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#1 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok here is my long story. Hope I can get a fresh perspective.

Background info:
DD is in 3rd grade at a great charter but it only goes until 6th grade, and actually 5th and 6th are combine because at 5th everyone goes to one of two super accelerated charter prep schools. I have to put in our application for the school of our choice one year ahead of the start to be entered into the lottery. DD is very shy and has a good group of friends, but all will be heading to the prep schools come 5th grade.


So the first question, if you had the choice of these schools which would you choose

a) Super accelerated prep school. 3 hrs homework a night. Named best school in the country by Newsweek. Friends will be there. No extracurricular activities and no time for them either. 5th grade called Boot Camp.


b) Private Christian School. 7 k a year. Safe atmosphere, can be overly judgemental towards people who do not fall into their idea of who a Christian should be. Great extracurricular and academics, but not ridiculous.


c) Public High School/Jr High. 3,000 students. High instance of STDs (highest in the state to be exact). Large amount of Drugs and alchohol. Population of lower income and super wealthy mixed. Great AP and extracurricular offerings. Great resources available.


d) Charter Traditional Academy. Accelerated academics, but small amount of homework. Not as many resources as public school available. Will have some sports but would have time for outside activities not affiliated with school. K-12, so DD could start whenever and sister could be at same campus. Just getting started, 3rd year, have heard great things. Less is known because school is newer.


All, but public and private schools will have lotteries.


And second question, if you chose D, what grade would you make the switch 4th, 5, 6, 7th?

THanks for the input.

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#2 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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What's your daughter's learning style? Does she thrive on being super busy? What about sports and arts? I know she's young but do you think by personality she would be good about resisting peer pressue?

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#3 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MsBirdie View Post
Ok here is my long story. Hope I can get a fresh perspective.

Background info:
DD is in 3rd grade at a great charter but it only goes until 6th grade, and actually 5th and 6th are combine because at 5th everyone goes to one of two super accelerated charter prep schools. I have to put in our application for the school of our choice one year ahead of the start to be entered into the lottery. DD is very shy and has a good group of friends, but all will be heading to the prep schools come 5th grade.


So the first question, if you had the choice of these schools which would you choose

a) Super accelerated prep school. 3 hrs homework a night. Named best school in the country by Newsweek. Friends will be there. No extracurricular activities and no time for them either. 5th grade called Boot Camp.
Would only do this option if DC was gifted/bored or otherwise driven academically. Do no base on if 'friends' will be there but rather on your DC abilities and personality. Some kids thrive on this kind of pressure, others it is awful and too much strain academically and/or does not allow for outside interests - dance, sports, etc- Depends on the DC.



b) Private Christian School. 7 k a year. Safe atmosphere, can be overly judgemental towards people who do not fall into their idea of who a Christian should be. Great extracurricular and academics, but not ridiculous. Hmmmmm I would lean again this if there is judgemental opinoins of others. But that is just me. FWIW I work at a Christian school setting and I love it, but our student body is very diverse and non-judegemental (it is nondenominational)


c) Public High School/Jr High. 3,000 students. High instance of STDs (highest in the state to be exact). Large amount of Drugs and alchohol. Population of lower income and super wealthy mixed. Great AP and extracurricular offerings. Great resources available. Potential. If you think your DC would enjoy the resoureces and/or extra curriculuar activities--- I would worry about the STD/alchohol---but also know that ANY HS setting will deal with these things (even if they are not reported- as in a private school setting) and you as a parent and your DC selection of friends will be the biggest influences against 'negative' influences


d) Charter Traditional Academy. Accelerated academics, but small amount of homework. Not as many resources as public school available. Will have some sports but would have time for outside activities not affiliated with school. K-12, so DD could start whenever and sister could be at same campus. Just getting started, 3rd year, have heard great things. Less is known because school is newer. This would be my personal pick. The acceleration/ability to participate in outside activieies is huge. Kids need to be challenged at school, but also allowed to explore outside interests. I would be tempted to try it out. I would switch a DC during a natural 'transition'-- depending on your area and how they divide the grade. Probably at the next possible major adjusting---elemtary to middle/or junior high. For us that would be start a new school in 6th grade (1st year of middle school) or 9th grade ( 1st year of HS)
I would rate your DC choices and your own choices and see how they match. Them apply and see what the lottery brings....and take it from there. The lotteries would be the hardest to get into---if you dont make the lottery then go to your next choice. Or if first choice does not work out try the second.



