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Old 01-13-2010, 07:03 AM
 
214 posts, read 511,506 times
Reputation: 54

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rackensack View Post
We moved from Gwinnett to North Fulton for a variety of reasons, but the size of the schools in of most of the better Gwinnett school clusters was a major reason we didn't want to stay in Gwinnett. Our kids' elementary had over 1200 students. We were looking at middle schools with 3000 kids, high schools with close to 5000. Any place that large, particularly at the high school level where teachers and administrators aren't holding anyone's hand, some kids are going to get overlooked, ignored, lost in the shuffle, whatever. And one of the biggest factors in determining whether people get involved in anti-social, destructive behavior is the degree to which they have strong ties to others -- whether the people around them know them, know their families, know what they're like and what they've done in the past. It's a lot easier to lapse into bad habits when no one notices that you're doing it.

Also, as has been mentioned earlier, things like athletics and other activities don't scale particularly well -- no matter how big the school is, there's only so many spots available on most athletic teams, and for clubs and other activities it can be difficult to get the opportunity to participate fully.
Given the established importance of activities in helping kids form connections with solid peer groups, anything that makes that difficult or impossible has to be seen as a negative.

One news story I recall from several years ago, about Collins Hill High IIRC, mentioned that they had over 80 girls trying out for 12 spots on their volleyball team, all of whom had been active players in middle school in previous years. You practically have to be a college scholarship prospect just to make the team at some places in Gwinnett. My kids aren't that athletic, but the same is true for many other types of activities as well -- I want them to have the opportunity to do things that interest them, and not be shut out just because there are too many other kids around.
Great post . Recently we were looking at Gwinnett. . .but the school sizes did not seem "right" (for our LO). And after researching the subject further, our concerns were further validated by similar points.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:13 AM
 
11 posts, read 18,103 times
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This is pretty much what I was thinking, also, especially at the high school level. Seems as if you'd have to be a super star to even be recognized in a school of 4000 students.
Academically, I'm glad that they appear to break it out into smaller schools within schools - even with multiple assistant principals, but they aren't going to have separate volleyball teams for each of those mini-schools, are they?
I think our son could handle it - he loves to be a center of attention. But that's not a scenario that would work for all three of my kids.
I think we may have to look at Forsyth or maybe Fulton. I hear Fulton is more expensive, but I'm not clear on how much more that really is.

Love all the feedback in this forum!
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:02 PM
 
14,385 posts, read 23,061,016 times
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Now everyone...I just want to say--let's not take this as an opportunity to put down Gwinnett County Schools. Remember, there are plenty of Gwinnett schools and clusters that have lower, more manageable school populations. In particular, the schools in the terrific, high-flying Parkview and Shiloh clusters. Great schools and great places to live.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Roswell, GA
697 posts, read 2,704,305 times
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Originally Posted by aries4118 View Post


Now everyone...I just want to say--let's not take this as an opportunity to put down Gwinnett County Schools. Remember, there are plenty of Gwinnett schools and clusters that have lower, more manageable school populations. In particular, the schools in the terrific, high-flying Parkview and Shiloh clusters. Great schools and great places to live.
Really wasn't trying to run down Gwinnett County schools, but to provide a perspective on why, in the abstract, extremely large schools might be disadvantageous; used examples from Gwinnett since that's what the OP asked about, and because it's what I was familiar with.

It's absolutely the case that there are outstanding schools in Gwinnett that have smaller student populations, like the ones you mention. This is an excellent reason why it's dangerous to lump all the schools in any district together and say that "<Gwinnett | Fulton | DeKalb | Cobb> county has <outstanding | mediocre | terrible> schools." Parents of students at Meadowcreek are likely to have a very different tale to tell than those at Parkview.

But to address a point that is probably more germane to those considering moving to Gwinnett, the smaller schools are primarily in areas that are older and have been pretty fully developed for quite a while, whereas the hugest schools are in the areas that have been the fastest growing over the last decade and a half. Gwinnett has encouraged growth and development at any cost, and one of those costs has been the inability of the school system to keep up with the demands placed on it by booming population growth in any way other than by building mammoth schools. The state's five-year limit on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SLPOSTs) that are the primary vehicle for funding school construction makes it impossible for school systems to commit to anything farther out than five years (the funding may, in theory, go away if the tax is not renewed by the voters), which in turn means that the school system is constantly trying to play catch-up. When you have significant overcrowding at certain schools already, and population increases that keep outstripping projections, the only feasible option is to build huge schools to relieve as much of that as possible each time around -- it's vastly more cost-effective to build one huge school than to build three smaller ones.

The fast-growing areas served by these huge schools are fast-growing for a reason -- the homes are newer, larger, and often less expensive than comparable homes in the older, more established districts with smaller schools. A newcomer to the area is far more likely to decide to locate in one of those areas than in, say, the Parkview district, unless being closer to downtown or the size of the school population are significant considerations. Anyone considering such a move should make that decision with full awareness of both the positives and negatives.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:09 AM
 
14,385 posts, read 23,061,016 times
Reputation: 5118
Quote:
Originally Posted by rackensack View Post
Really wasn't trying to run down Gwinnett County schools, but to provide a perspective on why, in the abstract, extremely large schools might be disadvantageous; used examples from Gwinnett since that's what the OP asked about, and because it's what I was familiar with.

It's absolutely the case that there are outstanding schools in Gwinnett that have smaller student populations, like the ones you mention. This is an excellent reason why it's dangerous to lump all the schools in any district together and say that "<Gwinnett | Fulton | DeKalb | Cobb> county has <outstanding | mediocre | terrible> schools." Parents of students at Meadowcreek are likely to have a very different tale to tell than those at Parkview.

But to address a point that is probably more germane to those considering moving to Gwinnett, the smaller schools are primarily in areas that are older and have been pretty fully developed for quite a while, whereas the hugest schools are in the areas that have been the fastest growing over the last decade and a half. Gwinnett has encouraged growth and development at any cost, and one of those costs has been the inability of the school system to keep up with the demands placed on it by booming population growth in any way other than by building mammoth schools. The state's five-year limit on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SLPOSTs) that are the primary vehicle for funding school construction makes it impossible for school systems to commit to anything farther out than five years (the funding may, in theory, go away if the tax is not renewed by the voters), which in turn means that the school system is constantly trying to play catch-up. When you have significant overcrowding at certain schools already, and population increases that keep outstripping projections, the only feasible option is to build huge schools to relieve as much of that as possible each time around -- it's vastly more cost-effective to build one huge school than to build three smaller ones.

The fast-growing areas served by these huge schools are fast-growing for a reason -- the homes are newer, larger, and often less expensive than comparable homes in the older, more established districts with smaller schools. A newcomer to the area is far more likely to decide to locate in one of those areas than in, say, the Parkview district, unless being closer to downtown or the size of the school population are significant considerations. Anyone considering such a move should make that decision with full awareness of both the positives and negatives.

I know you weren't trying to run down Gwinnett schools...you're not like that and wouldn't do that. My post wasn't directed at anyone in particular.

I was just trying to make a point so that newcomers would understand and wouldn't be misled. You articulated my intentions perfectly in the highlighted above.
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