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#1 of 36 Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Currently, both my kids attend a small, private, crunchy school. My DH and I are becoming increasingly unhappy with the school, especially for one of our daughters, who is gifted and wants to be an engineer. The math and science program is the pits, and if she stays at the this school, she will not be prepared for college at all. She might not even be prepared for community college. The fact that we are paying for it and the education is inadequate just makes it worse.

 

We are looking at her options, and checking out other schools. We have several charters, plus we live in a "good" district. Our local public high school has 1900 students, and that just freaks me out. I'm trying to get a hold of someone to get a meeting, and even that is difficult.

 

We have a high ranking charter right down the street, and in some ways, it's great. But it is overly academic to the exclusion of everything else. It's all about AP classes, which they start having the kids take in 8th grade. They say to plan on a minimum of 2 1/2 hours of homework a night. They do, of course, have amazing test scores and get their grads into great universities (with lots of scholarships), but at what cost? I want to make sure my DD gets a solid highschool education -- I don't feel she needs to be getting a college education  while she is still highschool age. KWIM? They don't even have a school choir. My DH loves it (he and I took a tour yesterday) and our DD has agreed to shadow a student there for a day and see what it is like. I'm sure she could do it if she really wanted to (she is very bright, hardworking, etc), but I have serious reservations.

 

I called another charter and have a meeting there next week and feel better about it, but it is 45 minutes from our house. A friend of mine recommended a 3rd charter, and I'm going to call them tomorrow.

 

We don't know when we will make the switch. She might finish out the year where she is -- she has friends and she is happy. But she isn't going back next year. We are down to figuring where she is switching to and when to make the switch.

 

I am so stressed out. I feel really angry that her school has allowed the program to deteriorate the way they have. I hate that we have to have her switch. And I felt so good about this decision when we made it that it is really making me second guess everything about picking a school.

 

We've moved a zillion times and she has had so many upheavals. When we put her in this school, we told her that she could graduate from here, that she wouldn't have to switch again. But things are really bad -- she is not getting a highschool education.


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#2 of 36 Old 11-01-2012, 11:11 PM
 
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(((Hugs)))

 

Is there any chance that you can make the private school work by supplementing the maths and science courses or even taking them elsewhere? When we looked at high school programs for DD for next summer, I was impressed by the number of intriguing science options I found that could be taken in place of regular school courses. One research laboratory offered a summer intensive experience working with a research team. The students earned high school co-op credits in biology, chemistry, physics or engineering as well as getting invaluable experience. Our Science Museum offers high school science and math credits. That program is offered as a semester of study during the regular school year. The students choose 3 courses for the semester and also complete practicum hours.  

 

Just a few ideas in case you were still thinking of ways to work with the current school. Good luck finding a good solution for your DD. 

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#3 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 04:10 AM
 
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Argh, I'm sorry the school isn't working out.

I'm not clear what grade she's in now, and what level math is she currently taking? In terms of AP tests and whatnot, the one that really matters for those wanting to go on in the STEM fields is calculus. The first semester of calculucs (AB) is a key prereq for all those majors, and students that come in with the first term of calculus done have a dramatically easier time. So, if you are making compromises with the choices, this might be one that you want to taken as a necessity. There are other ways, you can realistically take all the math from pre-algebra on in a community college,but you are in a class with math phobic students until you get to calculus.

2.5 hours a night is a lot, but would work out to 30 minutes per class, which isn't out of bounds. A gifted, well-organized student will also be able to do a lot of that work more efficiently.

Good luck with your decisions. All solutions are temporary. I'm sorry to hear that this school might be a temporary solution for your daughter. greensad.gif
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#4 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is 14 and in 9th grade. She is currently in geometry, but the class only meets twice a week (for an hour each time) and is taught by someone with a degree in psychology.

Paying for private school is the biggest line on our budget, even more than housing. Ironically, if we didn't pay for private school, we could easily afford to hire a tutor or sign her up for an extra class , but with her in this school, we are tapped and therefore very limited in our ability to make up for the deficiencies.

