My DH and I are separating and I need to find a cheaper house to live in. I have been searching and searching and finally found one that will work perfectly for us (it's actually right next to the public grade school, and is one of the preferred schools we've chosen). The only problem is that it would be zoned for the high school that is 50% disabled and learning delayed by population (they have special progams at this school for those populations including a "special olympics" etc.). (I truly apologize if I am using any innapropriate terminology).
Academically, from a provincial standarized testing point of view, it is considered a very bad school. It ranks very low in Math and Reading, it has a reputation for being "rough" and that the police are "always there", not sure how true that is. I have always thought that it was the one school we would avoid since it didn't seem strong academically and I didn't like the idea of violence in school if the police really are always there. I did not know it ran special-ed programs, that was not why I had decided against it, it was really based on the academic reputation and the reputation for violence.
However, in falling in love with this house, I decided to take a closer look at the high school to see how bad it really might be. My older son will enter high school in about 6-7 years. I do believe that high school is very important in that this is where your child will develop friendships with kids who will influence them in good/bad decisions during difficult teen years, and it also sets the stage academically for what universities you are accepted in to, how your grades are, etc. that become so important when establishing a career later in life.
However, when I actually look at the school website, it appears to have some wonderful programs, including a chess club, it is very active in math competitions, science clubs, groups that help needy families, help save the environment, and clubs geared at helping other students, there are dance, theatre and music clubs, french clubs, history clubs, even a "mock trial" club for students taking law (my son thinks he wants to be a lawyer lol). It really sounds like they have some great programs. Many of the sports and athletic teams have both non-disabled and disabled streams.
The school also offers several apprenticeship programs not offered at any of our other high schools, including a special program that is designed for high achievers/gifted students who can take 2 university level courses in high school.
So, if I hadn't heard otherwise I would have thought this was a great school by looking at their website. It really sounds like there is something for everyone and that the school tries to incorporate all abilities in to all programming. My son has always had a heart for those are are challenged - he always helps other kids in his class who don't understand the work, he is very patient, gentle and kind to one of our family friend's son's who is delayed, (we were amazed at how naturally this comes to him) and he got quite upset when kids at his current school were laughing at one of the disabled kids at his school. In some ways, I think it would be a great opportunity to be in a school like that to learn about inclusion, different abilities, compassion, etc.
However, he has tested borderline gifted and really needs a strong academic environment. He is also very skilled at sports and loves them, and so I think he would really thrive in an environment where there are a lot of opportunities to be challenged academically and be on strong sports teams. I'm not sure this school has very strong sports teams, and it's hard to tell about the academics - it has such a bad reputation.
WWYD? Would you consider it? I will not put my kids through another move - I did that as a kid and I swore I would never do that to my kids, and they had a very difficult adjustment with the move to the new house/school we had to do 2 years ago to our current place, so I will do one more move but I will not move them again after this so I want to make sure it's right for us long term.
I grew up going to one of the very best schools in the province, and currently we live in the catchement area for one of the very best schools in the province (but a different one). That is why we moved here, just for the schools. But I'll have to go in to a tiny townhouse with no backyard if we stay in this neighbourhood versus that neighbourhood we can get a decent sized house with a nice large yard on a quiet street, walking distance to the schools, etc.
Thoughts and feedback?