Advice on where to look for great high school, friendly involved community, safety, and houses under $250K?? (Dallas: safe neighborhoods)
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Advice on where to look for great high school, friendly involved community, safety, and houses under $250K??
Hi Folks (or, as it was when i lived long ago in Ft Worth, Hi Ya'll!)
Currently, my 13 y/o daughter & I live outside Washington, DC, which has a lot going for it -- we love the amazing variety of recreational and cultural activities available to us, the convenience, mild weather, and (where we live) the quiet and safe neighborhoods. Our little neighborhood is very friendly, which is not all that typical of the DC area, which is very "meet, meet, rush, rush, power, push." It is also hugely expensive to live in. Although our school system is one of the best in the country, my daughter is not thriving here because there is an overwhelming focus on super high achievement and the pressure to be the best is ridiculous. My daughter is smart, but shy, and lacking in self-confidence. She also has some mild learning disabilities. I am thinking she would do better in a school system that has good schools -- and probably smaller schools -- but that does not consider itself to be the be all and end all of education. So good schools are important.
I would also love to live in a community that is more than just a bedroom community for Dallas or Ft Worth, one that has its own identity and activities and a dynamic population and friendly, welcoming people.
We are looking for a single family home, preferably on a lot larger than a quarter acre in an area that is quiet, safe (and green would be a big plus!) with good high schools. From the internet, it is hard to get sense of the various areas so my research has BIG holes in it. Some places that seem to look good from here are Argyle, Flower Mound, Frisco, Plano, Coppell, or Lantana. Denton would be great if the schools are better than they look online. Certain areas of Ft Worth were nice when I went to TCU a thousand years ago, but I don't know how they are now and the schools don't look so great.
I work from home, so commuting is not an issue, although I'd like to have relatively easy access to the airport (without having the planes flying over my head.)
I would really appreciate your insights and advice! Thanks.
Lakewood schools are great for shy kids because everyone is very friendly and involved. They have wonderful mock trial, debate, art, drama and choral programs which will blast some kids out of their shells (helped me). Also they are smaller and it's easy to get to know everyone. There are some very high achievers at the top but in every range of aptitude having fun and making life-long friends is emphasized as an important part of school.
$250K is do-able but on the low range -- I would suggest looking at 1950s and 60s era ranch homes around Mockingbird and Abrams near White Rock Lake.
we moved here from NOVA (loudoun county)
The biggest shock to us was the size of the schools and the populations....HUGE by NOVA standards. OUr HS in VA had 1500-1700 kids. Here Keller HS (where my daughter will go) has close to 3000!
I have most of the HS in the area to be very competetive academically..pushing AP schedules etc...(the HS consular actaully wanted my 8th grader to repeat Pre-AP Alegra1 next year since she might get a B+ for the year and that B would be on her HS transcript! an 89 is a grade to be repeated???)
Plano schools are very well reguarded academically but they are HUGE. HS is competetive.
Coppell has great schools and at the elem. level are super big but the HS has 2000+ (they are buliding a new HS and that may ease the student population) But it is in direct path with the airport...you can hear the planes rumble inside my sis's house though.
Look on great schools website, you can get student population there.
I have heard very good things about Argyle, but we couldn't find ANYTHING there in our price range 250-350k. It was a bit far from my husband job as well.
Murphy is another place to look.
I too really liked Lakewood ...It's a beautiful old neighobrhood it has great proximiety to Downtown Dallas etc... but finding a nice place under 250k will not be easy.
I really liked the Flowermound area and think the schools are smaller, it too wasn't convienient to the job.
On the ft worth side of things...
I really Aledo for small town and the schools have a very good rep. (BUt I don't know anything about them personally) It was a bit too far out for us at the moment.
As a parent of a 13 year old...(who just moved!)moving is hard enough at this age and you know your child best. If she is not thriving in her current school you really need to look at the factors of why not. I'd hate to see you go to one school district here and have her have an even harder time. She will be HS soon and you don't wnat her to become lost in the background. Excellent school ratings only tell part of the story for a school. And while Plano or Southlake may have the Great repustaions for academics they aren't for every kid. (I know my 13 year old would have been miserable at Carroll HS)
Call the schools talke to the admistrators, see what programs they offer, how are they equipted to handle her "mild learning disabilities" then visit the campus (bring her if you can so she too can see them and help make a decision)
I had it easy, my kids have moved a couple of times and aclimate pretty quickly etc...
If you are looking for the larger lot sizes, you will pay top dollar in the city or established areas (decent areas, that is). I live in mesquite, which is east of dallas and has easy access. It is a middle tier area i guess but does not have much left to grow. Forney, a little further east is growing big time right now with 1 acre lots being sold so you may find something good there.
Many of those schools you are looking at are also very academically competitive and very large - Plano, Flower Mound, Coppell. Frisco high schools are a bit smaller and they are not quite as academic. I've heard Plano parents have moved to Frisco to get some relief from the academic overachieving. Frisco schools aren't bad. They are just new and experienced a lot of sudden growth.
There are also several private schools for kids with learning disabilites - The Shelton School, Fairhill, Winston School, and Dallas Academy all have high schools and are all in Dallas.
Thanks for all your helpful input folks! It is quite helpful. I think I have a handle on which schools to investigate -- I'm especially interested in Argyle because the school is supposed to be great, but it is only about 600 kids.
Of the neighborhoods you suggest, are there any that are known to be active and involved? Any with a town center (or a planned town center?)
Your biggest challenge would be to find communities with lots over 1/4 acre around 250K. You would think that Texas as big as it is would have ranches left and right. Unfortunately not...
At least it's a good thing that you telecommute so you don't have to worry about the hustle. If you can't compromise on the lot size I would recommend Forney, Royse City (lots of activities in nearby Rockwall) and it's a growing community. Wylie would be another place that you can explore. Then there is Heartland in Kaufman, lots of 1 acre lots there. North of Plano is just too expensive. If you want to be within the city of Dallas, then I agree with Lakewooder, there are many older homes with large lots. In Denton county, Argyle has only a handful of homes below 250K, check Johnson acres and Briarcreek, Park Estates. They have big lots and homes in your price range.
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