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Old 04-06-2008, 06:22 AM
 
46 posts, read 214,457 times
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Hi. I am a SBF and single parent of a 10 y.o. boy. We currently live in the Briarcliff/Clairmont road area where we are zoned for Sagamore Hills Elementary. Sagamore has been a wonderful experience for us - but this fall he is supposed to attend Shamrock Middle School which is not so great (due to low test scores).

I am willing to move to another part of Atlanta that has a great middle school that feeds into a great high school. I work from home so the location does not matter in terms of a commute to work.

I am looking for a community where there are many other kids. It would be nice if he could walk down the sidewalk to visit a schoolmate/neighbor or vice versa.

I am willing to spend no more than $1100 per month for rent. After reading the 'schools thread', Candler Park sounded great but after looking at rentals in that area on Craigslist...it's beyond my price point. If anyone can suggest an area other than Candler Park where I can find a 2BR/2BA rental for around $1100/month I'd be grateful.
__________________________________________________ __________

I'm sure that I will get blasted for this statement, but I cannot believe that our U.S. President and policy makers are not doing a thing about illegal immigration. These non-English speaking kids are ruining our schools in terms of test scores and lessening the quality of education for American kids because the teachers have to go out of their way to try to double-teach the illegal immigrants because the kids don't understand what is being said as most of them cannot speak or understand English.

When my son and I first moved to Atlanta we lived on just above Buford Highway on North Druid Hills road. That area is zoned for Woodward Elementary school on Curtis Drive which is 90% Hispanic. My son hated it because he was surrounded by kids who spoke Spanish when they communicated with one another which made him think that they were making fun of him or speaking negatively about him. This was also a nightmare for teachers as they were constantly reminding the bi-lingual kids to speak English and there were many students who only spoke Spanish.

I think it's pathetic that Native Americans have to spend top dollar for a place to live just so their kids can get a decent education because of all of the illegals. I know that it is not the children's fault because they have to go to school, but jeez....does anybody think that anything will ever be done about this?
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:41 AM
 
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First, test scores don't tell the whole story... have you visited Shamrock?

That said, Shamrock may get 200 students from other DeKalb schools for the next school year due to NCLB transfers. I hope that this time (this happened a few years ago as well) the system will provide proper supports to the receiving schools in terms of administrative supports. Many of the students didn't want to make the move, their parents made them, and they acted up.

Middle school is a tricky thing -- regardless of a school's test scores, it is often not a great experience. Adolescence is tough and middle school as an educational model isn't proving very successful nationally.

Have you considered Renfroe Middle in the city of Decatur?
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:08 AM
 
46 posts, read 214,457 times
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I have visited Shamrock. I went along on the Sagamore Hills field trip to visit Shamrock. I heard a student using profanity in the hallway and also witnessed a shoving match in the gym.

Aside from the not so great test scores, I was unimpressed. One of the current parents there told me that there was problem with bullies there also.

I just did a search on Craigslist for postings that list Renfroe and 2 came up..both $1400/month +. I will continue to keep an eye out for more affordable rentals in this school's area. Thanks so much for the suggestion. Much appreciated.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
7,732 posts, read 12,470,820 times
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km08 - You might want to just go on a tour of neighborhoods in Decatur City. Get out and drive around, walk around, talk to neighbors. You will stumble onto some deals that are in your price range, trust me. Today should be a perfect day for this, actually!

Good luck, you'll find something.
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Old 04-06-2008, 04:29 PM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,278,647 times
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Unless you homeschool, bullying is a problem at every middle school (even private school). So is profanity.

I am not saying stay in Shamrock. (in fact, I worry about the state of DeKalb schools as a whole and the impact that is having on all the schools.) I am saying you need to be realistic about middle school, it is a tough age and pretty much a failed education model.

(As a note, some experts strongly believe that elementary schools need to be k-8, but realistically the funding doesn't exist to make this happen.)
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Norman, OK
3,479 posts, read 6,485,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by km08 View Post
I have visited Shamrock. I went along on the Sagamore Hills field trip to visit Shamrock. I heard a student using profanity in the hallway and also witnessed a shoving match in the gym.

Aside from the not so great test scores, I was unimpressed. One of the current parents there told me that there was problem with bullies there also.
That sounds like a typical middle school, period.

I'm just saying - you are going to find those problems everywhere and moving to a more affluent or "better" neighborhood won't eliminate those problems. So just keep that in mind when visiting other schools.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:36 PM
 
80 posts, read 322,886 times
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As a parent, my first question would be, how would moving my child away from his friends affect him? Wouldn't he be less affected by bullying/less likely to fall into a bad crowd/more able to concentrate on his own grades if he was able to continue to the next school while sticking with some of his grade-school friends?

Why throw the burden of being the new kid in his lap?

(This is, of course, assuming he has attended the same grade school for at least a few years and has some friends there.)

I applaud you being concerned about his attending the best schools, but there's a lot more to consider here.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:58 PM
 
14,401 posts, read 23,069,314 times
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Default Middle Schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by lastminutemom View Post
Unless you homeschool, bullying is a problem at every middle school (even private school). So is profanity.

I am not saying stay in Shamrock. (in fact, I worry about the state of DeKalb schools as a whole and the impact that is having on all the schools.) I am saying you need to be realistic about middle school, it is a tough age and pretty much a failed education model.

(As a note, some experts strongly believe that elementary schools need to be k-8, but realistically the funding doesn't exist to make this happen.)
Yes, most middle schools have reverted to junior highs (they are middle schools in name only) or were never true middle schools in the first place.

Part of the problem was never having properly trained personnel or bowing to antiquated parental pressure. The final blow to middle schools was NCLB.

