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Old 01-14-2008, 12:20 AM
 
2 posts, read 16,059 times
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Default Best elementary school in Des Moines area

I need some help. My husband is taking a job in the Des Moines area. And we are looking for schools for my daughter. She will be in lower elementary by the time we move. What are some of the best schools? We'll move to wherever the best school is. We are currently living a north subburb of Chicago and my daughter attends a montessori school that we all love dearly. We hope there are comparable ones that provide loving and supportive learning environment with very educated teachers.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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Honestly, all the schools in the Des Moines area are excellent.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
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I believe Jefferson is considered the best elementary school. It's a district wide school and you pretty much have to put your child on the waiting list shortly after they're born, so no dice there. It wouldn't hurt to check into it though.

Other than that, the school system is good, like others have said. Just move into a nice neighborhood with nice people and you'll find that you're in a nice district.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
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In Des Moines proper, the Beaverdale area and west side of the city are the best. It is easy to tell by the quality of the neighborhoods. The northwest corner of Des Moines actually goes to the Johnston school district which is considered one of the best school systems in the state. All the suburban schools are good.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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Default Montessori

There is a K-8 (I believe) Montessori school in WDM. It is private though. Public schools are excellent in the suburbs. Some in DSM are too, some are not. To get into Jefferson, you typically have to be on a waiting list for years. Hanawalt is very good educationally and so is Greenwood, both in DSM.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:33 PM
 
Location: In a place with little freedom (aka USA)
708 posts, read 853,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldengirls View Post
I need some help. My husband is taking a job in the Des Moines area. And we are looking for schools for my daughter. She will be in lower elementary by the time we move. What are some of the best schools? We'll move to wherever the best school is. We are currently living a north subburb of Chicago and my daughter attends a montessori school that we all love dearly. We hope there are comparable ones that provide loving and supportive learning environment with very educated teachers.
Urbandale schools are great and as a matter of fact you can find great neighborhoods there. I would highly recommend Urbandale for raising a family, buying a home and for the schools. Teachers are great too.

Check out Olmstead Elementary or Rolling Green Elementary. Those are pretty good.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Negotiator75 View Post
Urbandale schools are great and as a matter of fact you can find great neighborhoods there. I would highly recommend Urbandale for raising a family, buying a home and for the schools. Teachers are great too.

Check out Olmstead Elementary or Rolling Green Elementary. Those are pretty good.

You are right, in general Urbandale schools are very good....Due to moves and a stab at the year around calendar at Rolling Green, our family has had experience with 3 elementaries-Olmsted, Rolling Green and Karen Acres. Rolling Green is actually the weak spot in Urbandale schools, especially for children in the higher (4th and 5th grades). While RG has some wonderful teachers, the principal herself has significant control issues and is simply unable to deal with, in a positive, proactive manner, some of the sassyness that kids of that age start to display. The persona she displays to parents, especially when touring the school, is one of the ultimate, knowledgable professional...well dressed and well spoken. Unfortunately, when the kids themselves get older her answer to their misbehavior is to suddenly play "Ms. Tough" and use profanity when dealing with them. I had heard this from other parents prior to starting at Rolling Green and now my child reports it as well. It only happened to her once and I made a big deal of it and has not happened again but she still tells me on probably a weekly basis that Mrs. (Principal) cussed at (Kid's name) today. Once she came into their 5th grade classroom and cussed out, literally, the whole class. The one thing the woman has done positive, is hire some really good teachers but with her attempts to have her finger on everything that happens in the school, the teachers' work, especially the younger teachers', is overshadowed by her domineering presence. Urb. schools are good, but I'd stay away from RG.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:59 PM
 
