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Old 10-02-2011, 03:41 PM
 
572 posts, read 1,072,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Look at information on free/reduced lunches. That will give you some insight into the demographics of the area. Also, look at the cost of housing as compared to the rest of the state.

You might want to try sending emails to parent groups in the schools you're interested in. You really need the opinoin of someone in the district for what you want. Try asking on the boards here for the area you're interested in.
Here we have a low number of free/reduced lunches, because we live in an affluent area. The number of bankruptcies and short sells is low as well. Cost of living is extremely high compared to the rest of the state. The schools here are sub-standard. I grew up in MN, the number of free and reduced lunches were high, so are the number bankruptcies and short sales, cost of living is relatively low in MN. The schools are outstanding in the area I grew up. I would e-mail the parent groups, versus looking at the demographics, because demographics sometimes don't mean much.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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Here's the thing...quality school has a different meaning to different people. So, make a list of what your priorities are for your child(ren) in regards to their schooling.

Consider things besides rankings like diversity, income levels, crime stats nearby, location, capacity, teacher longevity, ratios, awards, academic opportunities, after school/extra curricular activities, PTA membership, parental participation, feeder school routes, taxes and bus availablity.

Rankings/TAKS ratings in Texas should never be the sole factor in choosing a school because it is a very complicated system and a rating does not give a true reflection of the school's overall performance.

Once you determine which things are more important to you, then you can classify schools better.
For instance, a big factor for us was to have a school that was diverse as my children are mixed. I did not want them in a school that was heavily skewed to one race whether it was white, black, asian or hispanic. (and there are such types of schools around)

If my child was passionate about any of the fine arts, sports or specific subject, then I'd put that at the top of considerations to find the school that offers the best opportunities that match my child. For instance, if your child is passionate and has a talent for art, then look for a school that has a dedicated art program all the way through to AP art in high school. Look for art shows held, competitions in which they participate, community art support and anything else that connects to art.

Or if your child is passionate about technology, look for a district that has large offering of technology classes from beginning elementary all the way through high school. Again, look at shows, competitions and other support.

If your child is special needs, that will take top priority.

If they have great interest in advanced academics, then you might consider a school that skews that way instead of general ed.

Consider how you plan to get your child to school and look at what's available. Most Texas districts tend to have a designation of 2 miles for being eligible for riding a bus, so if you live closer than 2 miles from the school you won't have that as an option. If you plan on them walking or riding bikes, is the route from where you are considering a house a safe one to the school location? If you will be transporting your child is the route an easy and quick one? If your child will be in child care and they need to be transported by them, what is available nearby that will transport? (transportation is one of the biggest complaints of parents it seems)

You will find schools that have awards for high numbers of hours volunteered. That to me shows parental involvement and support. Schools that have low PTA membership and attendance shows the opposite.

So, basically what I mean is don't start with ratings and don't end with them either. Look at what will be the best fit for YOUR child.
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Old 10-02-2011, 05:32 PM
 
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I guess I don't understand why you want to go through all of this work for questionable results--meaning you really don't know the outcome of the education. There is something to be said for going to a school with a great reputation, especially when it comes to applying for colleges. Going to some unheard of school just because doesn't give you the advantages you will see when applying to college. Just something to think about.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:53 PM
 
12,457 posts, read 27,124,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
I guess I don't understand why you want to go through all of this work for questionable results--meaning you really don't know the outcome of the education. There is something to be said for going to a school with a great reputation, especially when it comes to applying for colleges. Going to some unheard of school just because doesn't give you the advantages you will see when applying to college. Just something to think about.
Actually, there can be some little advantage to that. Colleges expect students at competitive High Schools to do well on the SAT's, not so well at a school with lower income students. All students are expected to take the hardest classes available. However, if you are at a school with 15 AP's that would work into your schedule and that's what the hardest working student's are taking, that's what colleges would think of the most rigorous schedule. If another school only has 5 AP's and you take all of them, then that would be the most rigorous schedule. Thankfully most people don't play THAT game!
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