If anyone is interested on what middle schools can and should be like, look around the National Middle School Association website: National Middle School Association - Helping You Achieve Successful Schools for Young Adolescents

The experts there are fighting an uphill battle. Middle schools are in crisis. The commentary, research, and insight on the website is interesting and informative.

It is really sad what has happened to many middle schools today.

For what it's worth, I think the K-8 then 9-12 model would be great. The problem is that people have this notion that middle schools should really be young high schools (bigger schools, students roaming around, etc.) when actually they should be like older elementary schools. More of the "high school-like" transitioning would begin in 8th grade and the 9th grade academies in high schools.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:54 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,180,372 times
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Default Middle Schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by aries4118 View Post
For what it's worth, I think the K-8 then 9-12 model would be great.
We came to metro Atlanta from a part of Canada (BC) where the K-7 then 8-12 model has prevailed for a long time. I have been delighted with the system here. When we took our then 3rd grader to elementary school here, you could really feel the difference in not having those huge, hormonal 7th graders and transitional 6th graders on the premises. K-5 elementary seemed wonderfully calm and childhood-focused, without the distractions of puberty and the stress of accommodating the huge developmental range from kindergarten to early teens.

At 6th grade our daughter seemed ready for a change of scene, for a less little-kid oriented structure and for the more sophisticated academic and fine arts opportunities available at middle school. She's nearing the end of 8th grade now and while middle school hasn't been entirely a picnic, I think it's been pretty good for her. I'm regretful that it's seen as a "failed educational model". The age range addressed by middle school is a difficult one, is it not? The kids tend to be cliquey to a fault. But having come from a system that stuffs this age bracket into end-of-elementary and beginning-of-high-school, that doesn't seem like nirvana to me.
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:56 PM
 
14,401 posts, read 23,069,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
We came to metro Atlanta from a part of Canada (BC) where the K-7 then 8-12 model has prevailed for a long time. I have been delighted with the system here. When we took our then 3rd grader to elementary school here, you could really feel the difference in not having those huge, hormonal 7th graders and transitional 6th graders on the premises. K-5 elementary seemed wonderfully calm and childhood-focused, without the distractions of puberty and the stress of accommodating the huge developmental range from kindergarten to early teens.

At 6th grade our daughter seemed ready for a change of scene, for a less little-kid oriented structure and for the more sophisticated academic and fine arts opportunities available at middle school. She's nearing the end of 8th grade now and while middle school hasn't been entirely a picnic, I think it's been pretty good for her. I'm regretful that it's seen as a "failed educational model". The age range addressed by middle school is a difficult one, is it not? The kids tend to be cliquey to a fault. But having come from a system that stuffs this age bracket into end-of-elementary and beginning-of-high-school, that doesn't seem like nirvana to me.
I actually agree with you as well, Rainy. The problem is that the middle school model has never really been properly implemented in most places. I know from other posts that you live in the Mabry Middle School district, I attended McCleskey Middle and Simpson Middle in the late 80's and early 90's (my older brother and sister attended Mabry). Anyway, Mabry and other Cobb middles are some of the better examples.

A little middle school history...

Cobb County was known for its cutting-edge middle schools from the 1970's through the early 2000's. The American middle school movement started around 1970; the problem was that the junior high model was not meeting the students' needs (they were just younger high schools). Many areas did not have junior highs at all (K-7, 8-12, etc.). Cobb County was fortunate in that its high period of growth began right when the new middle school model was coming to be. So, Cobb County had the opportunity to acutually build schools that fit the middle school model (separate pods for teams, three separate commons areas, separate grade levels, etc...this model has since been removed at Mabry due to expansion). If you visit McCleskey, Simpson, and Hightower you will see the format (especially at McCleskey and Simpson). Mabry, Dodgen, and Dickerson's expansions removed this model.

The problem now is that Cobb County no longer follows the middle school model it used for three decades. There are some residual effects that are still apparent, which improves things, but the middle schools are still nothing like they were.

The bigger problem lies with older districts that already had a network of junior high schools or K-7/8 elementary schools (City of Atlanta, DeKalb, City of Decatur, etc). These districts either arrived late to the game (DeKalb) or just changed the name on the door from junior high to middle school without any shift in policy, programs, or ways of doing things (Atlanta, Decatur, DeKalb).

If middle schools were fully run and implemented as research and experts suggest, the middle schools would not be in crisis or a "failed model." Most people have no idea what a good middle school really looks/feels like.

I always remember when I was in graduate school (1999), and we were discussing the ideal middle school (as if they didn't really exist). My classmates were "oohhin' and aahhin'" while I was sitting there confused. I was confused because the articles, books, etc. that we were using exactly described my middle school experience. I spoke up to describe my experience and how I attended this ideal middle school ten years before. My professor commented "Yes, Cobb County has always been known for its cutting edge middle schools." We ended up taking a field trip to visit Simpson Middle (my classmates had never seen/experienced a middle school like it).

Like I mentioned in another post, middle schools have changed due to antiquated parental pressure (wanting middle schools/junior highs how they remember it) and finally NCLB. Another thing...most of the middle schools are way too big. In most parts of Metro Atlanta (and most parts of the U.S.) one middle is paired with one high school! A middle school should not have more than 1000 students.

I was disappointed a few months ago when I started working in Cobb County middle schools again and I saw how much they have changed. Middle school is a difficult age which is why the model and set-up of the school is critical.

I can outline qualities of a great middle school later. Right now, I need to stop typing.

Note: A great middle school does not require that the school be built in the perfect middle school model. What's important is that a school has team-teaching set up and other things (more info later if desired).
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