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Old 01-18-2019, 06:21 PM
69 posts, read 167,895 times
Reputation: 27


Hi all!
My husband might be getting relocated to Joplin. I'm trying to find info on what areas to look for a house. Our primary concern is schools. We have a an almost 9th grader, almost 7th grader and an almost 1st or 2nd grader (don't ask- lol), so we'll need good elementary, middle AND High school, specifically ones who are good for GT and AD/HD kiddos. Unfortunately, we can't spend more than $200,000-$250,000 for housing and need at least a 4 BR in a good school district... Any ideas? Other things important to us: HS Football (I've heard Webb City?), Girl Scouts, PTA & Marching Band... Archery team would get bonus points...

Any good, bad or ugly is appreciated!!

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Old 01-21-2019, 08:23 PM
Location: St. Louis
502 posts, read 408,119 times
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I don't recall any of the schools being bad in the Joplin area. However, it's been many years since I lived there. Webb City is an excellent pick for schools, but I would still visit other areas.

Joplin itself has done some major rebuilding since the tornado. Being the largest district, you may find that it offers a wider selection of programs.

Some of my coworkers lived in Carl and liked it. It's a smaller town though, with a smaller district than either Webb or Joplin.

$200k will buy a decent property anywhere in Jasper or Newton County. There aren't really any bad areas in the Joplin area (For reference, I was raised in StL prior to Joplin). However, some of the older neighborhoods are decidedly working-class and not well-maintained.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:08 PM
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Webb City and Carthage always seem to have good football teams. But to play in Webb, you have to be really good. They let students who don't live in their district play without paying out of district tuition, so it makes competition tough. Joplin is a nice area to live and has an excellent college, MSSU, in town. A decent mall and lots of shopping. Not many entertainment options, but only an hour from Branson.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:23 PM
Location: SW MO
87 posts, read 29,831 times
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I lived in Joplin from 2001 to 2016 and substitute taught (primarily Special Ed) in almost all their schools between 2012 and 2015. There is only one high school in the area unless you are Catholic, then there is also a Catholic high school. The best middle schools are South and North; avoid East. The best elementary is Stapleton. If you can go to Webb City, as others have posted, their schools are top-notch; I did practicum at their junior high, and was very impressed. Granted, this was back in 2011, so things possibly could have changed since then, but it's a possibility for you.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:38 PM
12 posts, read 17,337 times
Reputation: 17
Originally Posted by divanicki75 View Post
Hi all!
My husband might be getting relocated to Joplin. I'm trying to find info on what areas to look for a house. Our primary concern is schools. We have a an almost 9th grader, almost 7th grader and an almost 1st or 2nd grader (don't ask- lol), so we'll need good elementary, middle AND High school, specifically ones who are good for GT and AD/HD kiddos. Unfortunately, we can't spend more than $200,000-$250,000 for housing and need at least a 4 BR in a good school district... Any ideas? Other things important to us: HS Football (I've heard Webb City?), Girl Scouts, PTA & Marching Band... Archery team would get bonus points...

Any good, bad or ugly is appreciated!!

None of the schools in the area are good relative to the higher level schools in the state. That's just a fact, and a sad one that I didn't realize until we moved here.

With that being said, Webb City and Carl Junction are pretty universally known for having much better schools than Joplin. If you want to stay in Joplin, your best bet is farther south as they have the better elementary school, but the problem is it still feeds into Joplin HS which is not good.

200-250K will easily get you a nice 4bed house in any of the areas.

Carl Junction actually has an Archery building and team. .


The downsides to Carl Junction I have found: People tend to be a bit cliquish. It might be different with older kids, but it's all younger parents that all went to school here together and tend to not engage with "outsiders" Your mileage might vary. Most major stores/grocery shopping etc..you have to drive down into Joplin. Not the biggest deal, but you know sometimes I need to grab something from a place like Lowes and really don't want to waste almost an hour driving there and back.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:54 AM
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First of all I should say that I don’t think you can go ‘wrong’ with choosing Joplin, Webb, or Carl. I would also suggest you consider Carthage as well. I know people in all these towns and schools and they all think theirs is the best! They do have their differences but the biggest differences would be between these 4 as a whole and the rest of the schools and communities nearby.

Band - I know WC used to have a very good band that sometimes traveled to major parades or games but that band director retired and I think their band is a little more average these days. These schools all have bands and I'd say they are probably all about the same. Joplin might offer a wider variety of instruments or specific types of bands.

Schools in general: people from Webb or Carl will say avoid Joplin - too big, too dangerous, etc but in my opinion this is mostly irrational fear and false conclusions. It is indeed larger but that also means they offer way more opportunities. They have a fantastic tech center and even a student run cable tv station. JHS has around 2,300 students. CJ is the "smallest", around 1,000. Webb City is slightly larger and Carthage is around 1,500 and is the fastest growing of the 4. A unique attribute of Carthage is a relatively large % of hispanic students (about 35%). Some people find the idea of being in a school with a large number of non-whites off-putting but it’s created some really great opportunities and these people tend to be very family oriented. Carthage offers a dual language which has been very successful - your kid will be conversational in Spanish often within a semester. CJ and Webb have the highest test scores and are often mentioned as the ‘best’ because of that but they are also the smallest, least diverse, and offer the least in terms of instruction and activities. But they are definitely good districts especially some of Webb’s elementary schools. The middle school in Webb is a problem from what I’ve heard from people who have taught or had kids there. A high rate of disruptive students/incidents (often involving police) and other things, mainly just seems a lack of discipline. But I doubt any middle school is ‘great’.

