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Old 01-29-2009, 12:56 PM
2 posts, read 6,078 times
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We are new to Austin (been here since August) and we just got a realtor to show us around town and the different locations/property. Our main concern is High School for our son who will be entering 9th grade next year. I know Westlake is a great school but we are hearing its very competitive, lots more drug activity than other local schools, and lots of conformity. I just believe every child is different and my son is not the competetive type. He is a guitar playing, basketball playing, laid back, good kid. I just want to make the right choice and whats best for him. What are some other High Schools in the area that are recomendable?
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:03 PM
Location: SW Austin & Wimberley
6,333 posts, read 18,073,223 times
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I know Westlake is a great school but we are hearing its very competitive, lots more drug activity than other local schools, and lots of conformity.
My daughter attends Westlake. These stereotypes are false. She has a very diverse set of friends, great teachers, and loves the school. Prior to Westlake, we had her in a very liberal private school for 8 years, and the transition to WL was no problem.

That said, if you want a public high school less focused on academics, check out McCallum High school. Otherwise, all of the "good" highs schools (Westwood, Lake Travis, Round Rock, Bowie, Leander) are pretty much comparable to Westlake in the offerings.

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Old 01-29-2009, 01:18 PM
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You're smart to look for a school that's a good fit for your son. You want him to actually get to PLAY basketball--and if the school is too big, too competitive, or too political (booster club politics), that may not happen. Look for a good basketball program and talk to the coach. Rouse High School in Leander just opened its doors and have hired a great basketball coach. Your son could possibly play varsity as a freshman in a start-up program.

Also think about what your son wants to do after graduation. There are a lot of good high schools in the area: Westwood, McNeil, Vista Ridge, Cedar Park, Anderson, Bowie, to name a few...and they each have unique programs that'll give students a head start on their career. For example, Cedar Park has a culinary arts program, and a computer science program that'll get kids certified. Vista Ridge and McNeil have engineering programs. Westwood and Leander have International Baccalaureate for motivated kids that want a jump on college (all the Leander IB students are talking about their UT acceptance and whether or not they want to go there.)

So I'd spend time on some school websites...see what they offer, check out the ratings (but don't lean too heavily on this), visit some schools, and talk to some coaches. Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:28 PM
Location: Dripping Springs , TX
786 posts, read 2,764,527 times
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If you're looking outside of Austin proper, take a look at Dripping Springs High School.

We moved here in August and my daughter is the one who picked our location based on the high school. We gave her a list of areas that would be acceptable for commuting and had houses in our price range.

She did a lot of research on the web and wanted a high school that would meet her academic requirements while providing the extra-curricular activities as well. Another factor was the size of the school. She was coming from a private JK-12 school in Ontario with under 500 students. She did not want to get lost in a large school like Bowie.

She looked into Dripping, Lake Travis, Westlake, Bowie and Austin High. She compared the school web sites and what programs they talked about, both the academic and sports/activities. This was supplemented by the standard school site research, other searches, and typical for a teenage girl, a review of how many in the various schools were on Facebook.

What sealed the deal was when we came down for a visit. Dripping set her up with a senior class PAL and she spent the day accompanying that person to her classes. This allowed her to meet students, teachers and other staff and to get a feel for the school, its people and the curriculum. She felt very comfortable with the experience and made her decision based on that.

We have not regretted in one bit. The school is challenging and she has fit right in with the friends she has made. We are actually surprised she adjusted so quickly.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:40 PM
Location: central Austin
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I would second the idea to look at McCallum. Anderson and Austin are very good as well.
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:01 PM
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I would investigate the International Bacalaureate program at Anderson (and Westwood, I believe). I think it's very rigorous. My 'beef' with Westlake is its over focus on sports (specifically football) and homogenous population. I believe in diversity.
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