There are several other problems at the school, some of which don't directly effect her. However, they are effecting enrollment, and the drop in enrollment is causing part of the cause of the academic problems. The school is short on students, and therefore short on money, and therefore short on qualified teachers.

She has some good classes this year, but the core students she takes classes with are seniors. We have no hope after they graduate this year. Her good classes are history, English, and choir. History and English are taught by the same teacher (who is wonderful) but she has hinted that this is her last year.

The charter with the intense homework load has mostly gifted, motivated students, and I suspect that the 2 1/2 hours a night is how long it takes a bright kid who,is very together to get through it. I suspect that at first, it would take my dd longer because she would be starting behind. We would also have to put her back a grade. She has a summer birthday and is on the lyoung side for her current grade, so it wouldn't be the end of the world. But I'm not in love with the idea.

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#5 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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If she's doing core classes with seniors and is doing Geometry this year, would she really need to start a year back? Other than math, where she's well situated, the courses aren't really cumulative, are they? Two of my kids jumped into advanced courses from a lifetime of unschooling at the 10th grade level without any real difficulty. Obviously they had to learn the basics of what "being a school student," like how to structure their time, how to write a short essay, what's expected from a powerpoint assignment, how to study for and write a test, and so on. But beyond those inevitable little learning bumps, academically they were able to keep up with other students at an advanced level without having fulfilled all the previous implied prerequisites. 

 

Alternatively, is there any chance of finding her a friendly smaller public high school and using the extra money freed up by not paying private tuition to enrol her in tutoring, CC classes and such?

 

Miranda


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#6 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At the charter down the street, she would need to go back a year because they are working at such an aggressive rate. They all take their first ap class in 8th grade (world history). They all do algebra 2 in 8th grade (which she hasn't had) and take pre-calculus in 9th. They have more requirements for graduation than any other school, and even if we switched her next week, she wouldn't be on track to graduate without going back a year.

(we sat down with the head of school, her transcript, and their requirements and sequence). Even though the courses aren't cumulative, economics and ap world history, both of which are taken in 8th grade, are graduation requirements, and every year is packed with more requirements so there's no room to make up missed classes later. If we switched her after this year, even if we put her back a grade, she would still be 2 classes behind.

It's a nice school - about 100 kids per grade, well qualified teachers ( they are a great place to work so can cherry pick) beautiful new building, very dedicated involved parents, and lacking many of the problems common to American high schools. It's also 15 minutes from our house. But they are a little crazy. She's doing one day there next week and hopefully she'll be clear if it is a fit for her or not.

She wouldn't be behind at the other high schools I've looked at. The charter is one of the highest ranked high schools in the US.

Our public high schools are all around the 2,000 mark. The charters are smaller, but finding a sane, solid one is a bit tricky.

Btw, writing all this down and trying to explain it is very helpful for me! Thank you for the comments.

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#7 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 08:14 PM
 
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I am not sure what community colleges are like in your state, but here we take anyone.  Is it possible to open enroll your dd in math classes either at another school or community college?  You could also sign her up for cc math classes over the summer.  The cc I teach at even offers online classes that count towards college credit and many other cc do, too.   My last thought, have you looked at the Khan Academy classes online.  They are free and not for credit, but they could be good supplemental work for the time being.  

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#8 of 36 Old 11-02-2012, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had never heard of Khan Academy -- what a cool web site!  I will explore it more.

 

I didn't get a call back from the public school, so I just stopped by there today. I actually liked it in spite of its size. It's a fairly new campus and was designed for so many students, so it isn't overcrowded. I was in a hallway during class change and it wasn't that bad.

 

They have a lovely music and choir program and an academic track that would be appropriate for her. I'll sit down with a counselor next week and go through her transcript with them and see how everything with translate. It's really feeling like more of a sane option -- she can still take AP classes and all that, but at a more reasonable rate and while also having a more balanced life.  DH still like the crazy charter, but agrees that she would most likely be happier at the big public, and that counts for a lot.

 

I think I'm prejudiced against big public schools, and I'm not sure why. Because its a big school they have a lot of options for classes, clubs, etc. Every one there seems really nice. It's a beautiful campus -- we live in a mild winter climate and the corridors are outside and some have views of mountains. To walk to the gym and performing arts center, you walk through a garden area. It's lovely. The library is inviting. I don't understand my snobbery about public schools.

