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Old 12-28-2012, 06:48 PM
6 posts, read 22,729 times
Reputation: 17


Hello Everyone!

I have been reading some very informative posts about Missoula and appreciate folks taking time to give helpful advice and information. I have a few specific questions about elementary schools and neighborhoods. We have lived in various parts of the country (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, British Columbia, PNW, Southwest) but have never lived in Montana. We are considering moving to Missoula (husband will be employed at the university as a professor) and have 2 kids that are in elementary school. Our son has some coordination difficulties (great at math but terrible at sports and cannot ride a bike) and tends to get picked on, so finding a school that is solid in academics and does not tolerate bullying would be ideal. Yeah, I know it probably doesn't exist, but a town where kids are more "rough" and boys have to get into fights to prove themselves probably would not work out for us.

Here are my questions:

1. Can anyone who has lived outside of Montana compare how elementary schools are in terms of academics and culture to other regions of the country?

2. In general, what are the good elementary schools in Missoula?

3. What neighborhoods are good for families with small children? We don’t want acreage, just a nice, safe neighborhood that has lots of other kids.

Thanks so much for reading and have a great day!
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:52 AM
28 posts, read 53,877 times
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Hi, probably not a helpful reply on my part, but we are also looking to relocate to Missoula and are looking at schools. I have a nervous stomach about public school in general, and tend to think our kids are not getting as good an education as We did, especially with regards to respect of other human beings, so we have our daughter (4yrs) in a Montessori school where grace and courtesy are taught, and focus is on academics, and kids are respectful of others. Unfortunately private school can be an investment, but you might consider it for your son who is gifted in academics. . .they have a Spanish language international baccalaureate program that seems like a very good and rigorous program. Not sure as to the cost, though since its not listed on the website. Some of these private schools have scholarship opportunities (they do in Portland anyway). These threads seem popular, so I'm sure someone will chime in and help you out with your decisoin :-)
-Shammah98's wife
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:39 PM
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Missoula has all sorts of education options for children. Private ones include Montessori, Catholic, and Christian.
The public systems in Montana are generally good.
I would ask for specific District advice from your University contacts. More affluent Districts might be more progressive.......For example- Helgate in Missoula includes Reserve street so it has higher tax base to work with & well thought of administrator.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:45 AM
297 posts, read 732,397 times
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I'm extremely prejudiced, but if you can afford it, I would recommend the University district to live in. Paxson Elementary School is very good. The southern part of the U district is further from the U itself, yet comfortably within walking distance, and is closer to Paxson (named for Edgar Paxson the artist) and Bonner Park. The high school in this part of town is called Hellgate High School and is considered the most liberal and tolerant of the three high schools, with Sentinel being the more "preppy" (don't know what the term is these days) and Big Sky being the more country/cowboy type.

About the name "Hellgate," there are no evil connotations. That was an early name for the canyon leading into town from the east, as it was the site of ambushes. There's a Hellgate Elementary School on the far west side of town, as the other poster mentioned, and it's very good. But then you're getting near the airport.

Any other questions, I'll try to help.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for the input! I am not sure we are considering private schools at this point, the private schools in our area (particularly the Catholic schools) end up with the kids who are getting into a lot of trouble in public school and on the verge of expulsion. Enrollment is down, so the private schools seem willing to put up with the difficult kids.

Paxson school has lower scores, a 6 out of 10 greatschools ratin,g and some comments about problems with bullying, but I will check it out. What about Cold Springs? It has the highest test scores according to the State rankings, but that could be associated with higher income levels and not instruction.

Are there neighborhoods that are popular with families? Have lived near college when we were students, but would prefer a family-oriented neighborhood now that we have kids.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:40 PM
297 posts, read 732,397 times
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Cold Springs is a good school. It's in an average neighborhood, nice but not particularly high income.

The Lewis & Clark neighborhood is family-oriented, as are many areas in the South Hills. Do NOT live in the area between the downtown and the interstate! It's usually called Northside.
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