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Old 01-10-2010, 11:42 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,133 times
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Hi all,

My wife and I are reallocating to the area as I will start working in Duke this year.

After investigating the various threads and reading endless card reports we feel we are still uncertain regarding the schooling issue. Any information you might have would be greatly appreciated!

We have four questions regarding the education of our son (my questions refer to the academic dimension of the schools - yes, I am a nerd...):

1) How would you compare the best CH elementary public schools with the best ones in Hillsborough?

2) Which elementary public school in CH are the best?

3) Anyone has info on the "Morris Grove" elementary school? There seems to be a lot of nice houses (Lake Hogan Farms) that belong to this school. Since it's a new one it has been hard to gather hard data on its performance.

4) How would you compare the best elementary public schools in the area with the top private schools in the area and which ones would the latter be (Durham academy? Carolina friends?)

Finally, how long would you estimate the commute from Hillsborough to Duke (west campus) to be?

Thanks in advance for your help and input!
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:30 AM
 
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We have friends who have been happy with Grady Brown, New Hope and Hillsoborough Elementary (year round). Biggest downside we've seen is they all are focused on end of grade testing...no real teaching philosophy other than making sure the kids do well on the end of grade tests. I suspect this is common for most public schools in NC, including those in Chapel Hill. The advantage of the various charters, magnets and private schools throughout the triangle are that you open yourself up to more teaching philosophies for your child if they are not a good fit for what the public school is offering.

Friends and Durham academy are miles apart in philosophy. Friends is a good school for holistic tree huggers, giving alot of attention to helping kids develop as individuals and finding their true callings. Academy is a the place type A helicopter parents who feel that Chapel Hill High doesn't provide a challenging enough environment for their kids, and are hampering their kids' shot at getting into Harvard.

As far as "good schools" in Chapel Hill goes, they are all good. Morris Grove will be fine, because like the rest of the schools in the CHCS district there are alot of kids from well off families going there, and kids from well off families tend to do very well in school and tend to score well on tests. With reference back to Orange County schools, you'll get more socioeconomic diversity in the Orange County schools (ie...a lower concentration of well off kids), so they tend to score lower on the all important end of grade tests. There are more financial resources on a per pupil basis in the CHCS district as well, due to the (so I'm told) insane taxation policies of the CHCS politburo.

So, my take home message is there's alot of good schools in both systems. I would not stress out too much about particular schools, and focus more on where you want to live from a quality of life standpoint.

Drive time from Hillsborough to Duke is dependent on how close you are to I85. It takes about 10 min to get from the I-85/NC86 to Duke.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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That is the best darned post I've ever read on the subject of schools on this message board. KUDOS galore to toot68.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:13 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,133 times
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toot68 - this is great. I really appreciate the time and effort. Thanks a lot!
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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I found that the top Orange County schools are very similar to the top Durham County Schools. But in Durham you will find more racial diversity. There is racial diversity in Orange County, but there is just a higher percent in Durham.
In my opinion if you are going to look at Orange County Schools you might want to consider Durham County Schools as well.


Also, in the private school realm, there is also The Duke School which is somewhere between DA & Friends and it is PreK-8.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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Toot got it right on the mark for the most part (love the tree hugger comment...really tapped into Friends!). When you look at elementary schools, for the most part they are on a level playing field (at least OCS and CHCCS), but kids don't stay in elementary school forever. You need to focus also on the middle school where the disparity in education really begins to show. There is a great deal of stress placed on CHCCS kids to achieve. If your's is an over-achiever type, they'll be fine. The issues I am aware of often come into play with children with EC, AG, and LD kids. Then you really need to investigate what style schooling and resources are offered at all levels. Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Long Island via Chapel Hill NC, Go Heels?
467 posts, read 613,204 times
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Chapel Hill Schools in upper ages are better than Durham and Orange by a long shot. Morris Grove is a new school off of Eubanks and Old 86, so you're very close to I-40 via 85 if you move close to that area. Lake Hogan is very nice. Many parents send their children to private schools because they can't cope with public school life, and all their problems and such. It's really not that big of a deal.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:55 AM
 
1,840 posts, read 5,127,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXmom View Post
I found that the top Orange County schools are very similar to the top Durham County Schools. But in Durham you will find more racial diversity. There is racial diversity in Orange County, but there is just a higher percent in Durham.
In my opinion if you are going to look at Orange County Schools you might want to consider Durham County Schools as well.


Also, in the private school realm, there is also The Duke School which is somewhere between DA & Friends and it is PreK-8.
I agree with this. I'll also note, there are great magnets in Durham (of note, Watts and Morehead montesorri and the school of the arts...there's also a middle school montesorri in the works), something Orange county/CHCS lacks. Additionally, Central Park charter in downtown durham teaches off the Duke School philosophy (you can apply to the Central Park lottery as a resident of any county in NC).
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I am happy living in Orange county and with Orange County Schools. My kids go to New Hope, Stanback and Cedar Ridge. It takes me 15 minutes to commute to work which is a couple blocks off of East Campus.

There have been some teaching issues with one of my children's teachers from a couple of years ago, where we were unaware of low grades until the end of the year. We have made it a point to communicate with each teacher every few weeks to avoid this problem again.

My oldest went to Durham County schools through the 4th grade. Orange County does seem to have more parental involvement ( I was PTA prez at the Durham County School ).

As a child, I went to both Durham and Orange County schools. I was challenged more in Orange County. That was 20 years ago (lol) and many things have changed.

One thing I really enjoy about Orange County in reference to the kids, but not specifically about the schools, is the Orange County Rec center. They have many activities/teams for children at very reasonable prices.

I do not have any direct experience with Chapel Hill Schools. I do know (from friends) that the taxes are on the high side. But if you take advantage of the programs they have, it would seem like a good trade-off.
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