 

It's like its the default school, and I really want to make sure she's at the BEST school. I'm having trouble with the idea that the best school might be the free one with a bus that goes through our neighborhood.


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#9 of 36 Old 11-03-2012, 03:56 AM
 
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Look into having your daughter shadow at each of the schools under consideration.

 

School size - in either direction - can be rather kid-dependent. My son went to our local public HS, which runs around 1500 students. I had wanted him to go to the specialized science HS, but he wasn't interested. In retrospect, it was the right choice - for him. He had the option of taking all the APs he wanted to, but also the possibility to take music classes (including at an AO level), get involved in their drama and choir programs, etc. When he started, he was considering engineering of some type. He's now a Junior at a conservatory, studying Music Comp.

 

My daughter went to the specialized science HS. Enrollment hovers right around 200. All classes are taught at a college level, so they don't have APs, per se. But they have the possibility to get college credit for most of their JR/Sr year courses, should they choose. For HER? That was the right choice. It was a completely different environment, and while she would have done well at our local HS, the small size worked better for her.

 

Let your daughter visit all the options, and then give her a strong voice in which she prefers.

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#10 of 36 Old 11-03-2012, 05:51 AM
 
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In the meantime, while you are considering your choices for the next school year, maybe your daughter can work to strengthen her math skills on mathletics.com? It costs much less than a tutor and she may actually find it fun.  If she is consistent in her use of it, it should help her.  It has a free trial period; you guys could check it out before signing up -- it might be worthwhile to look into.

 

Good luck with your decision.  

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#11 of 36 Old 11-03-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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Of the choices you describe I would lean most heavily toward the big public school. It is big, but for some kids that's part of the appeal. You get to meet a wide variety of people and with luck find someone you really click with. 

 

For my dd1, however, it would not be a good fit. She's got anxiety issues. She is really liking the small charter (middle+high school) she's at now, but academically it is pretty challenging for her. It doesn't have the depth and breadth that she could get at our local public middle school which is probably one of the best in the state, but the small size and added flexibility (they will give her extra time on a test w/o an IEP) more than makes up for that for her. 

 

For my younger dd, I could see her making a different choice. She may decide to follow dd1 to the charter, but she might decide to go with her friends to our local middle school and then on to our local high school. Different kids have different needs and the public high school might really be the best fit for your dd.

 

Part of me really regrets that our local public schools are not a good fit for dd1 because they are very good and they offer such a great variety of people, subjects, extracurriculars, etc., but I feel fortunate that she seems to have found her place and is comfortable at the charter.

 

I'm wondering about the homework load in the public high school, though. My kids aren't that age yet, but I think 2.5 doesn't sound abnormal for any high school. I think it's too much, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's about how much our local public high school gives.


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#12 of 36 Old 11-03-2012, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is scheduled to shadow for a day at the charter this week. The public won't let her shadow, but she can have a tour and meet with the choir director. They do "get" the idea of drawing kids into their area of interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
I'm wondering about the homework load in the public high school, though. My kids aren't that age yet, but I think 2.5 doesn't sound abnormal for any high school. I think it's too much, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if that's about how much our local public high school gives.

 

This is a really good comment and I've spent some time going over the requirements, bell schedules, etc for both schools.

 

2.5 is the minimum -- not an average or maximum. The charter has a longer school day and shorter class periods, so the kids have 8 classes each day. Every class is a heavy class with lots of outside work. For example, this is the standard schedule for 10th grade:

 

1. AP English Language

2. AP Calculus AB

3. AP Biology

4. Honors Chemistry

5. AP European History

6. AP Economics

7. Foreign Language (all kids are expect to go through the AP level, but not by 10th grade)

8. 1 elective -- but the electives are all really heavy, such as AP Art History, or AP music theory.

 

If each of those classes had 30 minutes of homework one night, that would be 4 hours. And I'm suspecting that some of those would routinely have more than 30 minutes.

