us are a bit freaked. Robert E. Lee might have a few 'seedy' areas down to the south end of Greenville around Ross but those are being torn down fast. You might also explore Lakewood Elementary (it's a lot more social but without the Park Cities pretension).

A lot of private school parents in our area feel threatened because the tradition in the neighborhood is to support our public schools. Believe it or not there is really not any prestige (even though the parents might ascribe such to their unecessary excessive expenditure) to having kids in private school unless it is maybe St. Mark's or Hockaday (which really isolates their kids from their neighbors). They get a bit of the 'why-are-you-disloyal?' look from the public school parents.

You have to understand we have families with ties of several generations to these schools so it is different than most suburban situations. You will also see that unless it was one of the ultra-competitive, truly prestigious private schools, the competition didn't have any more National Merit Semi-finalists than our public high school (Woodrow). Last year we sent our top two grads to Yale and Princeton and we also had kids go on to Vanderbilt, USC, SMU, TCU, etc plus a lot of kids go to Texas and A&M under the top ten percent rule. Also we had 132 'place outs' on AP tests. The high school senior class varies from 200-250 and usually brings in around $4 million in scholarships

I would encourage you to visit the Greater White Rock Early Childhood PTA site (for Stonewall and Lee): gwra : Greater White Rock Area ECPTA or the LECPTA site: Lakewood Early Childhood PTA in Dallas, TX Also check out: Robert E. Lee Elementary of Lower Greenville Ave. JL Long (http://www.jllong.com/home.htm - broken link) Woodrow Wilson High School Also see: Lakewood-Now.net - Dallas Texas - online community newspaper (http://lakewood-now.net - broken link) Archives (http://www.advocatemag.com/archives/list_archives.php - broken link) look at Lakewood issues/archives.

Yep a lot of the Realtors don't know what they are talking about (most of them we never see at school events), but I know of several who are parents at Woodrow who have gone all the way through the system. I can put you in touch with them or parents from any of the schools if you send me a PM.

Last edited by Lakewooder; 10-02-2007 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:17 AM
 
15,969 posts, read 25,420,254 times
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Forgot to list the Stonewall site: Welcome to Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Dallas, Tx. (http://www.dallasisd.org/schools/es/i_l/jackson/ - broken link)
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Junius Heights(East Dallas)
39 posts, read 46,708 times
Reputation: 33
And Lipscomb...Lipscomb is a great(Exemplary) school with a very tenured staff.
Schools-William Lipscomb Elementary School (http://www.dallasisd.org/schools/realtor_new.cfm?id_con=113 - broken link)
LipscombECPTA : Lipscomb Early Childhood PTA
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,528 posts, read 4,180,784 times
Reputation: 589
possibly CFBISD, they serve parts of Irving, Addison, and Dallas.
Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is actually a part of Dallas that is not connected to the main part, it a little plot of land smaller then coppell, in between coppell and Irving.
Dallas, Texas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
none the less its Dallas proper...
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:35 PM
 
26 posts, read 48,421 times
Reputation: 12
Default My 2 cents from a NY'ker who just moved to Dallas 2 weeks ago...

Hi Amymaha...

I just got here 2 weeks ago from Rochester NY, though I was born and raised in NYC. Hi to Socketz and others who have responded to me in the past. I know it has been quite a while since I posted...

So we're here. And the transition is still occurring. I have been crying everyday, missing "home", though everyone in Dallas has been warm and welcoming, which has helped TREMENDOUSLY. It truly is a city of transplants and even native Dallasites seem to embrace that for the most part. Everyone has been helpful and very sympathetic to someone who moved for her husband's sake, not so much because I really wanted to.

For the record, I am a life-long New Yorker, a teacher with a master's in education, have 2 young kids, I am Jewish and happily married (except when my husband's GPS fizzles out and I have NO IDEA WHERE IN DALLAS I AM, AND HE'S STUCK IN A WORK MEETING WITH HIS CELL OFF, LOL) Education is the priority for us. We have chosen the Brentfield area in the RISD school district and I will tell you why speaking as a Mom, an educator, and an "outsider" with no previous affiliation to any area in DFW.

Of course you'd have to check your individual situation, but the area is roughly 10 minutes from the heart of Plano, 5 to the Tollway, 10 to LBJ, 15-20from downtown and my husband avoids all the highways to get to work. (Not bad for someone only here 2 weeks huh?!)

