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Old 07-05-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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We've seen some homes in Costa Mesa (Mesa Verde) and Irvine (but zoned for a Santa Ana school) that we are interested in but the school they are zoned for (for example Adams Elementary) look below average. We have a 4 year old so school is a priority. We're both happy products of public schools so we'd like to stay in the public school system but we're looking at all our options. Anyone live there or know anything about those areas have any suggestions about public/private schooling (not interested in a religious school)? We're also looking at East Costa Mesa and Newport but the housing prices are so much higher where the better schools seem to be. Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,342 posts, read 89,692,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagoh View Post
We've seen some homes in Costa Mesa (Mesa Verde) and Irvine (but zoned for a Santa Ana school) that we are interested in but the school they are zoned for (for example Adams Elementary) look below average. We have a 4 year old so school is a priority. We're both happy products of public schools so we'd like to stay in the public school system but we're looking at all our options. Anyone live there or know anything about those areas have any suggestions about public/private schooling (not interested in a religious school)? We're also looking at East Costa Mesa and Newport but the housing prices are so much higher where the better schools seem to be. Thanks for any help!
I assume you've looked at homes in neighborhoods with higher performing schools?

What is your budget? Buying or renting?
Where do you work?

Did you check this out?

School Performance Maps
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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We know there are many places with higher performing schools but I guess the question is if we were to buy in an area with lower performing schools would it be easy to do an inner district transfer to a better school? Which private schools should we consider in the area? Budget is not an issue since the areas we're considering are much more affordable than the richer areas with top performing schools. We know Irvine has top schools but we're interested in staying more coastal. We work from home so that's not an issue.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Are you sure your child would do any better in a higher performing school? In my experience test scores within the same district are based mainly on the demographic mix of the students rather than any differences in curriculum, teachers, or facilities. Elementary school is really pretty early to be worried about such things anyway. Seems parents become more conscious of it in middle and high school when drugs, violence, and other anti-social behavior start to appear.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,342 posts, read 89,692,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagoh View Post
We know there are many places with higher performing schools but I guess the question is if we were to buy in an area with lower performing schools would it be easy to do an inner district transfer to a better school? Which private schools should we consider in the area? Budget is not an issue since the areas we're considering are much more affordable than the richer areas with top performing schools. We know Irvine has top schools but we're interested in staying more coastal. We work from home so that's not an issue.
I know that you know there are higher performing schools. Budget does sound like an issue, otherwise you'd be considering areas with higher performing schools and you wouldn't have created this thread.

Your earlier post stated schools are a priority but now you write you're interesting in staying coastal. Which one is it? Why not find a neighborhood with high performing schools that is within your budget even if it is a few miles more inland than the coast?

You'd have to call each district and ask them the specifics of intradistrict transfers.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
In my experience test scores within the same district are based mainly on the demographic mix of the students rather than any differences in curriculum, teachers, or facilities.

I think you're right about this but there is value in attending school with a larger mix of higher performing peers.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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Inter-district transfer are NOT easy usually. It really depends on the school districts involved. But one school district has to agree to release your kid to open enrollment in another school district and another has to agree to accept. Often it can be denied.

Is your budget a problem for living in nicer areas? I would never buy a home with low performing schools as that will always effect its home value. Irvine is not THAT inland and I would be willing to sacrifice an extra 10 minutes to get to the beach for better schools for my child. Most people would rather live in Irvine around here than Costa Mesa (a less affluent, so so city with random ugly strip malls everywhere). Median income in Costa Mesa is $58,000 for a family and its $111,000 in Irvine. Private school is going to be VERY expensive if you want a top notch program and I can't think of many good ones not affiliated with a religion.

The Fairmont Private Schools are well known and non-religious for example, but the tuition is over $15,000 per year per student.
Page Private Schools is in Newport and costs about $10,000 per year.
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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We lived In Santa Ana for several years with a lot of children. Here are some various options for you:

Elementary-

John Muir One of Santa Ana's "Fundamental Schools" There are several. They are all reasonably good. John Muir was acceptable, probably not the best statistics in the world, but it has great teachers who care and a good principal. We actually moved our kids to John Muir from a higher performing school in Tustin and we liked J.M. better. John Muir is probably 75% Hispanic kids, but the fundamental schools tend to have the kids with parents who care and therefore they hove a better peer group.

