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Old 09-23-2012, 05:59 AM
 
10 posts, read 68,901 times
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Please excuse my spelling errors which are the primary result of my impatience with correcting my auto spell check on the iPad from the nether!
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
12,799 posts, read 16,330,713 times
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See, here's the short version. Personally, I don't know of anyone who has sent their kids to private school solely because they thought the academics were better there. That doesn't mean some private schools don't have excellent rigorous academics, but not all do, and parents send their kids to private school for a variety of reasons which may include academics, but also include things like smaller class environment, religious reasons, different educational philosophy, or just "better" in some other ways or combination of ways, but not only academics.

I do know people who have picked Chapel Hill as their point of the triangle because of the excellent academic reputation of the schools. They're far from perfect, but they do serve a large portion of gifted kids — something like 1/3 of the school population in Chapel Hill is in the top 95% nationally and qualifies for gifted education services. If your daughter is truly performing 2 grade levels above her peers across the board in the CHC schools she would qualify for the LEAP program which is a pull-out separate program just for those kids. It's not a grade skip, but those kids who qualify are grouped together and study well ahead of the rest of their peers in a separate location. You can read more about it here: Chapel Hill PAGE, Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education - LEAP .

I think Wake county has some excellent options for high achievers, too. I'm not as familiar with them because I'm not in Wake county, but I know there are some gifted magnets and IB schools.

And again, I don't know where you went in Chapel Hill, but plenty of kids are out and playing here. That's a non-issue and maybe you need a different realtor to show you around. I wouldn't move here unless you really like Chapel Hill, though. There are excellent schools in Wake Forest, too, I'm sure.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbmolly View Post
I am familiar with the states as I am American . However I haven't been a student for more years than I care to count!
I think one thing that might want to spend some time trying to wrap your head around is how NCLB has affected public schools in America. NCLB is No Child Left Behind.... passed under the first Bush Administration... currently it has not been renewed BUT the standardized testing and teach to the test mentality is alive and thriving in this country. HOWEVER, with that said, not all schools or all districts are teach to the test machines. While all districts and publicly funded schools (including charter schools) in NC MUST administer the EOGs (end of grade) in 3-8 and EOCs in certain courses in 9-12, some schools spend more time on test prep and some spend less time on test prep. Understanding a district's focus on test prep I think is important.

In NC the laws governing private schools also require that the private school administer a standardized test in grades 2-12. However, the private school gets to choose which test they administer. Private schools go with nationally normed tests. So I think you get a much better idea of how their students are testing on a nationally average. Keep in mind these nationally normed tests are usually offered to private schools as most states have their own state versions of standardized tests. Most private schools that I know of spend 3 days testings and do not spend much more class time on any sort of "prep".

I will say I know some kids at DA & CA. And at both schools there are kids that I really like and think are just amazing and there are other kids that really don't get they live in a privileged world and it really affects their lense of the reality and learning. Have you visited both schools to check out the school cultures?

As others have said, I would narrow it down by if Cary or Chapel Hill is a better fit. In generalities Chapel Hill tends to be more liberal, progressive, artsy. Cary tends to be more conservative. BUT there are certainly more liberals moving to Cary and more conservatives moving to Chapel Hill. You can also live in Chapel Hill and not be in the CH/C school district. Thus your taxes will be lower. So if you expect to have your child in private school until she graduates there is no reason to pay the extra Ch/C school tax.

If you are looking more for a country club type environment then I think Cary would fit your needs better. If you are looking for more of a community center, co-op, cool art's center with classes, then Chapel Hill will probably suit you better. Lots of Chapel Hill residence use The Farm or the YMCA for kids activities.

If you are looking for a Country Club type environment, you might want to check out Hope Valley Country Club in Durham. This n'hood has a good mix of families and older couples who have raised their children. Hope Valley Country Club is close to DA and it's not far to I-40 if you choose CA. When searching look for Hope Valley Country Club as there are n'hoods called Hope Valley Farms etc, which I don't think fit what you are looking for. But we do know people in Hope Valley Farms who send their kids to DA.

Another thing to consider are the outside enrichment activities for students. Have you compared DA & CA to see which fits your daughter better? Everyone I know at CA is an athlete. But that is not the case with the kids from DA that I know. Might just be a coincidence.

The last thing to consider, is will your daughter be accepted at both CA & DA. She sounds incredibly bright so I do not think that is an issue. But I've know incredibly bright (a couple of years ahead) students who did not get in. They look for students who fit into their current grouping. Since CA starts in 6th grade and they are building a cohort in 6th grade you have more slots of all different types of students. In later grades at at DA they might be looking for a specific personality type or someone gifted in a certain area to fit in or fill a void. Also, keep in mind which one she might like. Once she has done the required day or two class visit I think she will have a better idea of which she likes. (I've know kids who did the visit and they school loved them and the kid hated the school for what ever reason.)