All, but public and private schools will have lotteries.


And second question, if you chose D, what grade would you make the switch 4th, 5, 6, 7th?

THanks for the input.
see above in orange type
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#4 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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"D" would be my preference and I would switch when middle school begins at the next school, but since you have a lottery I would try right away.

We moved ds from our local ps that had six kindergarten classes last year (and more this year) to a K-12 charter school that has two classes per grade in elementary.

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#5 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is very shy, artistic, and gifted but also has high anxiety. She really hates homework but is fast at it. Right now she throws her own pottery and sews really well. Resources are a plus but we can supplement that if needed. I guess atmosphere is big for me becuase she is so shy. So, smaller calmer environments work better for her.

I am leaning towards the last choice, but am wondering when the change should occur.

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#6 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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a) Super accelerated prep school.
This sounds unhealthy to me for most kids. I'm all for strong academics, but there is more to education than just academics. I think participation in extracurricular activities is important to the development of the whole individual. I'm also very opposed to loading down kids with endless amounts of homework. I can see a certain kind of child doing well in this environment, but not most, and it's not what I'd want for my child.


b) Private Christian School.
I'm an atheist. This would be a non-starter.

c) Public High School/Jr High. 3,000 students. This would probably be my choice. My kids are pretty good at judging character, and they tend to make nice friends. In this kind of environment, if you have a kid who gets in with the right crowd and is self-motivated, they'll do fine. They will benefit from the AP and the resources. Drugs, alcohol and sex will be at all four of these schools. If your kid wants to get into them, they will. If they don't, they won't.


d) Charter Traditional Academy.
I'm completely opposed to charter schools, so this would be a non-starter.
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#7 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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DD is very shy, artistic, and gifted but also has high anxiety. She really hates homework but is fast at it. Right now she throws her own pottery and sews really well. Resources are a plus but we can supplement that if needed. I guess atmosphere is big for me becuase she is so shy. So, smaller calmer environments work better for her.

I am leaning towards the last choice, but am wondering when the change should occur.
Tough one. Here are my random stranger on internet thoughts:

I wouldn't necessarily put a budding artist in a Christian school but that may be due to my own emotional baggage - but I think a school that discourages expression of certain emotions/realities would be bad. For me I'd eliminate it.

I went to a very rigorous academic school beginning in grade 7. I loved it and thrived there despite the pressure. (There was plenty of that.) The kids were all a bit nerdy which made for what I would call a narrowing of social pigeonholing - there were still more popular and less popular kids but everyone was reasonably decent, learning and art were cool, and most kids didn't get into a lot of trouble. The anxiety would be a pretty big issue though and I think that's a serious concern. But I might take her on a tour of it and see if she likes the feel, and then give support on the anxiety end. I would want her in for the "boot camp" year if so.

The public school would depend on making some connections for her to feel like a part of a smaller group within it I think. I would check out whether there are art clubs or that kind of thing where she could thrive.

The charter sounds lovely but so do most schools from the outside. I'd want to talk to parents whose kids are currently enrolled.

In any of the above cases I would definitely be prepared to switch again if things did not work out.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#8 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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I'd choose the public hs. But what grade would that begin? And where would she go from 7th until the beginning of hs? (hs begins at 9th here, and began at 10th when I was in school, so I'm assuming hs doesn't begin at 7th).

