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Old 03-04-2013, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,825 posts, read 4,087,395 times
Reputation: 1828

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Not new to Dallas, but I am new to parenting. We're beginning the search for the top schools in the area and I wanted to put this out here as it seems like there is really some great advice going around on these boards.

Background:
We only currently have an 11 month old, so I know there is plenty of time to look into schools but I am a big planner and would like to get as much information as possible. I went to Highland Park and would love for my son to receive the same quality of education and opportunities I had growing up but there are two withholding factors. First and for most is the "life style". There is a sense of entitlement inside the community that took me awhile to get rid of after leaving the bubble. Don't get me wrong, there are hoards of wonderful people in the area and it is a great area for safety and localized community but I would like to keep my son from having the same culture shock I received when going off into the real world. Second is price. I'm 26 and my wife is 23, frankly we could afford to live in the area but would be extremely house poor on our current salaries. This is what has lead me to look into private schools. I am not interested in living in Plano, Southlake, Frisco, etc and love the area we are currently in. I've looked a little into ESD, Lamplighter and Providence. I know some of the top private high schools in the area are St. Marks, TCA, PCA, ESD, Jesuit and the easiest way to transition into those schools is with enrollment at a Private "feeder" school. We are not extremely religious but do have morals and values. What I'm trying to ask is, what do you all would think would be the best option for a elementary private school that is not EXTREMELY religious in the Dallas area? Thanks.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:30 PM
 
12,911 posts, read 25,776,179 times
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How many kids are you going to have? I ask because if only 1, it's cheaper to live somewhere else (Devonshire, M Streets, Midway Hollow, etc) and pay the private school bill. If you're going to have 2 kids, it's breakeven or cheaper to live in the Park Cities. A $40-60k tuition + fees / uniforms / activities for 2 kids + a $2,500PITI on a $300k house runs about the same as the carrying costs on a $1.2M HPISD home.

You really don't want to live there? No problem. Just want to call attention to "the math" for great public schools vs privates.

The best private school is the one in which your kid will thrive. It could be the more open/ creative learning style at Lamplighter, a classic Catholic education at Christ the King/ St Rita/ St Monica, or St Alcuin for Montessori, or a traditional prep school like ESD or Hockaday / St Mark's / Good Shepherd. Or Shelton if you come across LD's in your kid. It could even be a slightly less rigorous school where your kid will be closer to the "top of the heap" like Trinity Christian Academy or First Baptist.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,825 posts, read 4,087,395 times
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Thanks, we're only planning on one.....but you know what happens when you plan that! We're currently in Greenway Park just outside of the HPISD area(obviously helping tremendously on affordability as well. I also don't want to struggle in HP/UP and be the poor family as I know that stigma lives in the community and my son doesn't need to be subjected to that as well.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:28 PM
 
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Don't forget to look at Parish Episcopal School-really great things going on over there.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:58 PM
 
1,212 posts, read 2,116,485 times
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I have posted plenty on this topic, and I have lots of opinions. But, one step that you can immediately take it to put your son on various waiting lists NOW. You will find that some schools test for open spots (lamplighter), some schools kinda test (St. Alcuin), and some schools rely on waiting lists (Meadowbrook). If your son is 11 months old, it is certainly time to put him on the Meadowbrook waiting list (and other schools).

Also, most of the feeder schools, at least until K, are not overly religious. Plenty of kids start at HP Presby, Up Methodist, Temple Emanual, etc. We have plenty of non-jewish friends who sent their kids to temple emanual just because they liked the school.

