Houston relo - coming in Nov & need advice on best middle & high school (private school, moving)
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Carnegie Vanguard (not inside the loop, old ratty school, but outstanding program)
HS for Performing and Visual Arts
DeBakey HS for the Health Professions
Both Bellaire and Lamar have International Baccalaureate degree programs, graduate lots of national merit scholars every year, extensive language programs, and tons of extracurricular activities. Very large schools though -- ~3,500 students
Top public middle school:
Lanier MS (Vanguard)
Living inside the loop, you'd be close to everything -- arts, sports, museums, etc. Commute would not be toooo bad for your husband, as he'd be going pretty much against traffic.
If you choose to live closer to his work, Kinkaid would be your best bet for private school. It's quite an amazing program, and top teachers, who enjoy a teaching environment where teachers, kids and parents are on the same page regarding the importance of a good education.
We're considering HS options for our child, and right now St. John's has our heart. Absolutely fantastic school. However, we live inside the loop, and I just can't see making my child tardy for school every day, if we have to drive all the way out to Kinkaid!
I'm a little leery about living in planned communities out in the burbs. My brother in New Territory got a warning because his window blinds are off-white, and the deed restrictions require snow white window blinds. A friend in Telfair got a letter threatening to sue him if he didn't replace a semi dead little shrub in his front yard. The problem is that he has to replace it with exactly the same specimen, and not being a gardener, he has no idea about the little shrub's plant family. Taking a picture doesn't help, as the shrub is apparently beyond saving, and nursery people can only guess at its provenance. Can't stand all that regimentation, and insane cookie-cutter requirements of those community associations. You'll also notice that the people setting those standards are hardly never architects, or designers, or anyone with a creative, or artistic bone in their body. UGH!
Of course, if you like all that stuff, you'll be very happy out there!
Thanks everybody for your helpful and quick responses. So far, all of you seem to have pointed toward the public school system, except for one suggestion to look at the The Village School. did any of you consider the private school option? Or know anything about those schools? Have heard some less than wonderful things about them being more of an enclave of rich, non-diverse kids v. a superior academic environment, but hard to tell what's real...
Also, I greatly appreciate the suggestions of other areas to look at -- all the co-workers we've asked seem to have opted for Katy (to get the house/lot/good commute), except for two trend-buckers -- one who went Bellaire and one who went Memorial. And while I have my preferences, lifestyle-wise (not a fan of cookie-cutter subdivisions built in former corn fields with a minimal sprinking on builder-provided saplings at regular minimum intervals), my top priority is finding the best schools for my kids. So I greatly appreciate the feedback and suggestions received so far, and please keep them coming -- the more the better!
One reason you're getting a lot of public school suggestions might be the time of year it seems like you're planning to move. Any of the great private schools in Houston are difficult to get in to, some VERY difficult. St. John's is one of the best schools in the country, but parents jump through hoops for years to get their kids in there - even after the kid passes several tests and interviews. There just isn't enough space. So, since you're talking about a mid-year move, private schools aren't going to work probably.
You would have to contact the private schools to check availability mid term. Some have spaces others do not. Grace Presbyterian is an excellent small school that may have space. It feeds into Strake Jesuit/St Agnes and Houston Christian. All of last years grads earned entry into their first choice HS. However, many energy corridor people go to Village and they recently opened a HS. It is all GT.
If you can afford Memorial, zoned to Stratford or Memorial HS, then do it. It's also an easy drive to many private schools. Kinkaid, St. Francis, Village, Regis, Awty etc. HAR.COM lists them in area 23, and the zip are 77024 and 77079. To get into Memorial Middle school, stay east of Kirkwood.
If it's more about wanting a big, new house (assuming you can't buy the big/new in Memorial) than the location and proximity to private schools and city culture, then I would say Katy towards the east side.
PS- The Woodlands would be out. 90 minute commute on a good day.
The Energy Corridor on Eldridge Parkway is not far from the Cinco Ranch area in Katy. Katy has some of the best schools in the state, specially on the south side of I-10 in Katy. Cinco Ranch is also a very desireable area to live in.
Thought I'd chime in on commutes...we live in the Seven Lake HS district, and my hubby works near the energy corridor. His commute is 30 minutes on Westpark Tollway, 45 mins. on I-10. We have friends who live in the Memorial HS district. He works in the energy corridor and his commute is 25-40 mins. depending on traffic. So, the time difference is not huge. Their house is slightly larger than ours, MUCH older, they paid more than twice as much for it (we purchased at the same time, a little over a year ago), and they have since sunk another 100K or so into remodeling. So, a lot depends on your price range. Also, FYI, Seven Lakes just earned an Exemplary rating, which is pretty rare at the high school level. Good luck!
Wow, I can make it from Kirkwood and Memorial to the heart of Piney Point in 15 minutes going down Memorial at 35 mph.... at 7am (less than 7miles). Kirkwood and I-10 to Echo Lane and I-10 in 5 minutes. Where in the heck do they live? 40 minutes??No one goes west in the morning. Some in Katy say they can get to the Med Center in less time than that,going with traffic. Memorial and the EC are 0-10 exits apart. I can get to downtown in less than 25 minutes using I-10, going with traffic.
I don't mean to argue, but it's never taken me 25-40 minutes to get anywhere in the area. There are so many back ways.
BTW, I live on the west side of Memorial and work in the EC. My commute is one mile.
Last edited by EasilyAmused; 11-04-2009 at 12:53 PM..
I would say The Village School would be a great fit but getting in mid-year is near impossible. There are waiting lists for most grades.
However, it is a dynamic private school...extremely strong academics, diverse and progressive. For example...knowing that music instruction at a young age boosts IQ and learning potential, they implemented a five day music program for kids. All 1st - 3rd grade students take violin two days a week and piano one day and the other two days are basic music instruction. This is just one example...so much going on at the school.
Classes are taught above grade level....second graders do third grade work etc. They are applying for IB status. You should check out their website...not cookie cutter at all. I would put it up there with St. John's...and above most of the other private schools listed.
having attended St. Johns and having taught at Awty International in the past, I can say with confidence that Awty does a better job on the whole. Both schools have outstanding and proven programs. Both are heads and shoulders above others in town by the numbers. (College admissions acceptances, SAT scores and IB passage rates). Awty usually has the best IB passage rates in the country. What Awty offers that distinguishes it in my mind is a student body and faculty that represents over 50 countries and unmatched language programs. The learning that happens from having intelligent and motivated peers-friends from all over the world is impossible to replicate. Awty is also used to accommodating school year transfers since many parents are energy execs or diplomats subject to being transferred. [Mod cut - Need 10 posts to link off site] I think. good luck to you.
Full disclosure - I attended St. Johns from 6-12 grades, graduating in 1992. I taught at Awty for 5 years in the early 2000s. Also please don't hold caps or grammar against me, as I'm getting used to this iPhone. again good luck.
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