 

At our public school, the class periods are a full hour and they have a standard 7 hour school day , so kids only have 6 classes each day. The advanced track for 10th grade would look something like:
 

1. Honors 10th grade English

2. Honors Algebra II

3. Honors Physics

4. AP World History

5. Foreign Language (kids are encouraged to take 2 years of the same foreign language, and must do so to graduate with honors)

6. Elective such as choir, drama, tennis, etc. The electives look fun and enriching, and most don't look like they would have much (if any) homework

 

They have an optional period that meets an hour before the regular school day starts and has selected classes if they want a heavier schedule or more electives during the regular school day.

 

So the charter has 3 classes more every day that are going to have homework and tests and all that. It's an extremely pressured schedule.

 

Also, for a lot of subjects, they just offer the AP class. The public school has a "pre AP" track of honors courses that correspond to AP classes.  So even for the exact same class, such as AP Economics, (which both schools offer), the public school better prepares the kids and has an hour of class more each week.

 

Ironically, a lot of the kids who go to the charter end up at colleges that don't accept AP credits. It seems a pity to me that we've evolved our educational system to teaching to tests, and the more tests you pass, the less you are around people who value passing tests.


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#13 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 05:02 AM
 
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I think the public school schedule looks a lot more reasonable. I do think there can be too much push push push (think "Race to Nowhere") and unless your child is really ambitious and has her heart set on one of the top 10 universities I just don't think it's worth it. I know many people who are very successful in their careers who did not go to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, etc, and more importantly I know many people who are happy and satisfied with their lives and the AP classes or non-AP classes they took in high school have zero to do with what they're doing now and how happy they are.


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I would rule out any school that's 45 minutes away -- I'd be a nervous wreck trying get DC to a school that far away and even worse letting her drive there herself! I think the big public and the academic charter sound like really good options. Is the academic charter something that your DC can for sure get into? In my city those schools are HIGHLY competitive both academically and simply in terms of enrollment. Waiting lists run a mile long. With the rigor and homework load, I think it's a good choice IF the program is a good fit for your child. I also think the big highschool sounds like a good fit for your DC. In three short years it sounds like you imagine her going to college. I wonder if a large highschool is a good stepping stone for that next experience? 


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#15 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 05:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

It's like its the default school, and I really want to make sure she's at the BEST school. I'm having trouble with the idea that the best school might be the free one with a bus that goes through our neighborhood.

 

I can relate to this!  I really love the idea of selecting the school that's the best fit for my DC. Maybe it's this deep feeling that kids are individual learners that we're trying to stay true to?  Your DC's neighborhood highschool sounds really lovely! 


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#16 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 06:45 AM
 
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There is a culture to MDC that tends to start with the assumption that the local public option is the worst choice. We're finding a lot of advantages with attending the neighborhood school. Granted, my kids are in elementary school, but I strongly suspect we'll stay though high school (though I admit that might change after Tuesday when we vote on the local school levy.)

I think that in the vast majority of large, public schools, being on an AP track leads to a solid education. Teaching to the test is really only a problem when it's a bad test. AP exams require writing, analysis, showing ones work clearly, and other things we actually want kids to learn.

What is the passing rate of the AP exams at that charter school? I'd be surprised if it's that high, particularly for the tests taken in 8th grade.

I would urge you to find an actual classroom or in-person means of getting her the math instruction and feedback she needs to be on track for algebra 2 next year regardless of the school you chooses. Khan academy, mathletics, etc are great for small topics, but once you get to things that require showing work and logic -- all of geometry-- this really requires someone showing and maintaining the discipline of the rigorous mathmatical communication.
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#17 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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There is a culture to MDC that tends to start with the assumption that the local public option is the worst choice. We're finding a lot of advantages with attending the neighborhood school. 

 

I think this is true in a lot of alternative circles, not just MDC. We had our kids at a small crunchy private school prior to last year mainly because our dd1 with anxiety needed a smaller environment and while I do still think it was one of the best choices we could make for her, we just sent dd2 there because big sis was going. She would have been fine starting in public K. A lot of the other parents at the private school seemed really biased against public schools. We never intended to go down the private school path, but it was just the best choice at the time.

