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Old 01-19-2011, 09:02 PM
sc5 sc5 started this thread
 
2 posts, read 5,215 times
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I will be moving to the Tampa area soon. Can someone give me the low down on school system...
_Are the Catholic schools a lot better than public?
_Are there long waiting lists for Catholic schools?
_Can you choose which public school to go to or is it by neighborhood?
_We may be able to move to Sarasota area-are the schools a lot better there than in Tampa?
_What are some good (kid friendly) neighborhoods in the Tampa area
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Tampa
2,602 posts, read 7,490,671 times
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Florida school districts correspond to their respective counties, so all of Tampa's schools are part of Hillsborough County Schools. I don't believe that Catholic schools are that much better (due to personal experience in both systems), but I suppose they are better than some neighborhood schools. You usually have to go to the school that you're zoned to (at least in Hillsborough County), but you can apply for other schools. You may not always get in, and you usually cannot get into schools that are over-capacity.

The most kid-friendly area within Tampa city limits is South Tampa, and all of its schools are excellent. The schools are of debatable quality south of Gandy Boulevard, but they're not horrible. Outside of Tampa proper, most of the subdivisions are kid-friendly to some degree. I'd imagine that Westchase, Lutz, New Tampa, and parts of Carrollwood, Brandon, and Riverview have decent to great public schools, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:04 AM
 
22,453 posts, read 33,308,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc5 View Post
I will be moving to the Tampa area soon. Can someone give me the low down on school system...
_Are the Catholic schools a lot better than public?
_Are there long waiting lists for Catholic schools?
_Can you choose which public school to go to or is it by neighborhood?
_We may be able to move to Sarasota area-are the schools a lot better there than in Tampa?
_What are some good (kid friendly) neighborhoods in the Tampa area
The North Pinellas schools overall are the best in the metro area...which would include upper NE Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Oldsmar, East Lake and the southeast side of Tarpon Springs.

Of this group the best overall for kids would probably be East Lake, then Palm Harbor. Check out Cypress Woods Elementary in East Lake. It's "A" rated and scores a perfect 10 on Great Schools. Cypress Woods is part of the East Lake High School district, which is the only high school in the Tampa Bay area to receive a grade of "A" the past five years consecutively.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
3,380 posts, read 8,242,256 times
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Ha, thanks Kyle. Maybe I should start looking at homes up in that area. Are there any beaches near that area though? BY near, I mean within 5 miles.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Palm Harbor, FL
463 posts, read 947,823 times
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^The East Lake area of Palm Harbor is about 12 miles from the beach, so depending on where in the area mentioned above you live, the commute can be 15-30 minutes for the beach.

I definitely think you should consult GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community for ratings, its an excellent resource that I used to find the very area mentioned here and we couldn't be happier.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:42 AM
 
71 posts, read 120,092 times
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My responses to your questions.
- Overall, perhaps. But certainly not in every case.
- No waiting list at the 2 we looked at. My sense is that if you fork over the money, schools will find a way to take it (waiting list, shmaiting list).
- Generally by district
- No idea about Sarasota schools
- Kid friendly? South Tampa

I have heard people from just about every mid- to high income part of the metro area claim, with near certainty, that their district's public schools are the absolute best. It's really hilarious.

Nearly every parent is under the impression that their child's school is not only the "highest rated" in tampa/st. pete, but also that it is widely known and agreed upon by everyone.

The following steps are by no means foolproof or water tight, but I would suggest:

1. Consider both public and private, but narrow your search to only A-rated public schools (which doesn't narrow things much).

2. For public schools especially, take a look at the family composition in those districts. Try to identify areas/neighborhoods that attract a lot of educated professionals with families, or at least families that share your educational values/traits. The key here is to dig into the demographic data, and not fall victim to anecdotes or "conventional wisdom". The data is out there.

3. Spend some mornings visiting candidate schools. This is the most important step of all. While we had about 5 schools left after steps 1 and 2, after completing step 3 we immediately decided to send our child to one of the 2 private schools on our list. Visiting really underscores huge differences among your choices.

Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Tampa Bay`·.¸¸ ><((((º>.·´¯`·><((((º>
4,554 posts, read 6,908,153 times
Reputation: 13522
"Of this group the best overall for kids would probably be East Lake, then Palm Harbor. Check out Cypress Woods Elementary in East Lake. It's "A" rated and scores a perfect 10 on Great Schools. Cypress Woods is part of the East Lake High School district, which is the only high school in the Tampa Bay area to receive a grade of "A" the past five years consecutively."

This is absolutely true. Outstanding schools in my area.

FLCash>

Look in the photos for this forum, you will see the photo of Honeymoon Island in Dunedin. Outstanding beach , located very near Oldsmar.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:33 AM
 
22,453 posts, read 33,308,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaKash View Post
Ha, thanks Kyle. Maybe I should start looking at homes up in that area. Are there any beaches near that area though? BY near, I mean within 5 miles.
The southwest side of Palm Harbor would place you around 5 miles from Caladesi Beach and Honeymoon Island. Check out the neighborhoods between Tampa Road and Curlew west of Belcher.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
1,881 posts, read 3,264,359 times
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I love the elementary and middle schools we've found in Pinellas. We haven't sent the kids to any of the schools that are rated poorly, and there are some of those for sure.

The magnet schools, at least the ones we've found, are very good, and we've been exceptionally happy with our son's ASD programs.

I DETEST the administration in Pinellas county. I don't know if it's the same in Hillsborough or not, but talk about a group completely unable to engage their brains. We moved recently and the headache that ensued because of it was (is) completely unbelievable.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:46 AM
 
22,453 posts, read 33,308,041 times
Reputation: 21954
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnichols2 View Post

I have heard people from just about every mid- to high income part of the metro area claim, with near certainty, that their district's public schools are the absolute best. It's really hilarious.

Nearly every parent is under the impression that their child's school is not only the "highest rated" in tampa/st. pete, but also that it is widely known and agreed upon by everyone.

The following steps are by no means foolproof or water tight, but I would suggest:

1. Consider both public and private, but narrow your search to only A-rated public schools (which doesn't narrow things much).

2. For public schools especially, take a look at the family composition in those districts. Try to identify areas/neighborhoods that attract a lot of educated professionals with families, or at least families that share your educational values/traits. The key here is to dig into the demographic data, and not fall victim to anecdotes or "conventional wisdom". The data is out there.

3. Spend some mornings visiting candidate schools. This is the most important step of all. While we had about 5 schools left after steps 1 and 2, after completing step 3 we immediately decided to send our child to one of the 2 private schools on our list. Visiting really underscores huge differences among your choices.

Good luck.
FYI, I don't base off of conjecture...so it's really not that hilarious. I find facts to be the most relevant and utilize them whenever posting on C-D for the most part, especially when I am trying to help find the right place for those moving into the area. Great Schools is an excellent source for information about schools, as is the FCAT site. Wikipedia is an excellent source for demographic summaries. All three point toward East Lake as an excellent option for the OP's criteria. Of course school visits are the best tool but in the mean time the OP can and will probably compile a short list for review. Lastly, I post frequently about Oldsmar/East Lake because for whatever reason Tampa suburbs like Wesley Chapel, Lutz, New Tampa and Land O' Lakes generate a disproportionate amount of attention on this forum in regard to school quality and housing. IMO it's good to receive information about all legitimate possibilities versus a select few.
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