I, too, have a basically anxious kid (4th grader), who does better in small, calm environments, but I'm fairly certain she will be much readier for a big high school by the time she is that age.
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#9 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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I wouldn't let the "high instance of STDs" keep my kid out of a school. You can still teach your own values to your children, regardless of what their classmates are doing outside of school. My own high school, I found out years later, had a reputation for its high drug use rate. I never personally hung out with the drug users. In any large school, there will be a variety of students with a variety of backgrounds. Just because some students have sex and/or use drugs does not mean that your kids will automatically do the same, nor is the rigid Christian academy any guarantee that your kids won't get involved in those things either.

I'd probably have D for my first choice and C for my second choice. As for when to switch, I'd need more information. Just how many of her friends will stay for 5th grade? How many for 6th? When would her sister be starting school D if you can get both kids into it? Switching both kids the same year would make sense. Otherwise, I'd keep the older DD in this school through 4th grade (when all her friends are still there) and then switch her to public school in 5th, 6th, or 7th, depending on what the school is "really like" for 5th and 6th grades. There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a tiny classroom, and whether it's a good fit or not depends on your child.

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#10 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Well, I can only base on what would work for my own children.

School A) No. My kids need super-accelerated work but they don't need 3 hours of homework a night. Not only do they not need the homework to master the curriculum but both are extremely passionate about their extra-curricular activities. My high schooler, for example, spends a good 15 to 20 hours a week in theatre. Taking that away from her... well, it would be cruel and crushing.

School B) No. We aren't religious and I wouldn't put them in a school of that nature. I'd also not be eager to take on tuition for 2 kids... I'd have to go back to work full-time and I really like to be around after-school (I work part-time mornings currently.)

School C) Probably not but I'd want a lot more first hand information. I've learned that schools are more than published statistics. If I had a child who tended towards poor choices in friends or too heavily influenced by them... certainly not.

School D) Yes, of these choices and with the info you've given, yes. If it's lottery, I would start putting their name in now in hopes that 2 or 3 years is enough to get in (that's how many tries it can take at some of our charters.) My kids don't really need the school activities as they prefer to do them outside of school.

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#11 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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Of the choices you have, I would have to pick D.

I can't say enough bad things about three hours of homework a night.

Schools should broaden a person's mind not foster judgments of others based on religious beliefs.

I don't believe that any pre-secondary institution should have 3000 students. I usually recommend students try do their undergrad at a university that size. 3000 students is not a school, it's an education factory.

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#12 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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A sounds too intense. B would never work for us--I could not participate in any kind of Christian education. C could be great if there are lots of interesting extra-curricular options and other programs as long as you are doing your job being a good parent (which I'm assuming you are). D sounds interesting too. I generally think smaller schools meet the needs of middle schol kids much better than big middle schools/junior highs. I've taught in a big middle school and tiny K-8 school, and I think most kids in the small school are better off. But intelligent, independent kids with solid parents have the potential to thrive in either situation.
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#13 of 26 Old 10-07-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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D sounds like the best option to me. I can't imagine 3 hours of homework a night - how can that be beneficial? The other choices just don't seem as appealing to me as D.

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#14 of 26 Old 10-08-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I'll go with the crowd and say that D would be my first choice.

And, honestly, C probably my second choice (though look into it, of course). All the things you are concerned about existed at my public high school, and based on your description your daughter's personality is a lot like mine. Large high schools can be big and intimidating, BUT, if you find the right group of people (I found choir and a few sports), all that dumb stuff going on around you just kind of... doesn't really matter. Sure, the rednecks and the gangster wanna-bes were partying and drinking and who-knows-what-ing on the weekends. My friends and I were driving around taking dumb pictures of ourselves in weird outfits and then having coffee at Perkins .

A sounds like it could drive a sensitive kid crazy. B sounds like it could be an emotionally/spiritually scary place for someone who doesn't "fit the mold."