As far as school facilities - Carthage overall probably has the best - new high school, new sports/soccer/tennis/archery complex, new middle school, new early education center, jr high is currently closed for an extensive remodel. Joplin close behind with incredible new high school and great new east middle school that shares a campus with a nice elementary school. Facilities do vary across Joplin. I’d maybe give CJ the edge over Webb because their high school is much, much nicer but otherwise they are pretty comparable. Webb tends to do construction projects on the cheap - the added on HS gym is an exception as it was paid for by the federal government.

Football: Everyone knows about Webb City and will say go there if you want football. That is kind of true but I would add the disclaimer that WC is known for sports and a lot of people move there JUST FOR SPORTS, specifically football and baseball/softball. So they see unusually high levels of participation for their size (160 kids out for football - that’s more than double a typical Class 4 school). So be prepared to dedicate your kids youth to sports and even then they may still be a benchwarmer. Side note: travel baseball/softball teams are huge here so if your kid wants any chance of playing varsity baseball plan on dedicating your entire spring, summer and sometimes fall to expensive and time consuming travel ball teams. But back to football - WC knows football and they are clearly the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have the largest attendance at games of any high school in Missouri.

Now if you are just wanting a program where you kid can work hard, beat most of the teams they play, have a realistic shot at some post-season action, and enjoy a great friday night football atmosphere - ANY of the 4 will do. Joplin won their conference 2 years ago and last year lost in the semi final game to Class 6 state champion. They play at a really neat historic stadium. Carthage has made it to the Class 5 semi finals 3 of the last 4 years. They just built a brand new football stadium next to their newish high school. CJ has also been very good over the last 5 or 6 years although playoffs are tough because they are in the same classification and district as Webb City who is (almost) always better. They also updated their stadium recently. Although these schools are not all the same division they do all play in the same regular season conference - with mostly Springfield area schools like Nixa, Ozark etc. So it’s fun watching these teams all beat up on each other for local bragging rights in the fall. Certain matchups sometimes draw huge crowds upwards of 10,000.

Archery: Carthage is the place for archery. They are building a half-million dollar indoor facility and their coach was recently named national coach of the year. Kids can start participating in 5th grade and it’s very popular and the teams are very successful. A sophomore made headlines last year with the first ever perfect score in the Missouri tournament. CJ also has a very good program. I’m not sure if Joplin has archery. Webb City does not have archery.

Homes: You should be able to find a home in your price range in any of those communities. Joplin has a few seedy pockets but unlike many cities there isn't one 'bad side' of town.

Much of Webb City is going to be more starter type homes (100-150k) unless you look in some of the rural subdivisions. Heritage Acres is nice but expensive - Oronogo will be cheaper but I personally don't care for that area because of all the haphazard development and long/inconvenient drive into Joplin. In general WC/Oronogo has been overbuilt by developers due to the popularity of the schools so there is a lot of inventory and somewhat lower prices. The east part of town and adjacent Carterville is pretty dilapidated.

Carthage tends to have slightly higher prices and less inventory - the northeast corner of town has become pretty run down in recent years and is probably 60% spanish speaking. There are some very beautiful historic neighborhoods in the center of Carthage with nice newer neighborhoods to the south, east and west.

In CJ Briarbrook is very nice but may be outside of your range for what you want. You might find a 4br home in CJ but outside of Briarbrook that is in your range. Unlike the other 3 towns, CJ doesn't really have any bad neighborhoods that truly need to be avoided.

Some Good/Bad/Ugly:

  • Good: There is a lot (relatively) to do. It’s the economic and entertainment center of the area. The city has grown up a lot in the last 15 years and is getting better and more metropolitan every day. Schools especially high school have a lot to offer.
  • Bad: Joplin is much larger and more complex than other communities and does not have as much of a cohesive small town feel if that is important to you. It feels more like a city than a town.
  • Ugly: Joplin city government and school system have made a lot of negative headlines for various scandals and tragedy which has contributed to the negative perception among others in the area.
Carl Junction
  • Good: Briarbrook neighborhood is among the nicest of any suburban neighborhood you will find in the area.
  • Bad: Aside from the golf course there is absolutely nothing to do.
  • Ugly: In spite of the highest median incomes in the area - this town collectively refuses to invest much in community betterment, residents seems to expect someone else to do it. Nothing ever passes at the ballot. The youth sports are poorly managed and the facilities are the worst in the area. This may reduce the competitiveness of future varsity teams.
  • Good: Carthage is a unique town full of historic charm, a very strong sense of identity and a lot of pride. Several large festivals occur throughout the year including food truck fridays in Central Park and the town has several unique local restaurants, shops, and a few nice art galleries. In my opinion it may be one of the best small towns in Missouri.
  • Bad: Carthage has an undercurrent of negativity and complaining - particularly among the baby boomer generation. Some current city leaders including the mayor subscribe to the "tax little - do less" model of government and rely solely on the city's vibrant past to propel it forward.
  • Ugly: Exacerbated by the inflow of hispanics, more areas of the town have become populated with very low income residents and as such this town which was once known for its well kept neighborhoods is becoming increasingly run down - in certain areas.

Webb City
  • Good: Webb City has a well regarded school system with unmatched support and buy-in from the community. There isn’t much to do in Webb City but it’s immediately adjacent to Joplin and there is more development happening these days.
  • Bad: The identity of the entire community hinges around the school system - particularly the football team and it's success.
  • Ugly: A culture of discipline, humility, respect, and hard work that used to be prevalent in Webb City appears to be eroding as many outsiders move in to get their piece of the sports success and well regarded schools. Students, faculty and fans from WC used to be known for their respect, discipline, and sportsmanship but increasingly are thought of as boastful, arrogant and incapable of losing with class.
A lot of info, hopefully it's somewhat helpful! I'd be interested to know where you land and why if you end up moving this way!

Last edited by tossup99; 05-31-2019 at 10:55 AM.. Reason: added information
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