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Old 04-25-2010, 02:06 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,838 times
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So we are planning a move to Austin. Our business will be located in East Central. We have found a couple of houses on the East Central side that are fine for us but there is no Elementary close that is suitable. Our two kids are girls going into 1st grade and 8th grade in 2010/2011.

For our 8th grader we like the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and it is not too far from East Central Austin. But I can not find any Elementary school. Transferring enrollment to the west side is not realistic and we don't want either girl to go to a completely white bread upper crust school situation. Diversity is a good thing.

Any suggestions? We don't want to pay for private. Homeschooling our elementary child is possible (have done this for our older daughter) and on that note does anyone know the homeschool community and would we fit in? We are eccentric, tattooed, atheist, artist entrepreneurs, both 35 yrs old.

To sum up, I want to hear from people who know anything about Ann Richards School. I want to hear from homeschoolers also. I would love elementary school suggestions also. Are we better off finding a place in clarkesville or hyde park or even south central? What are the elementary schools like in those areas? They can't be worse than east elems.

Thanks for taking time to respond, this is my first post here and it seems like a pretty friendly forum for information. txartist
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Old 04-25-2010, 02:57 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,234 posts, read 13,812,102 times
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I believe that admission to Ann Richards is by lottery from approved applications. Check the AISD web site for details.

Austin Independent School District : Schools

How do you define a "good school"? All eastside schools will have majority hispanic students with high numbers of poor kids. This impacts test scores. Allan and Allison both do a good job. Maplewood Elementary is east central.

Hyde Park would put you in Lee Elementary which is exceptional. Clarkville would be Matthews Elementary -- very diverse, very good. Pease Elementary downtown might be a good choice too.

There are plenty of secular, eccentric homeschoolers and unschoolers in Austin.

The bigger question seems to be: what are you going to do about high school?
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Thank you centralaustinite,

I have the application materials for ARS and we'll have to see if my 8th grader gets in or not. I know she should be approved, but by lottery doesn't garuntee anything. If she starts 8th grade at ARS, they will have added 10th -12th by the time she graduates to HS. The first scheduled graduating senior class is 2013. If she doesn't get in for 8th, a plan B will be necessary (maybe homeschool). She is writing the essay now and her teacher recommendations are stellar. I imagine it will be hard to get her in, especially consider the official deadline was February.

For us a good school would have a higher success rate than Allen for example. Both of our girls are smart and a challenging environment, rather than a distracting environment is important. By distracting I mean that we don't want them in a school that deals with a lot of behavior issues or where the socio-economic impact is so great that they would be the ones to slip through cracks when the teachers are so focussed on bringing the rest of the class up to basic standards (eg the TAKS standardized tests and the fact that they have to teach that all year in hopes of improving the overall passing percentages)

You say Allen does a good job? Our kids have gone to predominately black/hispanic public schools before that would surprise most people in terms of wonderful teachers and excellent administration, they did extremely well there HOWEVER - our oldest was harassed a bit as the 'white girl' and those are situations that although we don't want to shelter our kids from, we don't want it to take away from a positive experience either. I wonder if my austin friends have not scared me away from east schools, and maybe I need to reconsider.

I like Hyde Park and Clarkville but ideally want to live close to work, ideally want the kids close to where we live/work as well.

Nice to know there is plenty of secular home school groups.

High School? I have no idea, haven't gotten that far. If allen is good on the east side, does that mean eastside memorial green tech is good too??

Appreciate your insights very much ,thank you, txartist
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:23 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,234 posts, read 13,812,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txartist View Post
For us a good school would have a higher success rate than Allen for example. Both of our girls are smart and a challenging environment, rather than a distracting environment is important. By distracting I mean that we don't want them in a school that deals with a lot of behavior issues or where the socio-economic impact is so great that they would be the ones to slip through cracks when the teachers are so focussed on bringing the rest of the class up to basic standards (eg the TAKS standardized tests and the fact that they have to teach that all year in hopes of improving the overall passing percentages)

You say Allen does a good job? Our kids have gone to predominately black/hispanic public schools before that would surprise most people in terms of wonderful teachers and excellent administration, they did extremely well there HOWEVER - our oldest was harassed a bit as the 'white girl' and those are situations that although we don't want to shelter our kids from, we don't want it to take away from a positive experience either. I wonder if my austin friends have not scared me away from east schools, and maybe I need to reconsider.