 

Since we have moved to public dd2 has really come into her own. There's a large, diverse (both ethnically, culturally, and economically) student body and she is able to make friends with a wide variety of people. The private school was very small and insular and really even a little too small for dd1, but too small was better than too big for her issues. We had a few girl clique issues there and while that certainly happens in big public schools, too, it's easier to get away from in larger schools because there are so many other kids you can choose to hang out with.

 

I think in a big public school if you're not the kind of kid who gets lost in the cracks you have a lot of opportunity to be exposed to a diverse student body and find your own way. In a smaller setting you're lumped in with who you're with and you hope you can get along with them. I see the kinds of stuff that our local high schools do and I think some of it would be so cool for our dds to do. However, for my dd1, the smaller charter is really the right choice. We will most likely let dd2 make up her own mind about where she wants to go. I think both our local middle and high school are excellent and the charter is great, too. 

 

If your dd is itching to do the intense academic load of the charter I'd give her the chance if you can get in. If it doesn't work out she can always fall back to the local high school. If she's unsure about the academics at the charter the public school might be a really good choice for her. My nephew went to the top public high school in the country according to US News from a few years ago. It is one that you have to be nominated for/qualify for academically and is a STEM school. I think he enjoyed his time there, but ultimately he did not choose a STEM field (he was an ECON major in college). His sister went to the local public high school where she was a very high achiever (ran track, editor of the school paper, one of many valedictorians) and it was the right choice for her. I think they and their parents were all very satisfied with their high school choices and their college choices, too. That may be due to confirmation bias, but I do think it worked out for them and either choice will probably will work out for your dd, too.


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#18 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, everyone. This thread has been wonderful for me. I was completely stressed and having trouble sleeping when I started this thread. Now I feel clear about what makes the most sense and what the next steps are.

 

I'm strongly leaning toward the public school for a lot of reasons. My next step is to schedule a meeting with a counselor there to go over her transcripts, figure out how her previous work counts, and what classes make the most sense for her. I'll also be discussing the pros and cons of switching her at the semester break in Jan, or waiting until next fall.

 

The pros of switching her sooner are that she'll have more solid instruction in math and science sooner, and we'll have money this spring for a tutor (or whatever makes sense) to help get her up to speed in any problem areas. This is the big reason for the switch in the first place, so delaying just prolongs the problem. Also, I feel like waiting until next fall drags the whole thing out and could make it more stressful for her rather than less. Once the decision is made, why wait? 

 

At the same time, she has several friends at her current school who are seniors. If we let her finish out the year, then they all leave together rather than her leaving in the middle. It might be easier for her emotionally. She agrees that after this year, she won't have intellectual peers at the school to have classes with. Her preference is to stay where she is until May. I feel guilty about all this because we had promised her that she could stay at this school. We've moved a lot and she hates changes. This was supposed to be the plan for both junior high and high school, and I feel badly that I promised her something that I know now isn't in her best interest.

 

The situation at her current school is deteriorating. (They need to replace the head of the school, and I'm not sure if the board has the balls to do it). I fear that if we let her finish the year, something worse will happen, or she may not be able to finish the year anyway. It's all getting a bit bizarre. If we miss the start of the semester in Jan and then realize she really needed to change, she'd be a bit screwed. The public school will take her at any point, but she would have to take the exams at the end of the semester just like everyone else. Starting in the middle of a semester doesn't tend to go well for kids.

 

Any thoughts on when to make the switch?

 

Also, any thoughts as to whether or not its a good idea to take her to the meeting with the counselor? I will be scheduling a second meeting for her to see the school, meet the choir director, etc., but I'm considering already having the plan in place at that point because I think it might be easier for her. Without her, the counselor and I might be able to have a more open, honest conversation.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

I would rule out any school that's 45 minutes away -..... Is the academic charter something that your DC can for sure get into?

 

The drive would be brutal, and I have some other concerns about that school as well. She'll be driving in a little over a year, but it would be a nasty drive for a new driver --- it's all city traffic.

