Which schools in Huntsville/Madison area? (Athens, Arab: transplants, new home, neighborhood)
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Hello to all,
We may be moving to the Huntsville area soon due to a job opportunity. We currently live in NH and have not been living here for very long. Before that we were in the military for many years.
I am looking into schools because that is my #1 priority. I have researched schools on-line and am very impressed with a couple (Bob Jones and Grissom). I have 3 school aged kids, 2 in high school.
I am looking for a school that will be friendly. What I mean by this is, my kids, who have traveled their whole life due to the military have had a hard adjustment here in NH because the kids who live here have known each other their whole lives and do not accept newbies very willingly. My kids have never had a hard time making friends, and although they have friends here, it's nothing like they are used to. It's more like they have aquaintances here vs. friends. It's been a trying time.
We are eager for the move because the cost of living here is pretty high. We pay $5300 per year on property tax (our land is 0.19 acres...not real big and house is maybe 2200 squ ft!)!!! We know the property tax in that area is very low. Our electric bill runs us close to $300 per month in the very long winter season (and our heat is set on 65-68 degrees) and our gas bill is around $220 a month in the winter season.
I am looking at Madison and SE Huntsville. Also could anyone tell me about the high school in Athens?
Just a side note..... when we were looking for a house to buy here in NH our realtor was showing us a home she was very familiar with in a neighborhood she grew up in. She was pointing out homes and who lived there. She was telling us about this neighbor who lived there for 35 years and that neighbor who lived there for 40 years and.... oh yes! the "new" neighbors who have only lived there for 10 years! My husband and I had to laugh. 10 years is still considered new in this area. Guess we are looking to go somewhere that will accept us even if we only have lived there for a month!!!
Any advice re: the schools would be greatly appreciated.
i'm 3 months away from graduation at auburn university (headed to dental school after this) and i have nothing but good things to say about the kids i've met from grissom (i went to hoover, down in birmingham).
grissom consistently puts out well-adjusted, intelligent kids who are more than ready for college. i'd say that of the top 20 pre-medicine pre-pharmacy pre-optometry and pre-dental students here at auburn, at least 4 are from grissom high school alone. pretty remarkable, really. they put out a whole bunch of national merit scholars every year, too. speaks volumes about their upper echelon ("gifted") classes.
that being said, grissom is a very large school... one of the largest in the state (maybe even THE largest in the state since the hoover split). probably around 2500 kids in grades 9-12. i'm not sure how this would effect new kids fitting in. i can see it working both ways... overwhelming and difficult... or so many niches that it'd be easy to find one. i'd say use you and your children's judgment on whether a very large school is right for you.
sorry i don't know much about the other schools in question. hopefully some huntsville area folks will be able to help you out.
I live in Madison which is where Bob Jones High is located. I don't have any personal experience with the school although I have heard very good things about it as well as all the schools in Madison City District. One thing I can say is that there is a lot of new home construction in Madison which would mean that your children would not be the only newcomers. The whole Huntsville/Madison area is very friendly with the military community and I think your family would have no trouble fitting in. The 2 areas that you picked out are probably the best (SE Huntsville and Madison) but there is alot more new home comstruction in Madison than in SE Huntsville.
While I don't live in Madison county I am sure you won't have the same issues you have had in NH. My daughter and her family just moved to Arab AL (30 miles south of H'ville)last year with her 2 teenage boys who are in JHS and HS and they have had no problem making friends. The youngest played football for the first time for the JHS and this year the oldest is going out for HS football. They have said there is no way they want to move back to FL. The schools are some of the best in the state. There is a downside though as there aren't a lot of things for kids to do for fun as there are no malls or movies nearby. Housing here is VERY reasonable for what you get. I would suggest you check out houses in the area you are interested in to see what the taxes would be and if you can get a street name you can look up the address on the property appraisers website to see what the taxes are for that property or in the area. If you need the link I can send it to you
I know you and your family will be much happier here..
As MarySally stated you will find that this area is very open to new residents because of the Arsenal.
I too have heard that both the schools you mentioned are very good.
Last edited by Keeper; 02-13-2007 at 07:00 AM..
Reason: added info
Keeper , its only 16 miles to Huntsville City Limits from Arab and only 22 to the heart of Huntsville from Arab, Theres talk of another new Mall down on the South side around the Farley community, there are some wild life issues that have to be settled before they can go forward , and after that they are planning to start the South Huntsville to Madison bypass. but who knows ? Our grandchildren may get to use it one day. I agree hands down on the Arab School system , theres none better, I think in time there will be some things focused toward the youth for our area , the biggest thing is for someone to just step up get something started.
Thanks to all for your kind responses. I will definitely be looking forward to some warmer weather. We got slammed with a blizzard yesterday.
I have been researching madison alot and although I have not been to that area in person, I think it will be one of the first places to look at. Arab sounds fantastic too..... will have to keep that in mind.
Thanks again and I hope to be in your area very soon!!
Location: Where ever you're at, that's where you are!
371 posts, read 584,370 times
We are also researching a move to Madison or SE Huntsville. We are prior military as well. We have two children, a HS girl and a soon to be Kindergarten boy. The area we decide on depends upon many of the same things you are looking at. We are currently in SE Virginia and our daughter has faced the same issues at her schools, so we know all about that 'friendliness' factor you are looking for. I would love to hear what area you decide upon, and why.
The schools are generally good throughout the area due to the number of degreed/advanced degree professionals who want and demand the best for their kids. We all benefit.
The bigger trick in relocating might be in figuring out how close (commute time) you want to be to work, what type of home you want/require (new, resale, one story or two, age, # of beds/baths, etc.), how close you want to be to retail shopping (versus grocery stores) and if you want hills or if land that is flat is okay. Answer those questions and get with a good realtor to see how the results fit within the city and county school systems.
Bob Jones and Grissom are both in the top 5% of schools in the US
Bob Jones and Grissom are both in the top 5% of schools in the US. Grissom ranks #552 and Bob Jones ranks #1102 out of ALL public schools in the nation (about 23,000). Here's the article:
The 1,200 Top U.S. Schools - Newsweek America's Best High Schools - MSNBC.com (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12532678/site/newsweek/ - broken link)
No other schools close to Huntsville/Madison were on the list so I would only consider those two.
Being accepted shouldn't be much of a problem in Huntsville/Madison. This area is full of transplants so you get lots of people that don't know anyone else and they end up sticking together and making friends that way. The local folk are very nice and accepting too.
I am a teacher who lives in SE Huntsville. I would not recommend Grissom High School unless your child is exceptional (bright). Average kids are ignored - very impersonal school - lots and lots of drugs - Be very careful! Many former students have told me what a miserable experience it was.
Perhaps Bob Jones would be a better bet!
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