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Old 01-24-2012, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Here
418 posts, read 906,817 times
Reputation: 224

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Would love advice from the many knowlegable posters and locals here. We moved here and bought a home districted for Morningside Elementary. After researching and reading many excellent reviews, talking with other parents in the area, etc. it seemed liked a good decision that is until reality hit. I'm not going to slam the school as many of the parents in our neighborhood love it and for whatever reason, I'm still uncertain. Needless to say our experience was horrible, with the teacher and with the curriculum and materials that were sent home. So now I am very nervous about any public schools in GA claiming any level of excellence.

We are thinking about moving out to one of the many suburbs that supposedly offer good public school but want to keep private as an option. It appears that the northerns burbs have no private option...perhaps because the schools are THAT good? Areas like Smyrna, Marietta, Vinings, etc offer Westminster, Pace, Lovett so should we move there and focus on those private schools? The whole reason we paid a premium and for a smaller home to live intown was for the good public elementary school but if I have to go private, then I'm looking for bigger and cheaper in the burbs.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:42 PM
 
Location: East Snobb
229 posts, read 473,991 times
Reputation: 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaBeinBoston View Post
Would love advice from the many knowlegable posters and locals here. We moved here and bought a home districted for Morningside Elementary. After researching and reading many excellent reviews, talking with other parents in the area, etc. it seemed liked a good decision that is until reality hit. I'm not going to slam the school as many of the parents in our neighborhood love it and for whatever reason, I'm still uncertain. Needless to say our experience was horrible, with the teacher and with the curriculum and materials that were sent home. So now I am very nervous about any public schools in GA claiming any level of excellence.

We are thinking about moving out to one of the many suburbs that supposedly offer good public school but want to keep private as an option. It appears that the northerns burbs have no private option...perhaps because the schools are THAT good? Areas like Smyrna, Marietta, Vinings, etc offer Westminster, Pace, Lovett so should we move there and focus on those private schools? The whole reason we paid a premium and for a smaller home to live intown was for the good public elementary school but if I have to go private, then I'm looking for bigger and cheaper in the burbs.

Thanks in advance!!
Well, I think the Cobb County school system is far better than the APS...in my opinion. However, no matter, they are BOTH government school systems. In the interest of NOT creating too much of a squabble, I will keep my opinion to myself. HOWEVER...if I had a child that was school age, they SHALL be educated at home or at a private school that lines up with my values.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, Georgia
957 posts, read 3,357,875 times
Reputation: 426
Not just "that good" best of the best school clusters are in Johns creek!

1. Northview cluster
2. Chattahoochee cluster
3. Johns creek high cluster
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,334 posts, read 26,092,084 times
Reputation: 3995
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyEng View Post
Well, I think the Cobb County school system is far better than the APS...in my opinion. However, no matter, they are BOTH government school systems. In the interest of NOT creating too much of a squabble, I will keep my opinion to myself. HOWEVER...if I had a child that was school age, they SHALL be educated at home or at a private school that lines up with my values.
Public schools in many states are excellent, with reasons other than academics (usually religion, certain sports, or prestige) being the main reason for people to send their kids to a private school.

As a transplant from a state with very different policies regarding public education, I find the attitudes I sometimes see in GA to be ... interesting ... with regard to public schools, but they probably stem from the fact that such schools are more variable in quality here. If you had a bad experience in a "government school" (a term I've only heard used in Georgia), that would certainly explain and possibly justify your attitude.

I think the scale of the school districts also hurts school quality, especially here in the Atlanta metro, but I have little other than anecdotal evidence to show that smaller districts sometimes result in better schools. I also think locking residents into feeder patterns is foolish, but again that's just my opinion.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:09 PM
 
3,972 posts, read 12,664,235 times
Reputation: 1470
You can have a bad teacher in any school, public or private, strong school district or weak. (I know because we have educated our children in a variety of schools as have most of my friends. One friend just moved her child from a highly regarded private school because her child had what she perceived as a weak teacher for the second year in a row. It happens.) Have you spoken to the principal, sought reassurance about next year, etc?

To me there is tremendous value in going to school with neighborhood children. It is how most of us were raised. If you choose to go private, and say live in East Cobb, you will find that your child is only one of a few not in the neighborhood schools. Not necessarily bad, just different.

You should go visit the schools in the areas you are thinking about. Visit the middle and high as well. (though it sounds like your child is very young). Get a feel for them and see what is different and what isn't.

If I were headed for private, I would want to stay intown as that generally gives you the most options.