FYI, we can not afford private school for 2 kids, nor do I think we would choose a private school for our children even if we could afford it, as our roots in public education run very deep. So for us, private wasn't an option.
When I was flown in by my Hubby's company this summer we explored the areas of W. Plano, Frisco, Allen and Richardson.

We came in this summer and visited elementary schools. The principal at Brentfield took, no joke, 2 HOURS out of his workday (school had just started here that week) to show off his school. He was so proud in everyway imaginable. He took us into classrooms and introduced us all over the building. He even coaches the kids after school in their version of Academic Olympics. (NO principal in NY would be caught dead running an after-school club of any kind.) I was very impressed with the tenor of his building and the happy faces of his staff and parents. The teacher retention rate is amazing. My daughter was grandfathered in to the G&T program here immediately since she was in one in her old school and my son tests for it this January. The services for special needs kids seem terrific too, from what I can tell.

Class sizes are very reasonable, a BIG issue for me, as a teacher and Mom. The graduating class at the high school (Pearce) was about 600 last year compared to over 1000 at West Plano High. EVERY parent and I mean every parent we have spoken to and continue to meet just gushes with pride, and tells us they are so pleased with their child's progress. In fact, many have moved to this neighborhood just for the school and others have taken their kids out of private schools to send them here. They are welcoming, helpful and so glad you are a part of their school family, though I imagine other districts in DFW have that too.

Yes, there are Jewish kids at Brentfield, and hispanics and, African-Americans and Asians, plenty of all of them. I value this diversity along with solid academics and Brentfield fit the bill perfectly. We came from a very homogeneous school district in western NY where my kids were the "National Geographic Special" because they were the ONLY Jewish kids in their grades. I was sick of having to advocate for their right not to be bombarded with Christmas for a full 2 months of the school year. Seriously, the "holiday Celebrations" in their old school started at Halloween and lasted through the New Year. I am all for holiday celebrations, as long as they are inclusive of the whole school community, ours weren't.

The downside? And it's pretty big. The houses here are pretty bad in the under 400k range. Especially when you compare what you can get in Frisco, Allen and even parts of Plano. We are renting a clean, but pretty miserable 1000 sf, 2 bedroom apartment in the only apartment complex that feeds Brentfield, waiting for the right house that may never come. There is nothing we can afford that we actually want to buy (300k range), at least right now. Houses are built in the 70's, there's no land and the homes that are updated are a comparative fortune for the square footage. We hope the spring brings more choices. I am not really happy with the housing scene here at all. Many people are beginning to buy outdated properties at $300k or more, tear them down and rebuild completely, bypassing renovation. Ahh, if that was only an affordable option.

I see the real estate magazines, and see what we can get further north, it depresses the heck out of me. But for us, the school has it HANDS DOWN. I will give up (sigh!) the vision of vaulted ceilings, a "media room", granite countertops and claw-footed tubs that has danced around my head since we found out we were moving last June because I know our kids are getting what we want for them.

Believe me, I am not doing this to be a Brentfield cheerleader. I can not possibly do that after only 2 weeks. I am sure you can find great schools all over the area. I guess my only advice is, set your priorities and then VISIT the actual school you'd be zoned for. District-wide generalizations just don't seem to work around here, and like most places in the US, affordable housing and a terrific public education often don't go hand in hand. Although to DFW's credit, it is easier to find that combo here than in most metropolitan cities.

For what it is worth, (whew!) that is my 2 cents. Sorry for being so long-winded, I honestly hope I did not offend anybody with this post, but I hope it helps a little.
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:07 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,675 times
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I would put in a plug myself for the parts of Dallas in the Richardson School District. I have had occassion to use several of the elementary schools in the Richard District and have been very happy with the quality of teachers and interest in the students. Personally, I have lived in the north Lake Highlands area... There are homes well under $300,000, strong neighborhood organizations, and a wide range neighbors..young to old, long time residents to new. I also am a proponent of public schools because they reflect the world our kids will have to live in and with in the future and I think any of the Richardson ISD high schools could hold their own with any private school...maybe not as much gilt and glamor but lots of neighborhood support and community. The key is how much the home supports the schools.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:01 PM
 
15,969 posts, read 25,420,254 times
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I agree sunray - most private schools (except for maybe 4-5 very elite ones) are eclipsed by public school kids and they will have the better life perspective.

Also, I know some of you know this but I don't think I have posted on this thread that Lakewood Elementary is one of three schools being nominated for Blue Ribbon status.
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