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Old 03-12-2013, 01:15 PM
3 posts, read 12,854 times
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I have three daughters (8, 9 11) and they have been accepted to The Village School, Awty (one is still in the wait pool) and Duschesne. I am surprised they got into all and now we need to make a choice. Could I get help on the following:

1. how much homework (the girls are coming from a good CA public school).
2. how open are the kids to now ones coming into the class. How do you feel about the other kids at the school.
3. what is special to you about any one of those schools.
4. and anything else you might find important.

We are moving from the SF Bay Area and have not yet bought a house, so no commuting constraints yet other than my husband works downtown.

Thank you!
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:18 PM
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I can speak only for Awty, where my children have attended since PK3. Presumably you are admitted to the Int'l Section.

1. Several years ago there were big complaints about excessive homework in Lower School at Awty. This has changed. My 4th grader has homework every day but can complete it in a reasonable time frame which affords sufficient time for ample neighborhood play/activities. I will say it is 45 minutes to an hour, usually less, though of course there may be days when it takes longer. Just for perspective, my 4th grader is a solid A student, no struggles academically but also not gifted. (My other child is in the French Section, a very different curriculum.)

2. Awty is a real international school with high student mobility so is very accommodating to new kids, formally welcoming them each year on Newcomer's Day in the fall. In recent years the proportion of Americans (like us) in the International Section has grown to nearly half so there is a cohort of students who have been together for years, but they are still the minority and it is very unlike the entrenched groups perhaps more typical of private school. The school does not track students and actively mixes the classes each year. In my view, this is a plus even though my kids have both lost friends due to relocation. It is definitely easier on the kids who stay than on the kids who leave, and the peer groups don't get stale over time with fresh faces added.

3. Awty is very diverse, not only culturally but also socioeconomically. Many of the expats' tuitions are covered by their employers so it is not a private school exclusively for families who can afford it. I can't say enough about how important this is to us. (We do notice that a high percentage of Americans at the school are single children.)

4. Note that the Awty calendar is very different from other area schools. There are weeklong breaks in October, February and April in addition to the typical holiday breaks. Also, Awty places a high priority on multilingualism. EVERY student will take second language throughout with a third language option beginning in Middle School. It is not just lip service, and it helps tremendously that the majority of students are multilingual at home as well.

Awty is the only school we considered in Houston and though it isn't perfect we are quite content after seven years (aside from the tuition, ha.) Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. Best of luck to you and your family with the school choice and the move!
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:06 PM
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Thank you for your detailed reply! It sounds like your children are having a great experience.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:42 PM
Location: Houston, TX
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Congrats on those school acceptances SoniaM. But how on earth did you get all three children into those schools? Are your daughters coming from an exceptional and nationally-ranked school? I've heard that the international program at Awty is near impossible to get into due to high enrollment numbers.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:09 PM
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Thank you! We are coming from a public school near San Francisco, CA. Awty is not a given yet, since one is still in the wait pool, though, we feel fortunate to have other choices.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:23 PM
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Sonia, how interesting that I have 3 girls of same ages and we applied to Village and Awty.Wait list fr Awty,accepted in Village we have to make a BIIIG move from the woodlands to Houston but we want to wait another week to find out if we are excepted into Auty since I like that school way more then the village!!!
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:57 PM
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My daughter attended John Paul II in elementary & middle school and now attends St. Agnes Academy for High School. We could not be happier with her education. The education is far superior to the local public schools. At JPII, the homework was typically 1 1/2 hours per night. At SAA, it is more likely to be 3 - 3 1/2 hours. My daughter is graduating this year and has been accepted to UT, Texas A&M and several other liberal arts schools.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:30 PM
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If you are considering an International School, why not consider the British school of Houston? I moved to Houston last year (from California as well, a public school) and had 2 kids in the waiting pool at Awty. My son got in (5th grade) and (very naive, looking back) I assumed my daughter would get in too. In the end there was no spot available for her, because the student mobility is not high at all. To give an example, in my son's class there were only 3 new kids!! Some Dutch friends had their kids at the British School of Houston and that turned out to be a great choice, my daughter loves it! I have now decided to transfer my son to that school as well.
Awty is not a very warm, welcoming school and they are very focussed on grades, grades, grades. I would describe it as a posh American/French prep school with a somewhat international character.
Academically the British School is at the same level as Awty, I think the IB results of The British are even higher, but they are more focussed on the individual child and his/her talents. The community is very diverse and if you are an expat you would probably feel more at home there.
Homework wise, Awty is a school that has an everyday homework schedule whereas at the British they have a biweekly schedule so students can plan their homework accordingly.
The school is very welcoming, only last year they welcomed 200 new students. It doesn't have all those ridiculous tests that Awty. Awty is all about academics and sport/music/art are less important. At the British there is also room for sports/music/arts. I feel that students at the British School can flourish in every kind of interest they have and are not pushed into a certain 'model student'
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