I agree with rcsteiner about some of the challenges to education in GA, especially the size of the metro area school districts.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Here
418 posts, read 906,817 times
Reputation: 224
Rcsteiner and lastminutemom, I agree with the challenges facing a big metro school district. I am just gunshy but a bad experience could happen in private school as well. We have spoken to the principal but she sang the party line and I'm not buying it. We moved not too long ago and I don't want to screw around my kids again. We don't have to be near jobs or commute, just somewhere where kids can meet and play with their peers. Mom, you are right about the isolation of being a private school kid. That's what we worried about.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
399 posts, read 701,005 times
Reputation: 775
I wonder if its not the school/quality of teaching that is so great but rather the students who attend? Chapel Hill NC is touted as having great schools but the students were mostly children of professors and other professionals so they were already ahead of the game. The Durham School system which everyone wanted to avoid actually had the better teachers.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:29 PM
 
1,362 posts, read 4,318,620 times
Reputation: 399
Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaBeinBoston View Post
Would love advice from the many knowlegable posters and locals here. We moved here and bought a home districted for Morningside Elementary. After researching and reading many excellent reviews, talking with other parents in the area, etc. it seemed liked a good decision that is until reality hit. I'm not going to slam the school as many of the parents in our neighborhood love it and for whatever reason, I'm still uncertain. Needless to say our experience was horrible, with the teacher and with the curriculum and materials that were sent home. So now I am very nervous about any public schools in GA claiming any level of excellence.

We are thinking about moving out to one of the many suburbs that supposedly offer good public school but want to keep private as an option. It appears that the northerns burbs have no private option...perhaps because the schools are THAT good? Areas like Smyrna, Marietta, Vinings, etc offer Westminster, Pace, Lovett so should we move there and focus on those private schools? The whole reason we paid a premium and for a smaller home to live intown was for the good public elementary school but if I have to go private, then I'm looking for bigger and cheaper in the burbs.

Thanks in advance!!
What grade are you talking about? My 2nd kid is in grade 2 right now (Northview cluster), and there does not seem much going on. Not much homework etc.

3rd grade and later is when things really start, if I remember what was going on with my older kid right. I have heard middle school get really busy.

But I think the North Fulton schools are about as good as they get in GA (without knowing everything about all the public schools around).
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:19 PM
 
9,008 posts, read 14,062,786 times
Reputation: 7643
It may be helpful to understand what specific problems you are having with the school. Is the material not challenging enough? Too challenging? The teacher expects too much? Not enough? Doesn't seem bright?

It is true that you can get a bad teacher in any school. I don't know for sure, but it would seem that if you raised enough of a fuss and seemed like someone who could cause trouble in the community, the school would transfer your child to another teacher that may be more to your liking. If you are the kind of parent who really wants to have a lot of control over how your child is educated, private school may be more to your liking. You may even want to look at smaller schools and consider alternatives such as montessori.

It's really a challenge to dislike your child's elementary school. You don't want to pick a house based solely on elementary schools because what if the middle school or high school won't be to your liking? I was going to say that I had a friend who had children at Sarah Smith, and that place seemed to really have its act together. Smart teachers, good work, good kids....but it feeds into Sutton middle school, which isn't bad, it's just not great.

It's really difficult to try to pick a school system based on elementary school aged children because you may not yet know what kind of environment is going to be best. Do you need a school that has ace academics with great AP coursework? Do you need a school that is better at working with the more average kids to make sure they are keeping up? Do you need a school that has a reputation for making arts and/or athletics part of the curriculum?

MrPanda pointed out some excellent choices. For example, Northview has a reputation for having stellar academics and churning out exceptional students. However, students not at the top of the class complain they get left behind. Will competing with kids who pull all nighters and take studies seriously motivate your children to do their best, or will it discourage them from ever feeling like they are good enough?

The neat thing about the high schools in Atlanta is they are all a little bit different and have strengths and weaknesses. To answer your question, though, YES. The schools is Johns Creek, Alpharetta, and East Cobb ARE that good. I would say considering them is extremely wise. However, you might wish to consider that even though Northview, Johns Creek, Chattahoochee, and Walton high schools are all highly rated, they are going to have subtle differences.

You also have to consider that many of these schools, especially Johns Creek, are very new and what they look like today could be considerably different from how they look when your children get there. That's one reason private school might be a good option. That way, you can plunk your kids up and move them whenever it seems appropriate. If you go the public option, you're going to have to pick up and move again if it turns out that your decision was wrong.

I would also urge you to keep the following in mind: much attention is paid to elementary and high school. Middle school is all too often ignored because this is not when students are learning fundamentals or complex concepts. However, it is when the most emotional and psychological development is taking place. If you don't take the middle school years seriously and your children do not develop socially, emotionally, and pscyhologically in the correct way, it will be impossible for them to succeed in high school regardless of how good of a school that you place them in.

Middle school is my soap box
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:33 AM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
2,240 posts, read 5,860,788 times
Reputation: 3414
Just a quick $.02. In my neighborhood in the panhandle of Sandy Springs, kids in our neighborhood attend many different private schools. There *may* be one family in our subdivision of 70+ homes that use the public school, but in my kids' small group of n'hood friends, all attend different private schools (no one family the same). So, don't assume that your child will be "isolated" if he/she attends private school.
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