I would venture to say that the four "hottest schools" for admissions to St. Marks are St. Alcuin, Lamplighter, Meadowbrook, and DaVanci. The numbers fluctuate based on the quality of students, but year in and year out, these four schools do very well. That being said, if your kid is super bright, you can place him in DISD and he will get into St. Marks (the odds are just a little longer).
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:59 PM
 
2,206 posts, read 4,429,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bencronin04 View Post
and would love for my son to receive the same quality of education and opportunities I had growing up but there are two withholding factors. First and for most is the "life style". There is a sense of entitlement inside the community that took me awhile to get rid of after leaving the bubble. ... Second is price. I'm 26 and my wife is 23, frankly we could afford to live in the area but would be extremely house poor on our current salaries.
You think privates do not have their own bubbles? They do. And this has turned me off.

And privates are not expensive? 30K plus a year per kid.

The differential between a 1 million dollar home and a 500K home in terms of taxes, writeoffs, repairs, and interest is about the same at this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HockDad View Post
I have posted plenty on this topic, and I have lots of opinions. But, one step that you can immediately take it to put your son on various waiting lists NOW.
.
So the bubble begins to grow.

One of the ways you can unshelter your kid is to get them on sports teams where there are kids from other walks of life. Another way is to attend a church in a non-wealthy part of town. A boy scout troop, etc. Of course, you open yourself up to the drama and chaos that can be a part of others less self-controlled lives as well.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:04 PM
 
729 posts, read 1,011,381 times
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Good advice on here. Put your name on waitlists where applicable at top schools you might be interested in and keep an open mind based on your/your wife's and your child's personality and learning style. I'm a recently returned transplant to Dallas so can't really speak to the specific schools but the advice you received here is good. Test scores and college acceptances are important markers of success for a school but your child may thrive best at a school that some people think is "2nd tier" and it's important to be open to that possibility IMHO. Even though your son isn't ready for school yet, go to some open houses in the fall and get a sense of which school(s) feels right to you.

In addition, for all the elite schools talk of diversity and high rates of financial aid, my own experience with elite schools outside the Dallas area is that many students at elite schools still grow up with a sense of entitlement. Maybe Dallas elites are wholly different, but I suspect there is some similarity. The sense of entitlement/bubble effect may not be as extreme as HP or may be different from HP in some ways...and hopefully different in some ways that are important to you. Regardless of where they go to school, just the fact that you are aware of the sense of entitlement that can come about and your desire to deter it will make a huge difference in helping your son stay grounded. Good luck!
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:31 PM
 
12,911 posts, read 25,776,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bencronin04 View Post
Thanks, we're only planning on one.....but you know what happens when you plan that! We're currently in Greenway Park just outside of the HPISD area(obviously helping tremendously on affordability as well. I also don't want to struggle in HP/UP and be the poor family as I know that stigma lives in the community and my son doesn't need to be subjected to that as well.
He's young and so are you. You can always start planning for private schools and switch to HP if/ when it becomes more affordable. My income increased almost $150k/year between age 26 and early 30's. I don't say that to brag, just to say that unless you & your wife are in very fixed income jobs like teaching or government, you are nowhere near your peak earning years. And you're still 3-4 years away from Pre-K / K. Good to be a planner and think ahead, but it's also hard to foresee what your financial situation will be in 2016-17.

IMO, you're going to see as much of the "rich bratty" entitled kid/ parent thing in the elite private schools as you will in HPISD. Then, there are the same contingent of working parents who are sacrificing "extras" or a bigger house to pay the private school bills (same as the HP parents who are renting or living in a 1400 SF house on Lovers vs a 6000SF home in Frisco). Being exposed to a small percent of scholarship kids & affluent/ super smart minorities isn't going to widen your kid's world view by that much over an HPISD experience.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: garland
1,592 posts, read 2,140,101 times
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If you have a second child, you may just consider hiring your own independent educator for a year round curriculum. A good friend of mine is a teacher fed up with the system here and moving to Vancouver to be a teacher for a family. In Texas, your home would be considered it's own private school and the student:teacher ratio is unbeatable.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:43 PM
 
80 posts, read 125,803 times
Reputation: 54
Both HPISD & Privates have their own bubbles. You pick whichever you pick but don't be naive.
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