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Old 05-26-2009, 12:37 AM
 
15 posts, read 41,059 times
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Greetings!

We are looking at a house in Southlake and are currently doing research. We’d like to know your opinions and appreciate your comments on Carroll ISD schools.

Our son is currently in 2nd grade. He is at the top of his current school (also an exemplary North Tarrant school) and is a very fast learner. We’d like to send him to a public school that best fits his talent. We’ve pretty much made up our mind in Carroll ISD due to many factors. So other ISDs aren’t an option for us at this point.

The house we’re currently interested in is north of Southlake Blvd and feeds into the following schools: Durham Elementary, Durham Intermediate, Carroll Middle, and Carroll High. However, we’ve heard that schools south of Southlake Blvd are generally better. I did some research and find that basically, Rockenbaugh Elementary is the best in terms of TAKS passing rate and commented performance. Durham Elementary on average has 5 percentage points less in commented performance area. It’s even more so among the intermediate and middle schools with Eubank and Dawson noticeably better than Durham intermediate and Carroll middle in these two areas. So my questions are as follows.

1.With the understanding that all of the Carroll ISD schools are rated “exemplary”, is there really that much of difference in these schools in terms of learning environment and potential academic achievement for top students (i.e., schools north of Southlake blvd v.s. schools south of Southlake blvd) as shown in these statistics?

2. I don’t worry about my kid passing the exams and getting commended scores. But should I be concerned with him not being able to maximize his academic potential if he attends those less ranked schools (because these schools may have to slow down to accommodate the slow kids)?

3.Do you observe that houses are priced differently in Southlake just because of different school zones assuming everything else is the same (I know sometimes it’s hard to judge, but please give your opinions anyways)?

Thanks for your patience in reading through all of these. We appreciate your inputs.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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some of this will probably go against perceptions many people have but this is my POV/assessment

1--yes--ALL schools are different because of the people who staff them and the students who attend them and all other variables that go into the mix---just like every child in a family is unique even if they have the same DNA genetic makeup...

and the learning environment can change from year to year based on those demographics...
frankly a school that might have Recognized vs Exemplary rating could have a BETTER learning environment to nurture creative/intelligent students simply because it is not as tied into its test scores and willing to sacrifice rating strength and divert from TAKS testing for other academic strategies better suited to creative learning

2--in any class there are ALWAYS some students who learn more slowly--even in G/T classes--it is the nature of the learning CURVE--your child could plateau, lose interest, start to meet resistance in his learing capabilities--many students do as they get older for a variety of reasons--and parental pressure/expectations can be a factor in that just as teacher affinity or new environment/family dynamics (like having a new baby or losing a grandparent) can be a factor--

just as some students reach their max growth earlier than others--some students max their learning curve sooner...and most of the time from what I understand it happens around 2-3 grade--that is why MANY ISDs wait to place students in gifted programs until after they are past 2nd grade...

3--pricing by school zone--I don't know that is something that normally happens when realtors/owners price their homes for MLS -- they price based on comps for the specific neighborhood--I know that some people WANT to be in certain school zones so they shop those areas first and I guess it just depends on what is available and to their liking and their time line--if people are willing to pay more to live in those areas then the comps would be stronger than in other areas--if all other factors were equal--but frankly ALL other factors are probably NEVER equal when people are shopping/comparing homes on the market

when do you see two houses built by the same builder with exactly the same floor plan/age/colors that have exactly the same lot size and orientation and landscaping in two different subdivisions that feed into two different schools

there are definitely neighborhoods in Southlake built by same builders that use same floorplan probably since Highland, Drees, Toll Brothers as well as specific custom builders built there over several decades---but there is always something different about each house/lot/street--so that there are technically no two houses exactly alike and it is often the subtle differences that made more impact than issues like sq ft or number of bedrooms...

you have a long way to go before your son is in high school but the number of National Merit scholars a school/ISD turn out each year is really the BEST way to see where quality education is happening since that is a standardized test that is applicable for all areas of the country--people can decry standardized testing all they want but it is usually the ones who DON'T test well who complain of course and there are valid reasons why those complaints have value--not denying that--
BUT as a measure of academic excellence--National Merit scores function better than TAKS scores and usually are a very strong indication of college success...

Carroll ISD does not have (for its student body demographics and touted repuration for quality) proportionately very many National Merit scholars---in 08 it had 10 semifinalists

although it has such a high income/education level in the community and so many other positive recommendations/factors --like the Exemplary rating for TAKS---but it just doesn't -- Lewisville, Plano, Paschal HS in FTW, and some private schools like Trinity Valley and Nolan Catholic school (10 for 09) tie/beat it regularly...in my opinion, to be one of the top 2-3 public high schools in TX, Carroll just has a pretty average record for National Merit scholars...

this is info from a post in 08 on the Dallas board about National Merit results
2008 Dallas Area National Merit Semifinalists, ranked by school

and this is post of comparisons by class size/number of NM winners

Using rough estimates of senior class size from City-Data.com data and private school Websites, here are the percentages for those schools with 10 or more Semifinalists. (I left off the others due to a combination of tired head and the fact that once you get down to numbers that small, the figures can be skewed by the presence (or not) of a couple of great students from one grade to the next.