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#15 of 26 Old 10-09-2010, 12:53 AM
 
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C is my first choice, starting whenever the school starts middle school/junior high. So, if they start middle school in 6th grade, that's a good time to switch. If it's 7th, then that's a good time. I think that a larger school with more resources is more likely to have niche that your daughter could fit into. The mix of AP and regular classes is nice, and enrichment is nice. I have faith that our family teaching will be strong enough to help our kids navigate issues of drugs and sex. (And don't kids yourself that these things aren't issues at other schools either!)

D would be my second but a distant one. I'd be worried about class size, enrichment opportunities and the like. I am also not sure I want my kids to be guinea pigs while a new charter school figures out what they want to do. Will there be enough kids for a range of classes? A small class size can be great or stifling.

I wouldn't do A because I don't think that super accelerated prep schools are necessary for the majority of kids. Profoundly gifted children need a different type of education, not just more, faster. Children who are more typical certainly don't need that kind of pressure.

I wouldn't do the Christian school because of the judgmental aspect. Dh went to a school like that, and is quite bitter about his experience. It's also not a value that I want taught to my kids. There's a difference between exposing your children to a variety of values and putting them in a school that directly or indirectly teaches something I disagree with.

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#16 of 26 Old 10-09-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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Given what you have said about your daughter's personality I would think that A or D would be the best choices. Choice C would be tough for a shy kid. I struggled in a big Jr High and HS as a shy kid. I was happiest when I ended up switching to a private prep school.

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#17 of 26 Old 10-09-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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put in applications for all the schools with a lottery. If you decide she shouldn't go there after she gets a spot you can turn it down and it will go to the next student on the waiting list, but if you don't put in an application and then regret it, you are just out of luck.

On the second question, I would say put her in in which ever year she is actually offered a slot. If you turn down a slot in 6th, there is no guaranty you will be offered a slot in 7th.

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#18 of 26 Old 10-10-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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Given what you have said about your daughter's personality I would think that A or D would be the best choices. Choice C would be tough for a shy kid. I struggled in a big Jr High and HS as a shy kid. I was happiest when I ended up switching to a private prep school.
I was also a shy kid, but I thrived in a school like C. I had been in a private religious school prior, and going to a school like C was the happiest day of my life back then.
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#19 of 26 Old 10-11-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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i would say either c or d.

i think that kind of academics are not wise with any child. they need to have down time. my mother taught at a school like that and the kids all burnt out before college.

also- if she has anxiety you do NOT need to add fuel to the fire.

it is also easier to be a star student when there are no other stars, but when you are a star student with a whole school of overacheivers you don't stand out.

my brother had a girlfriend who had the choice between going to an A or C school. she went to the C school and totally stood out for her academics and extra-curriculars, got scholarships to every school she applied to. had seh gone to the A school, she wouldn't have stood out at all, she would have looked like everyone else who went to school with her.
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#20 of 26 Old 10-11-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't necessarily put a budding artist in a Christian school but that may be due to my own emotional baggage - but I think a school that discourages expression of certain emotions/realities would be bad. For me I'd eliminate it.
OP, all of your choices are mind-boggling, so I won't even vote. So depends on your DC. But I want to address GuildJenn's post. ITA. I am an artist, and christian school was a HUGE disservice to me. The whole memorization track, the lack of certain creative thoughts and ideas, it was really crippling. I'd pick anything else over it.
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#21 of 26 Old 10-11-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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OP, all of your choices are mind-boggling, so I won't even vote. So depends on your DC. But I want to address GuildJenn's post. ITA. I am an artist, and christian school was a HUGE disservice to me. The whole memorization track, the lack of certain creative thoughts and ideas, it was really crippling. I'd pick anything else over it.
Wow! Talk about a HUGE, massive overgeneralization! My children go to an amazing Christian school. There is no lack of artistry or creative thought at their school. Just as most on here wouldn't want people to make an overgeneralized comment about Montessori or Waldorf you shouldn't make one about Christian school. It is, dare I say, bordering on bigotry. JMHO.

