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Old 08-27-2008, 03:40 AM
6 posts, read 14,184 times
Reputation: 10


My husband will be starting a job mid-September in North Dallas. I will be remaining here with our children, getting ready to put our home on the market, pack, etc. We plan to join him in October/November. We need to find a month to month rental for him, or a rent/room situation. Any suggestions?

We also plan to rent a home for a year before we buy, especially since we need to sell our VA home. We flew down to Dallas last week (friendly people!!) looked at the area (Plano) and actually interviewed a couple of schools. While I have read that Plano is so great on these blogs, when we got there, it was a bit of a culture shock. Teeny weeny backyards/ big fences/ alleys... vs. our huge yards, trees, space. We want to rent a house wherever we plan to purchase... we don't want to change schools again once we get settled. I think that the commute from Allen or Frisco, may be too much. It seems that those areas are still building and will likely be more and more traffic over the years. What is the typical commute from Central Plano, or West Plano? He will be working in N. Dallas right off of the tollway. Also, Where are there neighborhoods with open yards/without alleys in Plano? (Our motto last week was "Everything is Big in Texas, except the backyards.)

Also, when we checked out Skaggs Elementary, it confirmed what I had read here in this forum, that parents aren't welcome to volunteer in the classrooms and they also can't come into school to have lunch with their children, ("it's a distraction" was the principal's explanation, but she said it so friendly!). The community that we are coming from in McLean VA has successful schools because of parental involvement and support. Are most Plano schools typical in this manner, or are there other elementary schools that seem more like a 'community'?

My head is spinning with all that I have to do here in Va, our kids start school here next week, just pulled them from their soccer teams, piano and swimming since we are leaving mid-season and got refunds for their activities (glad to know that soccer is cheaper in Texas! and swimming you had to pay for an entire year in advance) We will obviously want to start soccer, swimming in the Spring. How is the Plano Youth Soccer program? Is there another club we should consider? What USA swimming club would you recommend?

Whew! We have so much work to do... your advice will be so appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:56 AM
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The restrictions on the parents at the schools came about because some schools are overrun with mothers. The media keeps telling mothers they should "live" at their children's schools and it can be very disrupted to schools to have so many mothers at the schools. I believe it's a school by school decision though and not district policies (I could be wrong). I think the schools would prefer the parental support to be more behind the scenes - making sure the kid is fed and rested, raising money for the school, etc.

One of my friends had a kid at an elementary school that had 1000 kids. At any one time there would be 200-300 mothers at the school. The school put a stop to it. No parents in the hallways or classrooms. At another school where I know a teacher, they had a mom coming to the school every single day to eat lunch with her kid and to spoon feed her. The school thought the child needed to learn how to use a spoon so they told the mother to stop coming. There's also this thought that parents are spying on the teachers.

Having said all that, there are schools that still welcome parents in the schools during the school day (after a background check). So keep looking.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the background. Every school system is really different. Our parent volunteers were scheduled with the teacher for specific duties for things like, writer's workshops, helping make paper mache pinatas or celebrity readers, art appreciation... things like that. I can understand closing an open door policy if it is abused... there are a lot of helicopter parents hovering... but the way our system was set up was very organized and honestly, most of the hovering type didn't care to come in to help the entire class, only interested in their child's interest... and Wow!!! spoon feeding?? That's a new one! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your point of view.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:45 AM
Location: TX
3,033 posts, read 11,026,984 times
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Our motto last week was "Everything is Big in Texas, except the backyards.
LOL!! This was ours as well...
older neighborhoods will have bigger yards, the bigger newer communities that are buit by builders will have smaller yards. Squeeze as many houses as you can on one small space...more $$$ for the builder.

We are on the FT worth side so sorry i can't help with neighborhoods with bigger lot sizes.

as far as elem volunteering... join the PTA they will use you! I think what they are REALLY discouraging is the "helo" parents, not the actual helpers! (office helper, library help etc..)
If you fill out the background check form and let your childs teacher know that you are avail if they need any help etc... I am sure you'll become very active in the school.
But yes it does vary from school to school.

Good luck.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:36 AM
4,971 posts, read 12,094,305 times
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The vast majority of the cookie cutter communities are going to have small yards. Developers decided this years ago and if you plan to live in most of the popular newer subdivisions you will face this. You could choose to live in a older neighborhood which will have character and decent size lots are move to the outer ring burbs. Joining your childs PTA would be the best way to get involved in the school. Most schools would have more volunteers than they can handle if they did not limit the parents involvement. If you choose that area there will be plenty of organizations you can sign the kids up for.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:20 PM
Location: Fairfax, VA
16 posts, read 33,525 times
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I really can't say as much as some of the other really nice folks on this forum since I am not from Texas or have not lived there. However, I do live in Fairfax and work in Mclean so I am totally familiar with where you currently are. From what I have been reading due to my own interest in relocating to the area, I suppose the Mclean-like suburbs around the Dallas area, in terms of living, seem to be Highland Park, University Park, Addison, Southlake, Grapevine etc. This is pretty subjective apart from the data about schools which is based on facts and again I can't really help there. I suppose the University Park area might be a bit more urban like parts of Arlington (ballston, clarendon etc.) and it seems like the latter two might be posh suburbs.
There are plenty of good resources on the internet that can provide you info about schools and their ratings - while reviewing some of those rankings I noticed there were a good chunk of schools in the Dallas area.
I hope this helps, and Dallas residents please feel to correct me where I may be wrong - good for me too!
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:41 PM
Location: TX
3,033 posts, read 11,026,984 times
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Highland Park and University Park would be the Dallas area equivalant of McLean. (both are small citiies and not suburbs of Dallas)EXCELLENT schools and a high price tag to go with it. Original homes designed by architects and not builders. HP ISD is very very good.
Lakewood and Preston Hallow would also be comprable, they are Neighborhoods in Dallas, so have Dallas ISD.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:59 PM
6 posts, read 14,184 times
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Thanks everyone... I think we'll just get corporate housing for my Husband until we figure this out. Does anyone have kids at Haun Elementary? Would love to hear about the school from you. Also, does anyone commute from that area and could give a realistic travel estimate if going by the tollway? Thanks in Advance!!!
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:12 PM
Location: DFW, TX
2,935 posts, read 6,302,891 times
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If you want to live near Plano, look to Lucas, Parker, and Fairview if you want some property. You'll find 1-2 acre lots. But honestly... I had 2 acres back in Virginia, and half of it was wooded and it was waaaay too much to mow.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:03 PM
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,191 posts, read 14,053,077 times
Reputation: 2649
You may want to check www.greatschools.net for reviews from parents on the individual schools.

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