Your best bet is come here have her do her visits to the schools, apply, see what happens, and then move. Maybe rent first so you can find a n'hood that you like. There is variety within Chapel Hill and variety within Cary (even though we all like call Cary vanilla, it does have variety. )

FWIW, private schools that are mastery based are very use to working with kids who are 2 or more years ahead. I don't know if CA or DA are mastery based.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:26 AM
 
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Poppy dog: thankyou very Much for the information regarding the leap program, that actually sounds ideal as she can stay with kids her own age! Wow, the school system has changed! You know I know everyone throws around the term gifted today, I hardly ever meet a parent whose doesn't have at least one! Despite my daughters iq being tested constantly here, and being told she's " gifted" ...I think she is just terribly bright. I think intelligence is " potential" and that alone. I still think of gifted as someone who can talk about nuclear physics at the age of five with Stephen hawking! I shall look into the leap program, thanks!
Pdxmom: I don't love schools that teach to exams , that's a plus in the direction of private schools. I would also think tests for national and not state norms more meaningful of course. Re: hope valley , yes I did look at some beautiful homes there. No kids around. Insofar as enrichment activities , she is into golf and tennis and technology..
You are right about taking her around but since we are coming from so far and have limited time, I need to narrow the scope, you guys have a lot of schools! I spoke to the head of St. Thomas More whom I thought was brilliant and one of the nicest people I've encountered on a cold call since I can't remember when! He also suggested that my daughter shadow for a day at various schools. Your absolutely right that she may not be accepted to CA or DA..I have considered that as well. I also know that some of the catholic schools may be full in her year as well. .I've not heard of mastery based teaching. I suppose it may be like the leap program? Currently at my daughters school they stream in math and English . There are four sets and she is in the top sets..this sounds perhaps similar and it has worked well. Do any of you have any opinions or know anything about the public schools in cary like green hope? But to be honest if we were going public it seems pretty clear from threads here that chapel hill has the best public schools . Also while my horizons have just expanded to the point where ill need another cup of coffee to get my strategy together for our trip, anyone hear anything good about st. Thomas Moore in chapel hill or st. Michaels in cary? While I'm torturing myself might as well go the full monty on the possibles!
And most importantly anybody know an honest real estae broker in the chapel hill area or maybe that's not possible to say on the forum? Again I have learned more than I ever could going it alone just on school sites and you have no idea of the gratitude felt this side of the pond!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
285 posts, read 493,038 times
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Default Choice of Schools

To answer the OP's original question, I would recommend Durham Academy over Cary Academy. DA does an excellent job of challenging and enriching students. The programs are very well organized, and they focus on developing well-rounded students. In addition, DA would be an option for your daughter right now, while CA only begins in sixth grade. That is not to say anything negative about CA. It is an excellent school with an impressive campus and outstanding programs. I would recommend it highly, but of the two, DA gets the nod from me.

The LEAP program in Chapel Hill sounds like an excellent fit for your daughter. One word of warning, your child must be "in the system" for one school year before being admitted to LEAP. So, that would mean one year of waiting and a possible change of schools, as LEAP is housed in just a few schools in the CHCCS system. Also, LEAP runs for grades 4-8. After that, LEAP students move onto their districted high school, generally taking honors and AP courses.

Quote:
There are other private schools in the area. Others have mentioned Duke School, there is also a relatively new Triangle Day, I think.
Triangle Day School has actually been around for more than 20 years. Relatively new, compared to DA and Duke School, but older than others in the area.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:02 PM
 
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MsT89: thank you for your input and you came to the same conclusion I did regarding the Leap program. Could I ask you why DA gets the nod from you? What exactly is it that makes that difference? You are so right about the fifth grade in DA , which solves the " is a year meaningful regarding emotional growth" issue. The advantage of starting in sixth at CA would be that she wouldn't be the " new kid". And I read a students comment on the great schools review about how hard it was being the new kid at DA and struggling to fit in. That would be the real mistake..as it is easier to tweak academics than it is to deal with a kid who is socially left out at school. My friend had that happen to her son and it was a pretty sad thing to watch. I have to say it was so much easier for my moms generation who didn't have so many choices...she just pointed to the corner we had sit on whilst waiting for the bus!
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
12,799 posts, read 16,330,713 times
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Gbmolly, I _think_ that's right regarding LEAP, but that doesn't mean your child couldn't be in the "Highly Gifted" program for one year if she met the requirements and then apply to be in LEAP the following year. There is a special nomination window for kids who are new to the district and want to apply for the gifted programs. She wouldn't have to sit out of gifted services for a year or anything. You might find that the "Highly Gifted" or "Gifted" programs meet her needs. You can email the CHCCS Gifted Coordinator if you have specific questions.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
285 posts, read 493,038 times
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Gbmolly - Honestly, I think that DA gets my vote largely because I am more familiar with it. I am a teacher in a local school (not DA) and know several former students who have attended DA. Overall, they have been very happy there and have all found their niche. A few of my former students have attended CA as well and have done well. I just have more "data" on DA.

Fifth grade is a major entry point for DA, as the students transition into Middle School, so being the "new kid" would be less of an issue than at other grade levels. However, I do understand that it is still a concern.

As for LEAP, poppydog makes a fair point. Students new to the district are given gifted services based on gifted classification at their old school. This continues until new testing can be done by the local school, usually around January or February. Students are then reclassified based on the in-house testing. So, your daughter would received gifted services at her base school in the year before she could be admitted to LEAP.

If I can answer any further questions, please feel free to DM me.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:20 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,654 posts, read 7,346,318 times
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Just based on my personal experience, I would say DA. When we moved here, we applied for DA and we loved it, but we decided that we would try Friends. I will add that I absolutely love, love Friends. We ended up selecting friends for the combination of learning and I found Friends to be the most welcoming to us as a gay couple.

Now, my kids are only in the Early school; However, I've filled in at the middle/upper schools for one of the math teachers and I found the students to be extremely well prepared. I was a high school math and science (chemistry) teacher before we had kids. Neither here nor there, I feel that my kids will receive a great education at Friends should they choose to attend high school there (we plan to give them the choice).

We used to live in Hope Valley and I found it to be lovely. We moved to Raleigh this year because we found a larger house.
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