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Old 01-12-2015, 07:10 PM
 
94 posts, read 145,731 times
Reputation: 21

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Hello all!

My family and I are considering relocating from DE to TX and are interested in DFW area. I have read and search as much as I could on the Web but would like to get some personal opinions. We have the ability to move in many areas of the country as long as we live close to a major airport since my husband travels a lot for work. I have 2 boys, so schools are very important, and proximity to amenities and things to do as well. I lived in So Cal and in So Fl, and it seems like TX weather is somewhat of a mix between those types of climate, warm and sunny but not extremely humid.
My questions are:

-best areas to live on a 500k budget;
-areas to stay away from;
-would you choose to live in DFW area if you could live pretty much anywhere in the country?
-how bad does the traffic get during rush hour?
-does the infrastructure support the increasing number of residents...I am asking because we moved to a"small" city several years ago and now it has grown so much that the old main street is too narrow to support the traffic, and no other routes are available...and getting anywhere in the town is a big pain.
-is it possible to keep pest(spiders, snakes) under control with proper quarterly maintenance; I am asking because we have quite of few annoying bugs around that could not care less about the chemicals

Thank you so much :-)
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Colleyville
900 posts, read 892,089 times
Reputation: 539

My questions are: [/font]

-best areas to live on a 500k budget;

[COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]Public schools: Southlake, Colleyville, Grapevine, Highland Village- your family will find a group/ make friends in all these areas fairly easily due to the number of transplants and plethora of family activities
Private school: you might find an area in N Dallas you like if you are considering private schools. Can't recommend it if you plan to use public. Do not recommend FW due to poor public schools and lack of reception for newcomers (I'm a FW native but have heard the complaint from many- it is super clique-ish)[/color]

-areas to stay away from;
your budget is such that you don't have to worry much about this, but you don't want to create a traffic nightmare for yourselves

-would you choose to live in DFW area if you could live pretty much anywhere in the country?
[COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]As much as I love TX, I would probably live in CO since I am a hiker/outdoorsy type. But DFW is a good place to live with many great areas/people
[/color]
-how bad does the traffic get during rush hour? [COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]
pretty bad- but you can alleviate this by choosing your home carefully[/color]

-does the infrastructure support the increasing number of residents...I am asking because we moved to a"small" city several years ago and now it has grown so much that the old main street is too narrow to support the traffic, and no other routes are available...and getting anywhere in the town is a big pain.

[COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]totally dependent on what city/town you are talking about. You'll have to evaluate that case by case[/color]

-is it possible to keep pest(spiders, snakes) under control with proper quarterly maintenance; I am asking because we have quite of few annoying bugs around that could not care less about the chemicals

[COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]Snakes are an issue if you live in a treed area and possibly if you have a pool. Scorpions like treed areas and Austin stone. Spiders are all over- but it has never been a huge issue for us personally. Lots of common sense precautions you can take to prevent issues. Now, mosquitos are another story, but I'm not sure where you can go to get away from those pesky things! [/color]

Thank you so much :-)
[/quote]
[COLOR="rgb(0, 100, 0)"]Maybe you can give us a little information about what your family likes to do- would you like to be near a lake? Kids into sports? Religious affiliation/ church/synagogue/ temple? And that will help steer you in the right direction. But right off the bat that gives you some places to investigate a bit.[/color]

Last edited by 4Movingeast; 01-13-2015 at 11:25 AM.. Reason: To make the post easier to read
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Colleyville
900 posts, read 892,089 times
Reputation: 539
Oh mercy. That most certainly did not make it easier to read. I tried to go through and make my responses green as I have seen other posters do but it didn't go so well. I hope you can make out my answers ok!
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:55 PM
 
94 posts, read 145,731 times
Reputation: 21
Thank you for your reply. My biggest concern is finding an area where my kids feel safe and can fit in. We are not big on athletics so the most important things are academics and the "feel" of the school. My youngest one, age 8, is very shy and does not like change so we will have to find an elementary school that offers a more personalized environment, and hopefully small class sizes. Are there any schools, outside the private ones, that offer K to 12?
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Old 01-13-2015, 05:30 PM
 
11,671 posts, read 21,231,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leanne62499 View Post
Thank you for your reply. My biggest concern is finding an area where my kids feel safe and can fit in. We are not big on athletics so the most important things are academics and the "feel" of the school. My youngest one, age 8, is very shy and does not like change so we will have to find an elementary school that offers a more personalized environment, and hopefully small class sizes. Are there any schools, outside the private ones, that offer K to 12?
K-12 in one school? No public schools offer that unless you're in a really tiny town.

