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Old 11-02-2007, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Aurora
357 posts, read 1,149,208 times
Reputation: 280

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillRadio View Post
My wife teaches in a private school and we know the in's & out's of most of them. While the competition isn't too stiff, business is brisk and prices are rising as a result. Graland Country Day School (K-9) is at the top, and at $17,500 a year they have everything not offered in public school: PE every day, art, music, drama, foreign language, etc., and a 17-student limit in classes.

Down the list, both acedemically & in cost, is Colorado Academy, British Primary School, Foothills Academy, then all the Catholic schools. For upper grades there's Kent-Denver, Regis Jesuit, and maybe Matchbeuf. St. Mary's is good, but how religious will you accept?

Dare I say these schools also offer some diversity because they can afford it, however, the kids still have to qualify academically. The biggest benefit is discipline. If a kid misbehaves, he's out, and few parents will accept losing all those bucks...that's real incentive.

You need to move fast, enrollment for next year at some schools ends next week. There are a few high quality public schools, most in Cherry Creek (the top is the "Challenge School"), and even Denver Public Schools have a couple that rise above the others: Slavens and Bromwell, but good luck getting in those.

we're investigating more for kindergarten for her 2009-2010, but mostly for buying a house now. we figure it will take a while of investigating to decide what's best, and another year to decide what type of school is best for her.

thanks.
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Old 11-03-2007, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,876 posts, read 102,269,915 times
Reputation: 32945
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaCACO View Post
we're still searching for a community in which to buy a home (at the moment we're renting in Highlands ranch). since we can't seem to find the perfect area (ethnic/racial diversity, close commute to dh's work, good schools, decent size house lots etc), we've decided to consider private schools, at least to make it easier to find a place to live, lol.

any suggestions, recommendations for good, non-religious private schools, or episcopalian schools in the denver metro area?

I should add that I'm not just looking for the "best" in academics or focusing on test scores, but I'm looking for a variety of offerings: foreign language, art, dance, music, those things that have been taken out of most public schools because of testing. My daughter (3) appears to be a bit of a nerd, so I'm pretty sure she'll do well in most school settings. I would like a private school wiwth some attempt at diversity, however.

thanks.
Lisa, I know you are looking for private schools and that is the topic of this thread, but don't be so quick to discount the public schools, either. I understand private school will give you more flexibility in choosing a home to buy, but most districts in Colorado offer all the above. Well, maybe not dance, but I didn't know private schools offered dance, either. Virtually all districts offer foreign language in middle/high school, and arts from ele school on up. Districts in Colorado are large and open enrollment is usually quite lenient, so you could focus on the district and then look for the house. Just a thought, though I would have sent my kids to Lutheran schools if it had been possible.
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Aurora
357 posts, read 1,149,208 times
Reputation: 280
thanks . I haven't discounted the public schools eithe,. just trying to figure private schools into the cost of a house, kwim? if I can't find what I'm looking for in a public school, I'd rather know what I'm in for as far as private school costs for a couple of kids ahead of time. then I'll probably spend less on a house. just trying to think ahead, calculate costs, etc. we'll be visiting public schools first. Both dh and I did public and we're 100% public school backers. I just wish the "no child left behind" crap disappeared. imho, the idea of teaching to a test is just horrendous. leaves no room for all the other things that make "education" meaningful.

Since dd's a high pressured nerd (or at least seems to be heading that way) she really needs to develop those other parts of her self, her creative side. at this point in her life, she's most comfortable reading, doing puzzles, flashcards, all the nerdy stuff. we literally had to make rules about when and where you could bring books (not on the playground for example, and you have to have some playtime-crazy, right?). she loves to categorize things. when we do beading, she puts them in categories of sameness, fine, but i'm told that tends to mean she'll emphasize math/science skills. I can go on with a ton of other examples. anyhoo, it's apparent she's got the nerd gene, lol. fine with us, we just want her well balanced and happy . so the search is on to find options for a school that will provide academic stimulation without too much pressure (she provides that for herself), some of the arts that are missing in many public schools today, and diversity (ethnic, racial and economic). if it means we have to pay, so be it. we left CA because private schools were almost mandatory and they all cost, I kid you not, well over $22000 a year. the better ones were $28000 and that was a year or two ago. who knows what they are now. that on top of our mortgage was just too much. (in Los angeles, regular houses go for at least $750,000 and all the schools suck). Here I at least have the option of public or private. in Los angeles, there was no option.

I hear some public schools here offer language courses after school for a fee, which I'll look into.

my agent keeps pushing me away from littleton public schools and toward cherry creek and douglas cty schools. I'm thinking I gotta see for myself...any thoughts out there? are the academics in Littleton public schools so bad? There's more diversity in some of the schools, certainly more economic diversity.
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,876 posts, read 102,269,915 times
Reputation: 32945
I do not have personal knowledge of the southern metro schools. "Everyone" knows Cherry Creek is the best school district, just like "everyone" knows Douglas Co. is best, etc. You might want to look at this thread that I started a while back. I think it didn't take off b/c what I said flies in the face of some many people's conceptions about schools around here. I would go with where the house is that you like the best. There WILL be art and music, even in the ele. schools. You CAN take your kid to dance, gymnastics, etc outside of school. I really think NCLB has impacted the actual educating of students less than the media reports.