 

The academic charter has one opening. They want her to start as soon as possible if she is going. I really want to make a solid plan and plan for an easy transition. The difficulty of the transition is one of the many reasons I'm leaning against it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

There is a culture to MDC that tends to start with the assumption that the local public option is the worst choice. .... Teaching to the test is really only a problem when it's a bad test. AP exams require writing, analysis, showing ones work clearly, and other things we actually want kids to learn.
What is the passing rate of the AP exams at that charter school? I'd be surprised if it's that high, particularly for the tests taken in 8th grade.
I would urge you to find an actual classroom or in-person means of getting her the math instruction and feedback she needs to be on track for algebra 2 next year regardless of the school you chooses. Khan academy, mathletics, etc are great for small topics, but once you get to things that require showing work and logic -- all of geometry-- this really requires someone showing and maintaining the discipline of the rigorous mathmatical communication.

 

Thank you for this post!!!  I really don't know that much about AP exams -- they weren't a thing a million years ago when and where I was in high school. We've avoided the whole concept. In my heart, I believe in the philosophy that her current school espouses -- that leaving room in high school to explore topics in depth as a class is interested has more value than rushing to get through everything covered in college. It's the execution that I have trouble with.  Whatever path we choose now, it will include AP classes -- the question is how many and when they start.

 

Your post has been leaning toward moving her sooner, rather than later. She would have better instruction at school and we could get a tutor. We would start fixing the problem sooner, rather than later.

 

 

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I think this is true in a lot of alternative circles, not just MDC. We had our kids at a small crunchy private school prior to last year mainly because our dd1 with anxiety needed a smaller environment and while I do still think it was one of the best choices we could make for her, we just sent dd2 there because big sis was going.

 

Wow -- this is so similar to our situation. This thread is entirely about my younger DD, and we really picked the current school for our older DD (who has an anxiety disorder as well as other issues). The switch to the small crunchy private school coincided with a cross country move, and if we could have left DD#2 at her old school, we would have. But she had to switch schools anyway, so we gave her the choice and she chose this one. She's done 2 full years there (so it will be 2 1/2 or 3 total, depending on when we move her) and in some ways, it has been good for her. She's had experiences she never would have had and grown as a person. But this isn't the right place for highschool for her, and I'm not even sure if they will be able to keep the doors open until she graduates.

 

None of the schools I'm discussing in this thread would be appropriate for DD#1. She is now 16 and is considering going straight to community college. That's a whole nother topic, and one that is oddly going a lot smoother.

 

This is all about my kid who I'm quite sure would do just fine in any decent school situation. She's bright and hard working, well rounded and friendly.


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#19 of 36 Old 11-04-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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I think that the decision on timing needs to include your daughter in a very real way.

I switched schools halfway through my freshman year in high school. I left a rapidly spiraling school (public) for a small college prep girl's school. It was a radical, dramatic change. Despite that, I'm glad I changed when I did. I was the first of about 15 honors students transfering away from the public high school.
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#20 of 36 Old 11-05-2012, 05:37 AM
 
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My HS graduating class had almost 800 students. Our county merged it's two high schools in my junior year. It never felt crowded or lost it's intimate feel, even though it must have had 3000 students.If the school was overcrowded and/or understaffed, I'd probably feel differently.

To me, the charter school sounds crazy. Just reading your posts make me tired. I'd meet with the public school and make a decision, but it sounds like a good choice.

My kids are still in elementary school but I love our public school. The teachers are terrific and I love it's diversity. DS was first on the waiting list for a charter school but didn't, and won't get in. I'm ok with that.
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#21 of 36 Old 11-05-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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I switched my oldest son from a very large and academically driven public school to a small private school last year, partway through the year in 2nd grade, and while it is not high school, it went smoothly.  And while I'm very glad we made the change, we are rethinking school for him for next year for various reasons.  I can relate to the frustration of having to rethink schools often, and having different kids with different needs (though none of our kids have specific health or learning issues, they are very personalities with different learning styles).  I just wanted to comment that my husband teaches AP gov't in a good public h.s., and the homework load is much more compared to the non-AP class.  When I saw the charter school's curriculum I couldn't believe it, and I was thinking if they had as much work per AP class in that schedule as my dh gives for his class (between 1-2 hrs), they would spend between 5-10 hours per night on homework!!  Am I reading that correctly--they really take 5 AP classes as sophomores???  