Location: North of Grand neighborhood, near Dahl's.
33 posts, read 106,586 times
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From what I've learned, there are definitely a host of great elementary schools peppered all over Des Moines and the suburbs (Johnston, Urbandale, Waukee, Ankeny). Also, know that "suburb" is a little relative, in terms of its connotation. Urbandale kind of "happens" as you're driving in Des Moines, as does West Des Moines or Windsor Heights; whereas Johnston, Waukee and Ankeny are more physically separated from Des Moines (by interstate or land...which is increasingly being built up, so it's becoming more difficult to feel that separation). In other words, you "drive over to" Waukee and Johnston and Ankeny (especially Ankeny, which is further away), whereas you when you're driving west on Douglas Ave, you're like "oh, that sign says this is where Urbandale starts." I occasionally forget Urbandale has it's own school system. Before you Urby's slap me, just know I was away from the state for 16 years and am fairly new back, so forgive me. ;-)

Our son currently goes to Montessori Children's House (MCH) in West Des Moines, and that school is simply amazing. I believe the top age there is 7, with some parents deciding to have their kindergarten-aged kids attend a public school at that time (I think they want that kindergarten experience), and some having their kids stay until they've "aged out" and attend public school in the 2nd grade, where some have said that the Montessori kids experience an easier transition. We have another year or two to figure that out. That said, we live in a beautiful old area of Des Moines, near downtown, called North of Grand. We're in the Greenwood Elementary district, but everyone is telling me, in case we ever wanted to (try to) open enroll in a different school, that Greenwood, Hanawalt, and Hubbell are all great...each has its own vibe, but they're all great. FYI, Hubbell Elementary has incorporated an International Baccalaureate (IB) program there (and I believe the associated Merrill Middle School and Roosevelt High School are going in that direction as well), which some some find too intense. I'm still (very gradually) gathering info on IB, and it seems like something a Montessori child would easily fit into, but I'm also hearing (pure hearsay) it's tough to fit music/the arts into an IB program. That seems at odds to me with the IB concepts I've read about thus far, but again, I'm still gathering info. Being a professional musician, the arts are important to our family, so I'm curious to find out more.

I think there's otherwise Cowles Montessori, which goes through 8th grade, and Sayre Montessori also in WDM, which I'm not familiar with at all. When we moved back, we started in an apt in WDM and found MCH. Both of us educators, I can't tell you how impressed with MCH we were right off the bat. The same could have happened had we known of and visited the other two as well. Maybe others can speak to those schools, if you're looking to stay with Montessori longer.

I can't speak for Chicago schools, but I can for Boston and New York City, where we split 10 years of living and working. Des Moines Public Schools rival SO many of the top private schools in those cities. Des Moines should be proud, and new residents should feel good about having their kids in public schools here. Here, I think it's more about which school has a better feel for you (some of them have more focus in the arts than others, for example). You can visit a list of schools here and walk out of any one them thinking "Oh my God, that <insert: math, foreign language, debate, whatever sport, band, science, art, etc> program is AMAZING!". If you're moving here from out of town and you're trying to place your child in a school with the best of all those, it's nearly impossible...but nearly all of them are quite good at a lot of those. That's the cool thing about education here -- the best teachers are raised here, and TONS of them stay and teach.

What's even more interesting to me (as I tend to look way far out) is the focus and performance of the high schools that good elementaries feed into. I find Roosevelt more culturally diverse and "liberal" (used very generally) than other schools. If my son is ever in a place where he would like to have a career in New York, I can't think of a better set up for him than what I'm working on. But having MANY teacher and administration friends and all over the entire area, and having taught clinics in nearly all of them, including the suburbs mentioned, there are amazing things going on in every one of those high schools. In fact, concerning music at the high school level, here's where I'm actually a little nervous, as I would pick several of the other high schools over Roosevelt for that. But when I think of RHS's other benefits (including its proximity and association with downtown's Central Campus) and the guidance my son would get from his parents, he'd blossom there. But who knows...we do our best, right?
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:24 PM
 
Location: North of Grand neighborhood, near Dahl's.
33 posts, read 106,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tptvosox View Post
But when I think of RHS's other benefits (including its proximity and association with downtown's Central Campus)...
I meant Central Academy (Advanced Placement English, Math and Science classes and IB program). But Central Campus is interesting as well, with all its specialized career classes.
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