(Figures show percentages of Nat'l Merit Semifinalists and class size estimate used in computation.)

(4.6%, 1300) 60 Plano (Plano ISD)
(4.8%, 950) 46 Plano West (Plano ISD)
(21.1%, 190) 40 Texas Academy of Math & Science (selective public residential school at Univ Of North Texas)
(33.3%, 90) 30 St. Marks (private)
(1.6%, 1300) 21 Plano East (Plano ISD)

(11.7%, 120) 14 Hockaday (private)
(1.9%, 750) 14 Coppell (Coppell ISD)
(29.5%, 44) 13 Cisterician Prep (private)
(1.9%, 700) 13 Flower Mound (Lewisville ISD)

(?????) 11 Homeschoolers
(1.0%, 1100) 11 Allen High (Allen ISD)
(2.0%, 500) 10 Highland Park (Highland Park ISD)
(1.7%, 600) 10 Carroll (Carroll ISD)


I was quite surprised at the low numbers for Greenhill (4.7%, 107) - basically the same as Plano and Plano West. Save your money - or send them to Cistercian or St. Mark's. Doesn't help if you have a daughter, though.


Carroll should be very concerned about the paucity of NM scholars that it produces--and that to me says that academic excellence is not that important for the district--
Newman-Smith which is in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD ==neither of which is considered anywhere near the academic quality of Carroll HS/ISD--had SIX vs Carroll's ten...and Flower Mound HS had 13...
statistically I don't know if a school is helped or hurt by having a larger number of juniors/seniors--you should really look at the total number of students who take the test which does not always match the total of students in those classes...

most of these kids at Carroll HS are not driven to succeed academically--they know their parents can afford to pay for their tuition and they can be accepted at almost any school they want to apply for--so I think the reputation is a lot more the appearance of academic quality than the actuality of it...

I know someone who teaches there in the English dept and although she has AP students she is not impressed with their attitude or abilities as being any more heightened than the students she taught at her prior school--Bell in HEB ISD...

based on the evidence that is out there--if you want to put your child into an academic environment that is statistically more favorable you would be looking into the schools that feed into Paschal HS in FTW--even if that seems more of a problematic choice because of demographics/home values/perceptions...or maybe Lewisville ISD

since your husband is working in FTW, Plano ISD is not a viable choice...
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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I would check out Lewisville schools, consentrating on Highland Village and Flower Mound as well as some of the smaller areas. That being said, no matter what the national merit studies show, of course Southlake is a great school district, and yes, part of this has to do with the income and educational level of the residence.

Nita
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:22 AM
 
32,550 posts, read 51,093,178 times
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my point was not that Southlake Carroll was a BAD district--just that it is seen as a GREAT ISD and the nirvana of education in this area--I just don't buy into that idea to the exclusion of other competent, also great ISDs...and often cheaper homes
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,813 posts, read 91,511,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
my point was not that Southlake Carroll was a BAD district--just that it is seen as a GREAT ISD and the nirvana of education in this area--I just don't buy into that idea to the exclusion of other competent, also great ISDs...and often cheaper homes
I agree with you about that. This is why I suggested the OP, at least look in the Flower Mound area as well as Highland Village and even maybe Grapevine, though I didn't mention Grapevine orignianlly.

Nita
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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Thanks all for the replies.
Due to various reasons, we need to buy in southlake. So schools outside Carroll ISD aren't feasible for us at this point.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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It's the only ISD in Tarrant Co whose schools are all rated "exemplary" by the TEA.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,813 posts, read 91,511,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolsmr View Post
Thanks all for the replies.
Due to various reasons, we need to buy in southlake. So schools outside Carroll ISD aren't feasible for us at this point.
then love it and your kids will also. The secret is for us to pass positive vibes to our little ones.

Nita
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:01 PM
 
473 posts, read 1,070,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolsmr View Post
Thanks all for the replies.
Due to various reasons, we need to buy in southlake. So schools outside Carroll ISD aren't feasible for us at this point.
Then getting the school you want is not in your control. Its quite possible you'll like the school you get if your expectation is low and you can always find options (personal coaching...etc) for shortcomings if any. I have'nt seen so many houses on sale in Southlake ($500K or more) than previous years or compared to other cities, so you might make a fortune when the upscale housing market recovers.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:08 AM
 
32,550 posts, read 51,093,178 times
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homes in Southlake are languishing but think people are resistant to lowering prices to fit market expectations...
lots of speculation that more foreclosures in non-sub-prime mortgages and in higher priced more luxury homes are going to come in the next 6-12 mo---
our area has been more stable than many others for job loss--so it might continue not to be as bad here as CA or FL or back east but the market is not moving as fast as it did a year ago...and really large 1MM+ spec homes are lots slower to take off...
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