High School? I have no idea, haven't gotten that far. If allen is good on the east side, does that mean eastside memorial green tech is good too??

Appreciate your insights very much ,thank you, txartist
I did not know that Ann Richards was expanding to high school! That surprises me. I do think that it will be hard to get in -- but not impossible, I'll keep my fingers crossed for your daughter.

You hit the nail on the head! Some schools that are succeeding with high risk kids (defined multiple ways) often do it in ways that distract or hinder the education of kids from different backgrounds. Allison and Allan are both fairly good but they work with a pretty uniform student body (minority and poor).

Maybe take a closer look at Maplewood. Diverse in that the student body comes from a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds which includes fairly well-to-do folks too. Lots of artists in the Cherrywood/French Place area too. And it tracks to McCallum for high school, home of the Fine Arts Academy. I worked at a summer program that included three kids from Maplewood: one white, working class, and gifted; one bi-racial and (hispanic and AA); and one bi-racial (white AA) also gifted and solidly middle class. It is not a perfect school, I have friends in the area who chose private school over Maplewood but there is a lot of parental and community involvement. It would definitely be worth a look. Look at Pease too. Right downtown, very diverse by ethnicity but also economically, smaller than most elementary schools, the teachers are focused on the kids. Both Pease and Maplewood go through 6th grade.

Eastside is a brand new high school. So they don't have track record. The TEA ordered the previous HS at that location closed.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:48 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,838 times
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Thanks! I will look into into all of those! Maplewood actually sounds like a good fit, we are very involved with our kids and their schools and that alone can really change what experience they have. Yes, Ann Richards will be 6th through 10th in 2010/2011.

I guess our biggest dilemma will be committing to a house knowing that we may want to request a transfer to another school - I just don't want to gamble on the chance that it would be approved. I really want to live east near our business and - although many dont agree - I like the east side! At least it's not been gentrified to death and been given some cheesy name now like SoCo. At some point the flavor just gets too watered down if you ask me!

Interesting to know that Eastside Memorial replaces a school that was forced to close. I don't even know what to think of that.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:11 PM
 
347 posts, read 1,023,938 times
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Research Maplewood extensively if you are leaning that way. Because of Mueller overcrowding, I have heard 6th grade and maybe 5th grade will be cut and transferred to another school.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:45 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,838 times
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Maplewood is too far north. I am liking Pease though, and I just learned it is the ONLY all transfer school in AISD. It's close enough to east 7th/Bolm area that our business will be located.

I would still love to hear from some home schoolers, just in case things dont pan out with Ann Richards or Pease for that matter.

We have home schooled before and would consider it again if we were in 'waiting' for admission to our first choice schools.

Thanks so much to everyone posting, it makes me even more excited about the move! Random kindness rocks.

If anyone has any more suggestions or insights, would love to hear more.
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:22 AM
AGA
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
729 posts, read 2,486,891 times
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In addition to Ann Richards, there is Kealing Middle School on the east side (12th and Jefferson area). They have a magnet (Math and Science) program there and the magnet kids are accepted by application process similar to Ann Richards and Fullmore. My son was accepted there and attended until Spring Break then transferred to our neighborhood school (No fault of Kealing, just missed his friends and overall it was not a good fit for his personality).I have nothing but great things to say about the program. The magnet kids have most of their core classes with other magnet students and then the electives are taken with the CAP kids (Comprehensive Academic Program).
I suggest you contact them regarding admission at this time of the year. Ms Ramburg is the Magnet Director. The bonus for us was that even though we lived in the S/W Austin area, bus service was provided for the magnet kids...that may not be an issue for you given your planned area to live in, but it helped us a great deal.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:23 AM
 
43 posts, read 90,429 times
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I liked Pease and Kealing. My daughter attended both. She now attend McCallum which she loves. The teachers at both of these schools have been here for a long time and there is not a lot of turnover. I also have friends that homeschool their child and they have joined associations to be with other parents and students. They enjoy it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Austin Texas
434 posts, read 1,194,999 times
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My little sister went to Pease, great school. She's now in college but what a great elementary that was.
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