While at John Muir, our kids scored in the top 10% on the national tests, won presidential awards for academics, etc. They received a fine education, enjoyed going there and had great friends. The only down side is you have to drive them there, and their frinds will be from around town.

Other fundamental schools.
John Muir was closest to us. It was not the best of the fundamental schools. I do not remember which one was considered the "best." John Muir was more than sufficient. There is probably a Fundamental elementary school close to you. You do not have to live near a fundamental school to go there. We did camp out overnight in line to get in, but that was dumb. Our friend who just came the next day after registration opened had no problem getting all of her kids enrolled.

Floral Park.
There is an elementary school that primarily serves Floral Park students. It is supposed to be a good school. No idea how you get in there if not from Floral Park. Keep in mind that everyone in Floral Park can afford to live elsewhere, so if the school was not good, they would move, or would live elsewhere to begin with.

El Sol. A Charter School. Some sort of language immersion program. Supposed to be a good school. The mayor's kids attended here at least for a while.

Arts school. Just as we left, they were trying to get an arts based charter school opened up. It was not connected with OCHSA, but they clearly intended it to be a feeder school for OCHSA. It was going to be nearby OCHSA. I heard that it opened, not sure if it is still open. Not sure how good it is. They were very disorganized when they were trying to put it together.

Tustin Memorail Academy. This is a charter school in Tustin. We got an interdistrict transfer. It was very highly rated. However it was insanely competitive. Our kids were miserable there, so we moved them to John Muir. But if statistics are what excites you, this place has them.

El Durado School for Gifted Children. This is a private school in Orange. One of our daughters needed smaller classes and adaptable teachers to deal with her issues (she has difficult processing aural data and gets overstimulated easily). We found this school and enrolled her (expensive $12,000+ per year) Is is an absolutely incredible school. Very small and no sports programs but a really neat philosophy and really does that job very well. One of our sons we kind of a math wiz at an early age and they got excited about him and gave him a scholarship, so he went there for a while too. The kids loved it. The small class sizes (8 or so per grade), excellent teaching and remarkable philosophy really made those two of our kids blossom. I cannot say enough good about this place. THe only down side is the price and lack of sports programs. This school is K-12. Quite a few kids of foreign dignitaries, or foreign business executives go to this school.

Middle School:

Again there are several fundamental schools. (three or four of them). Our kids went to Villa (one started there then got into OCHSA's middle school program). Again they were scoring in the top percentages on the national tests (98% in some areas). So they definitely learned what they needed to know. Besides, they get to be the Villa Screaming Eagles (how cool is that!). They competed on the academic olympics teams and did very well against other OC schools.

OCHSA - see below.


High School:

OCHSA. Arts based charter school. You kids must be highly talented in one of the arts to get in (acting, signing, music, drawing, writing, graphic arts, photography, dance, etc). The admission criteria are pretty rigorous. We have friends with pretty talented kids who were not admitted. The school has very high academic standards and is usually rated in the top ten in Orange County. The kids go longer than a normal school. They start at the normal time and go until dinnertime. The school is in a ten story office building in midtown. Physical Education consists of various dance classes, yoga, or fitness training (climbing stairs, weight training, machines). This is not just a school for kid who intend to go into arts based careers. Lots of kids just focus on and develop their artistic talent here and then go on to become doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers, etc. The middle school and high school are both academically excellent. You must pay a materials/lab fee of about $3000 - $4000 and participate in fund raising events.

Mater Dei. Very large Catholic school in Santa Ana. Good performance in both academics and sports.

Santa Ana High. One of two decent options for public school in Santa Ana. It has a slew of "bad" kids and a passel of "good" kids. The two do nto mix much because they tend to take different sorts of classes that are located in different parts of the school. Still this would not be my first choice.

Sergerstom High. A relatively new high school. The building was state of the art when built a few years ago. This is supposed to be a pretty good high school, but I do not know anything about it.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 07-05-2011 at 11:10 AM..
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