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#22 of 36 Old 11-05-2012, 05:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

The situation at her current school is deteriorating. (They need to replace the head of the school, and I'm not sure if the board has the balls to do it). I fear that if we let her finish the year, something worse will happen, or she may not be able to finish the year anyway. It's all getting a bit bizarre. If we miss the start of the semester in Jan and then realize she really needed to change, she'd be a bit screwed. The public school will take her at any point, but she would have to take the exams at the end of the semester just like everyone else. Starting in the middle of a semester doesn't tend to go well for kids.

 

Any thoughts on when to make the switch?

Linda with this paragraph I am not sure I want to hang around at her present school. I would do the move sooner.

 

I know you have a lot of other issues you need to take into consideration for your dd's individuality. but 3 schools have closed in our district. two privates and one charter. the common thing with all 3 was when the spiral happened they went down really fast. a couple of my friends decided to hang in there and they had to change really fast as the end came as a real surprise.

 

if you think your dd will need instructions the earlier the better.

 

perhaps have other plans in place to help her cope through this change. it may or may not be hard for her. initially yes but she just might fit in pretty well - esp. if she has the support at home.

 

i would first talk to the counsellor alone and get all your questions answered. then i'd definitely take dd in and focus on issues that are hers. i have found with my dd is that she really values other's validation of what mom is saying. perhaps your dd might be more open to deal with the challenge.

 

through my and my family's experience i have found unless there is outright bullying or terrible circumstances, having the empathy and support at home really really helped make the transition.


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#23 of 36 Old 11-05-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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As a family who went from a small, private, very alternative, crunchy school to the local public school, I can understand a little of the anxiety and bias about ps.  I had assumed small, etc. was exactly what my oldest needed, and the reality was that she thrived in the larger ps setting.  On top of that, as a parent, I could understand the curriculum, it made sense, there was a clear progression, qualified teachers, and accountability.  In the private school the problems ended up being everyone/everything else than the actual teachers/curriculum.. It was intensely anxiety producing.

 

My oldest will be in hs next year.  she has been asked a few times to consider applying to a small private hs, and she pretty clear that it's not for her.  The larger public hs is her first choice.  It's been interesting to see how competent she feels in negotiating the academic and social demands of the ps.

 

Good luck Linda!

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I would rule out any school that's 45 minutes away -- I'd be a nervous wreck trying get DC to a school that far away and even worse letting her drive there herself!

 

My daughter's HS was 45 minutes away. If she didn't take the bus (then it was closer to 1 1/2 hours). Once she got her license and had had some practice driving on the parkway, she either drove to the central bus point or to school every day. It was fine.

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#25 of 36 Old 11-07-2012, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE:

 

I've ruled out the intense charter school, at least for now, and canceled her day to shadow a student there. It would make all our lives too crazy for the next 4 1/2 years.

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 When I saw the charter school's curriculum I couldn't believe it, and I was thinking if they had as much work per AP class in that schedule as my dh gives for his class (between 1-2 hrs), they would spend between 5-10 hours per night on homework!!  Am I reading that correctly--they really take 5 AP classes as sophomores???  

 

yep, and it could be 6 AP classes depending what elective is chosen. Nearly all the classes are AP classes. It's insane. The school has a reputation for producing kids who get into and get scholarships at top universities, and kids who have nervous breakdowns.

 

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Linda with this paragraph I am not sure I want to hang around at her present school. I would do the move sooner.

 

I know you have a lot of other issues you need to take into consideration for your dd's individuality. but 3 schools have closed in our district. two privates and one charter. the common thing with all 3 was when the spiral happened they went down really fast. a couple of my friends decided to hang in there and they had to change really fast as the end came as a real surprise.

 

I'm trying to get an appointment with a counselor, and I'm having trouble making that happen. The big public school is a complete PITA on the phone. irked.gif  but it currently looks like our best option.

 

We still have 2 months to decide if she is switching at semester, so I'm trying to let go of making that decision right this minute. I go back and forth in my head. I have tracked down a couple of good books to help review/teach algebra and geometry at home and I'm feeling more confident that she can be on track for math at the end of the year even if she stays where she is. (my husband is an engineer and at one point I was good at this stuff).