I'm sorry to say but elementary schools offering small and personalized environments don't really exist. Class sizes for elementary can go to 25 and middle/high school to 35. In districts with very high demand and outstanding academics, like Highland Park ISD, it's not uncommon for parents to sign waivers allowing more than 25 kids per class. You're going to be hard pressed to find any elementary school where class sizes are uniformly under 18 kids or so. The better school districts all have large elementary schools with upwards of 600-800 K-5 students at each campus. Will great teachers try to teach to each child's level and style? Yes, they'll do their best....not sure what you really mean by "personalized" environment.

The better private schools are in north Dallas (around 635/Dallas North Tollroad area) and in central Fort Worth, however there are tons of smaller private schools (mostly Christian ) scattered across the metroplex. These are often schools that attract families who don't want to use public schools due to religious beliefs, class size, state mandated standardized testing, etc). It sounds like you are looking for a private school.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:49 AM
 
94 posts, read 145,731 times
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Hmmm...My son is currently attending a charter school that holds children K through 12 grade, so I was hoping we will be able to find something similar. He has some physical limitations so that is why I was asking about personalized environment, like different type of desk, allowed to use elevator, modified writing utensils and so on. I was wondering how open the public schools system is to help us with that. We have been very fortunate to find a great school here and I am was trying to figure out what district will be most beneficial for my son. Academically he is above his age but he has his physical struggles that need to be taken in consideration.
Thank you for your help!
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Plano 75024
409 posts, read 841,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leanne62499 View Post
Hmmm...My son is currently attending a charter school that holds children K through 12 grade, so I was hoping we will be able to find something similar.
There is one such school in McKinney. I know a teacher there. She says it has a long wait list. Welcome to Imagine International Academy of North Texas | Imagine International Academy of North Texas
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:18 PM
 
11,671 posts, read 21,231,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taroberts View Post
There is one such school in McKinney. I know a teacher there. She says it has a long wait list. Welcome to Imagine International Academy of North Texas | Imagine International Academy of North Texas
There are a few quality charter schools in the metroplex like Northern Hills in Irving and Westlake Academy. This McKinney school could be a good option (I don't know anything about it). The good ones are incredibly difficult to gain admissions to and often have strong sibling preferences. Admission chances could be 10% or lower depending on which grade level.

Most charters in the area are terrible and struggling with financial insolvency along with poor academics. Charters could be a good solution for OP but require a tremendous amount of research and fact-checking.
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:00 PM
 
94 posts, read 145,731 times
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Thank you. I have been looking at several sites on the net but the numbers do not tell the true story always...I see that there are really good schools in many areas but I am really dissapointed because my son will most likely have to switch schools quite often. We will probably look into private schools as well.
How about programs for gifted children? Is that available in TX? or is it based on the schools district? Do they test children and place them accordingly or it is totally up to the parents to find the righ school district for the children. I am asking because in several states we lived in my oldest son benefited for such programs and I am sure my little one would too...The state we currently live in does not offer gifted programs.
Also, do districts limit admission strictly based on residence or do parents have a choice?
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Old 01-14-2015, 04:33 PM
 
11,671 posts, read 21,231,508 times
Reputation: 10057
Quote:
Originally Posted by leanne62499 View Post
Thank you. I have been looking at several sites on the net but the numbers do not tell the true story always...I see that there are really good schools in many areas but I am really dissapointed because my son will most likely have to switch schools quite often. We will probably look into private schools as well.
How about programs for gifted children? Is that available in TX? or is it based on the schools district? Do they test children and place them accordingly or it is totally up to the parents to find the righ school district for the children. I am asking because in several states we lived in my oldest son benefited for such programs and I am sure my little one would too...The state we currently live in does not offer gifted programs.
Also, do districts limit admission strictly based on residence or do parents have a choice?
With regard to TAG programs, most districts have test-in criteria for elementary school pull-out programs (ie, student is with mainstream classroom except for Wednesday afternoons when the district has a TAG coordinator on campus). In middle school, students test in to be able to sign up for TAG classes, similar process to Pre-Honors classes but different criteria. In most districts, this would all happen at the school your home is zoned for (neighborhood school).

Some districts, like Dallas ISD, have separate campuses for Magnet specialty schools (STEM, Arts, etc) and TAG schools. These schools are incredibly difficult to gain admission to (comprable to an elite private school) and are open to all students in the entire DISD.

Some districts do allow out of district tranfers, but it's rare and you usually have to pay tuition.

Garland is the only district I know of that allows "school of choice " enrollment, where families can choose from their neighborhood school or transfer to another campus that has space. Garland does some things well, but is generally not regarded as a Tier 1 or 2 public district.

In summary, it's definitely the parent's responsibility to find the district and feeder schools that work for your family. 99% of the time, you will attend the K-12 schools to which your residence is zoned. Depending on the district you select, pull-out TAG or TAG campuses could be an option IF your kid tests in. Parents do not get to say "my kid is TAG, sign him up!"
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