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Old 03-04-2012, 11:06 PM
 
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We are moving to IC and many of the houses in our price range and that won't need a ton of work are in the Grant Wood area for elem. school. While I know it is not rated as high as some of the other schools in IC, the last specific comments I have seen are from 2009, and many of those are positive from families whose children went there. Does anyone know of any specific issues related to the school in the last year or two? All i keep hearing is "avoid the neighborhood if you can" but no one (and no data specifically) can tell me WHY with any specificity.

And if you have good news about it, please share that as well! Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:29 PM
 
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I'm not sure where you are moving from, but home prices in Iowa City are inflated compared to the rest of Iowa.

Were you looking on the great school website...have to say I'm not really impressed with the comment policy there, or the willingness of the moderators to actually verify the info.

I live in that general area, and have experience with Grant Wood School. I think most of the area is fine, and the negative comments stem more from the fact that Grant Wood is one of the more diverse schools in that school district.

I think it is an average school, maybe comparable to other schools in the Quad Cities and Des Moines.

It doesn't perform as well, test score wise, as some of the other schools in the district, and I think this is much more about the district having heavily involved highly educated parents in some of the higher performing schools.

At the elementary level, I think the curriculum the district uses is so-so, but I think this is slowly changing.

I know there is talk about boundary changes, so you'd want to verify your school attendance area.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:39 PM
 
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I will say at this point in time, any specific concern I have about the school is more related to how the district is run, and is less specific to the school itself...not sure if that makes sense.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:43 PM
MG3
 
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I would not move into the Grant Wood or Mark Twain attendance area. They are both good schools; however, housing values don't seem to be as high in that part of town and resale values will be lower. This is probably due to all of the subsidized housing that is in that area plus the city is adding more subsidized housing there. I would also avoid the Longfellow attendance area as the school district is considering redistricting and busing kids around. I recommend that you read the redistricting information on the Iowa City Community School District's website--look under news (you'll have to google it), and you should also check out school test score data at the Iowa Department of Education website. https://www.edinfo.state.ia.us/data/...asp?s=00090000.

The district is a large one for Iowa and the school superintendent is relatively new. The district is well funded despite protestations to the contrary but some elementary schools are crowded and the district needs another high school. Even though its a university town, there isn't that much for bright kids or gifted kids in elementary and junior high and at the other end of the spectrum, the area education system needs more worker bees to help kids in need. The number of struggling readers seems to be growing.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:44 PM
MG3
 
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I should also have added that you should take a look at houses in the Solon or Clear Creek Amana school district. These would be within commuting distance of Iowa City.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:47 AM
 
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Where are they adding more subsidized housing?

There are MANY opportunities for bright kids at the junior and high school level.

There is the ELP program for kids at the elementary levels.

MG...can you be more specific about the lack of opportunities. I'd think smaller districts would be able to offer fewer opportunities.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MG3 View Post
I would not move into the Grant Wood or Mark Twain attendance area. They are both good schools; however, housing values don't seem to be as high in that part of town and resale values will be lower. This is probably due to all of the subsidized housing that is in that area plus the city is adding more subsidized housing there. I would also avoid the Longfellow attendance area as the school district is considering redistricting and busing kids around. I recommend that you read the redistricting information on the Iowa City Community School District's website--look under news (you'll have to google it), and you should also check out school test score data at the Iowa Department of Education website. https://www.edinfo.state.ia.us/data/...asp?s=00090000.

Even though its a university town, there isn't that much for bright kids or gifted kids in elementary and junior high and at the other end of the spectrum, the area education system needs more worker bees to help kids in need.
Solon, the ICCSD, and Clear Creek Amana are all served by the same AEA.....so if you have a child with more needs you'll deal with same problems with the AEAs wherever you go.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:33 AM
MG3
 
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You're correct about the AEA; however, a lot of what services are made available for kids has a lot to do with the attitudes of the superintendent on down. For years, the former superintendent at Clear Creek had an outstanding reputation for helping kids with higher needs--I've heard, although cannot personally verify, that this is still the case at Clear Creek.

There are some opportunities for gifted kids within the IC elementary schools. There are also some extra-curriculars in the junior high for gifted or bright kids but not much else during the school day although there are lots of math choices. There aren't many (if any) levels for classes other than math. There are more opportunities than most places outside of the school system for motivated, bright and/or gifted kids but it helps to have an involved parent or guardian to pay for and get the student around to those activities. It would be nice to see more opportunities at the junior high. The high schools have some excellent choices--AP coursework, etc.

More subsidized/affordable housing is being added on the Southeast side of Iowa City and the Penninsula area.

With regard to opportunities at smaller districts, sometimes at larger districts students have to specialize in an smaller number of areas for extra-curriculars and there are some terrific superstar kids. Some smaller districts present opportunities for kids to be involved in more activities and while there are superstar kids everywhere, the competition may not be as great. For example, a school of 2,000 kids still only has 5 starting slots on a varsity basketball team. In a school of 800, there will also be 5 starting slots but less kids competing for those spots. In a large district, it may be that some students have to be cut from some (certainly not all) activities. I don't remember anyone ever being cut in the smaller district I attended. There may not be as many choices of activities in a smaller district but that is not necessarily bad if more kids as a percentage of the whole participate and the choices are good. There are pros and cons to both small and large districts and schools. There will always be some kids that flourish more in a small versus a large school/district or vice versa.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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I really don't know that much about CCA, and how it might serve kids with unique needs.

I can tell you that we had some brief interaction with the GWAEA, and it is an organization with little oversight or accountability. While the attitude of the superintendent is important, the structure of the AEA is such that they don't answer to him. For a larger district like ICCSD, I think it would be more favorable to have the people providing services school district employees.

I think your point about the athletics is fair, that one would have more opportunities in a smaller district. I think though that if that is something that is important the family seeks out a school district that meets their needs.
Even with that sort of argument though...you've created more favorable odds for the kids at one school, vs. the kids at the other two high schools.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:12 AM
 
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Regarding the comment about programs for gifted kids, were you making that as a comparative statement toward the other two school districts you mentioned?

At the junior high level you can take a foreign language in seventh and eighth grade...looks like you can also do this in Solon(perhaps earlier?), I couldn't really tell about CCA though. Both schools offer two languages, where ICCSD offers three.

You can take a social studies elective in eighth grade called seminar that is aimed at gifted kids.

There are after school clubs like Knowledge Master Open, canstruction, chess club and math counts that probably appeal to gifted kids. There are many opportunities within the music programs for those who are high achieving. There are also some electives that seem like they might be interesting for gifted kids.

What opportunities are you wanting to see, that aren't offered.
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