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Old 04-20-2010, 10:02 AM
1 posts, read 3,775 times
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My family and I are relocating back to Iowa after 11 years in a very large school system in North Carolina. We're plan to live in Ames and are looking for more info on how the Ames and Gilbert schools compare. Our children will be in 8th and 4th grades this fall, so we are mostly interested in the middle and high schools, as the elementary years are nearly behind us. We're interested in what the strengths and weaknesses (if any) are relative to one another and also how the cultures/atmospheres compare. Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:30 PM
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I went to Ames High and had a few friends at Gilbert too. To be honest with you, Ames is the big fish in the area, and there is some mockery (usually kind-hearted but it's still there) of Gilbert, Nevada, Boone and the other small towns near by. I don't know much about the academics at Gilbert, but I think they're fine. The real difference is that Ames is bigger and more well-known. My Ames graduating class was 400+ students, and Gilbert's was less than 100. Ames probably has more honors/AP course offerings than Gilbert would have, and more variety of courses and activities in general. Ames has more sports (and competes against the biggest schools in the state), more music ensembles, more everything because it's a bigger town and bigger school.

Gilbert is a school where the kids grow up knowing every person in their class, a close sense of community. Some people like that and some feel it's too small, so it depends on what you prefer. I felt a great sense of community at AMS and AHS too, but I didn't know *everyone*, and I liked it that way. Not too big or too small. At Ames Middle School the students are divided into 3 "teams" so there is a smaller core group of students and teachers that work together. It's been a while since I was there, but I do know they still use the team system. When I was there it was 2 teams, Green and Blue, so I only had classes with Green team students and Green team teachers. Some of my friends from elementary school were on the Blue team so we didn't have classes together but we saw each other outside of class and were able to remain friends.

I hope someone from Gilbert will reply too, since I don't have much experience there, but I can personally vouch for the Ames school district. I was very happy with my education and it prepared me well for college academics. It's a good school system and Ames High has earned national recognition for excellence. The school was known and well-regarded by all the colleges I applied to, including those outside of Iowa. I was involved in sports and music and had great experiences with both.

Good luck with the decision and the move!

EDIT: Just discovered an Ames/Gilbert schools discussion in the comments of this article from the Ames Tribune http://www.amestrib.com/articles/2010/04/15/ames_tribune/news/doc4bc48c32ac5c2289530683.txt (broken link)
It might be useful, or might not!

Last edited by janamc; 04-21-2010 at 10:54 PM..
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:53 PM
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Gilbert now has about 1250 students and is building a brand new high school for 2013. This is mainly due to the extensive growth and new houses in North Ames. It is very different than the school most people remember from even 5 or 10 years ago. It is about 4 miles from Iowa State University and many students take classes at ISU as part of their schooling. The test scores are some of the highest in the state. It definitely has a small school feel. You can still participate in most of what you want to. However, that is beginning to change a little as it is continuing to grow.
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