"Best Schools" in Denver area

I was on the Pittsburgh forum a while back, and this issue came up. Someone asked (paraphrasing) "what is the down side of School District X?" which is supposed to be "the best of Pittsburgh" (along with several others, of course). The reply was "they don't serve the student marching to a different drummer very well". I have seen this myself in the Boulder Valley Schools, where my kids went (and which are also supposed to be, if not THE best, at least excellent)! I think it is the Achilles Heel of these competitive school districts.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Aurora
357 posts, read 1,149,208 times
Reputation: 280
I did read that thread, which was a good one. I think it didn't take off because people really want to know some concrete way of identifying a "good" school district rather than do the legwork, lol. it's hard to spend the time going into several elementary/secondary schools, talking to the administration and some teachers to get a sense of their philosophies, the feel of the classes. you're also gambling because the way it is now changes when your kid gets there (teachers are different, teachers may change their ideas/styles etc, plus the whole dynamic of a class can change with just one child). having taught college I do know that it's really all just trying to grab a chunk of air and hang onto it, lol.

that said, I'm checking out my options. as a control freak, I like to anticipate all the possibilities i can . makes me feel better, lol, and gives me the illusion of control. I can spend 200,000 less on a house and decide to save that for private schools if I need to. the more I know, the better prepared I'll be, at least that's my hope.

still, thanks for reminding me that no matter what school I choose, I'm not going to ruin my daughter's life, lol. still have a bit of that CA school panic to jettison I guess...
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,876 posts, read 102,269,915 times
Reputation: 32945
Having never lived in CA with children (and only for a very short time ever), I can only imagine. I don't think you can go wrong with any district that has homes that you like. Remember my friend's advice: you're not going to buy a house in a bad district. You are correct that you can pick out the teacher you want, etc, and then s/he leaves before your child gets there. OR, it turns out to be a disaster for your child b/c what you think s/he needs is not what really works for him/her. Private schools are not big here, because the public schools are good.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:37 PM
 
Location: South of Denver
291 posts, read 1,916,406 times
Reputation: 150
There are few music/art/drama classes in any public schools here below the high school level. They are the first to go in budget cuts.

My son spent one year in a Cherry Creek School. He started with 22 students in his class and we thought that wasn't bad. By the end of the year, there were over 30. Also of the original 22, only about 17 stayed. Many left town, and more, the country. "Specials", including PE, were only once every 2 weeks. A surprising disappointment.

Cherry Creek schools teach to the test, so they focus on the 3R's. That's good for academics, bad for everything else. Littleton and Douglas are comparable, and if you find a neighborhood you like, there's rarely a reason to avoid most schools in those 2 districts.

When we lived in Littleton, we were impressed with most of the schools, but with the exception of Littleton High, the farther south, the better the school.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,876 posts, read 102,269,915 times
Reputation: 32945
My children had art and music from kindergarten on. The middle schools offered choir, band and orchestra. As far as I know, this is still the case in the Boulder Valley SD.
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:30 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
73 posts, read 158,905 times
Reputation: 51
Not sure where you want to live but I have to agree with looking into Colorado Academy. Pricey and very competitive to get into but a great school.

Our son went to a FABULOUS charter school in Evergreen. Try Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen for more info. In kindergarten Spanish was taught in the class and my son LOVED it. He also received throughout the week: PE, technology, music and art. What we enjoyed about the school is that many times we would get notices home letting us know that actual community leaders (such as local artists) would come in to the school for a period of time to teach classes. Even in kindergarten my son learned so much from this. Our teacher, Ms. Mayer, was great about utilizing the parents too. We had a dad in the class that flew for one of the airlines and he would come in during class time and "fly" the kids to different parts of the world for geography lessons- it was great and the kids really enjoyed it.

The teachers and staff are positive and really do look out for the best interest of the children. The classroom sizes are smaller. The Core Knowledge program worked well with my son's learning style. Be prepared to be an involved parent. They like to see each family have 60 hours of family service time to the school, although there are no penalties if you don't meet them.

Many people don't realize that charter schools ARE public schools. They are different from public schools in 2 main ways. 1) Funding (they receive less funding than that of conventional public schools so expect to be hit up with a few fundraisers a year) 2. Governing board. Instead of reporting to the school board the school itself has it's own board made up of parents, staff and community leaders. Its great because it really is about the village raising the child and not some school board that has to govern MANY schools at one time. Also, this school has non-union teachers. In other words, if a teacher is not meeting up to standards its not an impossible political issue in letting them go. This ensures that each teacher is doing the very best that they can.

Aside from that, Evergreen is a very lovely place to live. There are 2 rec centers, lots of hiking trails, great local boutique shopping and the lake really pulls everything together. On the outskirts of town there is a Wal-Mart, Home Depot and I believe a mini Sears of sort. Best yet it is a short drive to the Denver Metro area.

Housing is a bit pricey however, I think this area has been hit the hardest with the real estate drop so my advise would be get out and see some properties. If you see something you like have your agent pull how long it has been on the market. If it's been a while MAKE AN OFFER. Many people are afraid to insult a seller with a low offer but I personally know of several sellers that would jump at the chance to even have an offer presented. Hey, you'll never get unless you ask, right?

Best of luck in your search.
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Old 11-17-2007, 06:44 AM
 
1 posts, read 5,589 times
Reputation: 10
Hi, I'm new to this forum. My husband and I are looking at a possible job relocation to the Denver area. He will be working right in the city. We're from Rochester, NY and have 3 children (6th Grade, 3rd Grade and 2nd Grade). We are very involved with our schools and our local sports organizations for the area (ie. soccer, hockey, basketball) We obviously are looking for the "best" schools as well. Currently we are in the public schools because Pittsford has great ratings across the state and the country. We would like a similar education experience in Colorado. We would consider both public and private schools and are basic our house search based on schools and commute to work.

Sounds like Douglas County, Cherry Creek and a few other private schools seem to be a good start for us to look. Would they also be good for High Schools as well? Any help would be great!
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