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Old 01-03-2014, 10:45 AM
 
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Hello- we are considering relocating to the triangle area from Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) and would like some first hand information on what makes the Chapel Hill schools so great. We've reviewed all the data- the test scores, the course offerings- all the tangible information/data we can find. However, there is more to a top rated school system then just high test scores and AP course offerings. What are other, non-tangible things that separate Chapel Hill from Orange or Chatham?

We have two daughters, 7 and 5. The 7 year old is an average student while the 5 year old is above average, but not gifted. Does an average student do well in Chapel Hill schools or is the district geared toward the above average and/or gifted students? Are Chapel Hill schools considered "pressure cookers" where the students that aren't intellectually gifted feel the stress of competing with the students that are? How are the sports programs? Does Chapel Hill attract "better" teachers then the surrounding district?

My question boils down to this: Strip away the test scores, what makes Chapel Hill schools better then Orange, Chatham, Wake and Durham?
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:53 AM
 
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I tend to believe that it is due to the higher concentration of population with advanced degrees, and who value education. You see the same thing with the communities around RTP (Cary and Morrisville especially) where many high-tech workers live.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:09 AM
 
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There's also the fact that taxes are higher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district to cover the expenses for top school offerings and teachers than the others. That's why those communities have the highest tax rate in the state, but in exchange, they usually wind up having the highest successful graduation rates - including yours truly
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:28 AM
 
Location: My House
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Originally Posted by NewUser View Post
I tend to believe that it is due to the higher concentration of population with advanced degrees, and who value education. You see the same thing with the communities around RTP (Cary and Morrisville especially) where many high-tech workers live.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozmoe571 View Post
There's also the fact that taxes are higher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district to cover the expenses for top school offerings and teachers than the others. That's why those communities have the highest tax rate in the state, but in exchange, they usually wind up having the highest successful graduation rates - including yours truly

Both of these.

That's really all there is to it.

Which is something, when you think of it... want the former and don't mind the latter? It's a very good school system and by all accounts, a good place to live.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Chatham County, NC
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Originally Posted by NewUser View Post
You see the same thing with the communities around RTP (Cary and Morrisville especially) where many high-tech workers live.
Is the same true (or becoming true) about NE Chatham county ?

Clearly CHCSS is academically the best system in state for the reasons identified. But will a reasonably well balanced student have any reason to be concerned with attending Pollard MS and Northwood HS ? I'm leaving out charter schools, since the assumption has to be that kids will attend the regular schools unless luck intervenes.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Orange County schools have a little better rep than Chatham. You can look info up on the individual schools and districts at NC Report Card which is the state's site on school accountability.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meh_whatever View Post
Both of these.

That's really all there is to it.

Which is something, when you think of it... want the former and don't mind the latter? It's a very good school system and by all accounts, a good place to live.
But what makes Chapel Hill school system so great? I understand that parents with higher degrees understand the importance of education and stress that at home thereby improving the overall academic focus of the school. However are Chapel Hill schools a pressure cooker?

We believe that the best schools are ones that have balance and all kids can feel successful whether it's through academics, sports, drama, etc successes. Higher taxes, higher test scores don't always equate to successful, balanced schools where the student population is HAPPY. Are Chapel Hill schools focused on test results or overall student achievement and balance? We love the area and don't mind paying the higher COL IF the schools provide balance for all types of students, not just those that are academically advanced.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SKBElew View Post
My question boils down to this: Strip away the test scores, what makes Chapel Hill schools better then Orange, Chatham, Wake and Durham?
Maybe your question should be:

Strip away the test scores, are Chapel Hill schools any better than Orange, Chatham, Wake and Durham?
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:44 PM
 
Location: My House
34,546 posts, read 28,939,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewUser View Post
Maybe your question should be:

Strip away the test scores, are Chapel Hill schools any better than Orange, Chatham, Wake and Durham?

That's an interesting perspective. I have to think that you'd also need to strip away the extra money per pupil and the extra level of parental involvement due to so many parents having advanced degrees and so forth.

Which would be tough to do, no?

I mean, we can see that some schools in Wake do as well as some of the schools in Chapel Hill (I am speaking to Wake because I live here and know firsthand), and if we look at those individual schools, we discover that they are generally in more affluent areas where we can assume that more parents are involved and/or donating more money to the schools, thus making the student experience more pleasant and not lacking in supplies/extras, etc.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:51 PM
 
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I thought this previous discussion on this very topic was pretty insightful:

Chapel Hill schools -- how the best?
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