College Hill area..info please! (Wichita, Andover: house, safe neighborhoods, school districts)
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It all depends on what you consider a good school (because opinions can differ a lot).
Lots of people living in College Hills area have kids in private schools like Collegiate, Independent, Wichita Montessori, etc.
There is IB (Robinson) school (I believe this is a middle school - ?) that is located not far from that area, but there is a competition to be accepted. Lots of people try to get kids in that school. It has really bad facilities (I never been inside though, this is just how it looks from outside), I personally would not consider it for my child due to this reason.
College Hills elementary has a nice building, and not very high rating (but i know some people who say they love it).
As for Wichita schools...I personally found Goddard school more suitable for my own child. I live in WIchita district boundaries, but my child is enrolled to Goddard through the open enrollment that they have (but I have to drive there twice a day).
I can try to explain the problem that I found about schools in Wichita. When we started school, we attended one of wichita schools, and lots of things I found there were strange (I didnt like that kids who barely 5 yo had to sit and study really hard from 9 to 4, without any options). I was asking them why, and got a reply that "we believe that our children need more improvement". Excuse me, I thought, MY child didnt need more improvement but still had to be treated like those who did.
There is a school in Wichita (Bostic elementary) that has higher rating comparing to most of Wichita schools. I attended the open house there and asked directly what made it so special. The answer was something like "we make them work hard" (they didnt even have time for a snack in K!, so busy working hard. I saw kids who didnt look brilliant but looked very quiet and didnt dare open their mouth (I was there for a short time though). I prefer my child has good results due to motivation to study, but not because of being made working hard.
As for the particular schools assigned to college hills area, I do not have insider information, sorry. Also, my opinion is the opinion of the parent of the lower grade student, I dont know a lot about situation in higher grades or middle and high schools.
One downside about attending Maize, Goddard or Andover - there is no diversity there, and I think the diversity is good (again, lots of people would disagree)
I'm not sure where the notion Robinson Middle school has really bad facilities came from. Apparently, from someone who's never been in it. It been a pretty typical building for the era it was built. (I've been in it a lot.) Robinson is set for major renovations to do some updating. Of the schools in College Hill, College Hill Elementary has had a good reputation with parents. The College Hill area schools went through periods when the student make up was influenced by bussing and nearby neighborhoods becoming more racially diverse. At one point, Robinson had about a 30% African-American student body many of whom were bussed in from many blocks away. Goddard and other suburban communities are, by contrast, "lily" white. These other districts have seen a boom in growth, because of families "fleeing" Wichita for more racially homogenous areas around the city. Consequently, Wichita has been left to deal with a number of difficulties in its schools involving having an imbalance of student populations that are socially-economically disadvantaged and special needs students.
The homogenous, suburban areas have had their fair share of problems. I've seen varying degrees of racism from wanna be white-boy gangs to pretty full-fledged skinheads wandering the Towne West Square mall. Every community has a down side. It's just that with Wichita you know what you're getting. In the out lying areas bad stuff happens, it's just easier to maintain a facade and point fingers about how bad "those people" are.
My kids currently attend culturally diverse schools - Montreal is filled with folks who come from everywhere! We live in the suburbs, yet my kids still mix with kids froma huge variety of backgounds & religions.
The schools that the homes I like are zoned for are Hyde / Robinson / East High. When you look at the school rankings & state test results these schools appear to not get the same kind of results as the Maize / Goddard / Andover schools.
One of the reasons we are relocating is to ensure a good education for our kids. While I love Montreal my children are forced to attend French school, all their lessons are taught in French, all the school communication is in French, and most staff can't (or won't) even speak to you in English. My eldest just strated high school, and we are moving to ensure that he gets the skills he (& the younger one) needs to attend a good English University. I am tired of constantly struggling to understand the work & letters from school, and not being allowed to volunteer in the school.
This is a generalized statement, so take that into consideration. For the most part, you will get very little "cultural diversity" in the suburban schools, BUT will get an excellent education (e.g., LOTS of opportunities for involvement, lots of options for excelled or assisted programs, etc). It is not that the Wichita Public Schools (WPS) don't have that, it's more that there are fewer opportunities (for example, Andover Central High has 190 +/- (of about 300-400 total kids in HS) kids in the BAND, LOTS of kids in Drama, as well as the typical sports involvement).
There is more "culture" in WPS, but there are also more schools with more kids with a lower SES which leads to less parent involvement, etc. Again, these are generalized statements because I know that there are pros/cons to each school system - it all depends on what the OP wants!
As far as homes, I do agree that college hill has some pretty cool homes - especially the ones that have already been updated! But, you do have to keep in mind, that if you find a home in that area that has not yet been updated and you want to do that, it is more difficult in most of those home than in other areas.
Also, there are lots of different neighborhoods in the suburbs (Maize/Goddard/Andover) and there are some with older homes that are nice as well as (of course) lots of "new" homes. Again, just depends on what the OP wants and where compromises can occur
The question of whether to choose Wichita or one of the suburbs is actually really easy to decide. It all comes down to how you feel about living and raising your family in a "white flight" suburb with a constant undercurrent of racism. The only reason that most of the bedroom communities exist around Wichita is due to an irrational fear that many of the white residents in the area have when it comes to their children mixing with too many African-American or Latino kids at school.
Sco - I really believe that your statements are not correct (or, at the very least, are for some isolated people).
What most people in the suburbs want is a good education for our children and safe neighborhoods/parks for our kids to play!!! I personally do not care what color, religion, gender or anything else you are....What really matters, is the KIND OF PERSON you are - and that has nothing whatsoever to do with race!
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