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#22 of 26 Old 10-12-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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When my son was in 3rd grade we needed to move, and part of the decision was whether or not to change schools. I decided to stay in the same city, because the middle school attached to his charter school seemed like a great fit for him -- small, consistent with my family values, lots of hand holding for the kids, gentle . . .

This summer we moved again, solely because of schools. He's now in a big public middle school with a reputation for lots of pressure, changing classes every 45 minutes, and high demands for independence. It's probably most like the first school on your list and it's perfect for him.

I was really unprepared for how much he changed between 3rd and 5th grade, and how his needs changed too. In 3rd grade having my family values reflected by the school seemed huge -- by 5th it was clear that he had absorbed them and was ready for the wider world. In 3rd grade, having one teacher he was close too was crucial, by the end of 5th he wanted to be learning from experts in their fields which meant a teacher for every subject. In 3rd not having too much homework was a big concern of mine -- by the time we moved it was clear that he's got good planning and organizational skills. He's at a school with a reputation for 3 hours of homework a night, but routinely comes home and tells me that he got X done during the study hall they have during homeroom, he read Y chapter on the bus, and that he finished Z last weekend while I was sleeping in because he knew he'd want free time during the week.

So, while I can't tell you which school to pick, I can tell you to expect your daughter to change in wonderful ways between now and then, and that by 5th grade you'll have a lot more clarity about who she is as a person and her own priorities. She'll know a lot more about where her life is headed, and which skills she'll want to develop too.
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#23 of 26 Old 10-12-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Wow! Talk about a HUGE, massive overgeneralization! My children go to an amazing Christian school. There is no lack of artistry or creative thought at their school. Just as most on here wouldn't want people to make an overgeneralized comment about Montessori or Waldorf you shouldn't make one about Christian school. It is, dare I say, bordering on bigotry. JMHO.
Take it how you like. I wrote specifically about MY experiences. It was a huge disservice to me. And I would not chose it for my children. I didn't write about you or your experiences, or even christian schools in general. I wrote about my experience with christian school. It's presumptuous of you to read into a post what has not been written.
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#24 of 26 Old 10-12-2010, 03:42 PM
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For my oldest son, I would choose D or C. For my second, I'd choose A or C. It really just depends on the kid, however, the big school with AP classes has something for everyone. I'm not against big high schools (elementary is a different story).
If you do decide to go with D I think the sooner the better since it's K-12.
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#25 of 26 Old 10-12-2010, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

It is hard when I am sure she will change over the years.

I know that every school will have its drugs, kids doing bad things, however at our local public school it is VERY prevalent. There are also a lot of great kids that go there to that are merit finalists and go to fantastic colleges. It is just so big. I went to that same school when I went too school, so I speak from experience.

I think the Christian School will probably not be the way to go just because of tuition and having heard bullying and bigotry is big at the school.

And, I really do no want them getting 3 hrs a night.

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#26 of 26 Old 10-14-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I've been following this thread with interest because I am will be in a similar position next xear, having to pick an elementary school out of five possible choices. One of the things that have been bugging me is that some of our choices are one-off opportunities and there is no way to correct a mistake.
I imagine that like in our case, the one school that is always an option is the local public school, so if the charters or the private schools don't work out she could always switch for high school. It may not work the other way round - for instance in our case, the private Catholic school his name is down for is holding a place for DS to start there, but once classes are full they're full, it's highly unlikely we could get him in say for second grade if we felt the public school wasn't working.
There may also be problems with making the switch to a school with a very special educational philosophy or intense academic atmosphere at a later date because another choice isn't working. In our case, there is probably not much point wanting to start Montessori or language immersion after 1st.... I imagine that choice A for instance isn't a good place to switch to after 6th grade or so, and D might also be a place you'd want your child in sooner rather than later if she is to enjoy it and thrive.

So I'd go for one of the smaller, more familiar, non-public alternatives first, knowing that the switch to public high school is always an option if at some point she feels limited by the smaller classes, fewer extracurriculars etc., and she might handle the size of the school better when older.
"Boot camp" school does not sound right for your sensitive artistic DD.

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