 

I think a fallback plan if she stays where she is past January but then things go completely to hell before the school year ends,  could be homeschooling. Neither she or I are cut out for homeschooling at this point (we are former homeschoolers).  Her work wouldn't transferred to the highschool (unless we find an regionally accredited correspondence school or something like that). But if we decide it would be too emotionally damaging for her father and I to remove her right now, it still doesn't mean that she has to continue at her current school if SHE later realizes its time to go. 

 

Really, the very worst thing that could happen is that she starts her freshmen year all over again next year at the public school, and while that's no body's first choice, it wouldn't be the end of the world. She'd end up graduating the week she turns 19 instead of the week she turns 18.  

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by karne View Post

 In the private school the problems ended up being everyone/everything else than the actual teachers/curriculum.. It was intensely anxiety producing.

 

There are a couple of very good teachers and classes at her current school. Part of the problem stems from a lack of accountability or procedures -- things guaranteed by the public school system. The experience has soured me on private schools. (which is odd because I graduated from one!)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

 

My daughter's HS was 45 minutes away. If she didn't take the bus (then it was closer to 1 1/2 hours). Once she got her license and had had some practice driving on the parkway, she either drove to the central bus point or to school every day. It was fine.

 

I have an appointment at the charter that is 45 minutes away. I'm going over there on Friday. I'm not crazy about the idea, but I do want to check out all reasonable options and truly figure out what is best for her. There is the chance that other kids from her current school could end up there because it is more closely aligned to the same philosophy. For some families, its a reasonable location if they live between it and the current school.

 

There is a 3rd charter than is downtown (also a long drive) that already has some refugees/friends from her current school. I've toured it, but felt that it wasn't ideal for her -- better for kids who struggle academically than those who are strong.


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#26 of 36 Old 12-10-2012, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another update:

 

I took DD to tour the nice public high school today and talk to the counselor. She seemed sad and withdrawn, but admitted that it would most likely be a better school for her. She would prefer to finish out the year where she is and then start there next year. Her father and I would prefer to get her out of her current school in January (if she were in a building that was about to collapse, we would pull her out, so it makes since to get her out of a school that is disintegrating) .

 

I think she dreads the transition even though she knows it is necessary. The public high school is awesome -- I like it more every time I'm there.


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#27 of 36 Old 12-12-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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I started at a new (enormous) public school at the beginning of 8th grade, and then a month later moved into another (also enormous) public school. The second transition was actually easier. The first time, I was one small person in a crowd, but starting mid-stream meant that there was much more friendliness on the part of students, and helpfulness on the part of teachers, to ease the move in.

 

We have several friends who have transitioned children from homeschooling into public school this year, and the biggest complaint seems to be not so much the actual volume or time commitment of homework, but how much of it is busywork. 2-3+ hours of actual learning seems much more manageable to me than the same amount of time spent on drills and review.

 

(FWIW, my gut response to the intense charter was, wow, I wish I had had that. I am all for choosing the thing that gives you and your daughter that same feeling.)

 

Heather

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#28 of 36 Old 12-13-2012, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 starting mid-stream meant that there was much more friendliness on the part of students, and helpfulness on the part of teachers, to ease the move in.

 

....(FWIW, my gut response to the intense charter was, wow, I wish I had had that. I am all for choosing the thing that gives you and your daughter that same feeling.)

 

I'm glad to hear that starting mid stream was easier! That makes me feel better about what we need to do.

 

She deserves so much more than she is getting right now, and I'm very hopeful that once she makes the adjustment, she'll be happy. She has been sad and in a bad mood for much of this school year, but has been noticeably perkier since we toured the school. She hasn't said anything positive about the new school to me, but she has to her dad. She was impressed with the facility and the options there for students.


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#29 of 36 Old 01-23-2013, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE --

 

 

My DD switched schools 2 1/2 weeks ago, and there have been some bumps and some good stuff. I think she is starting to settle in. Some nights have been rough because she was behind in some subjects, and she is still having trouble asking her teachers questions and therefore has gotten zeros on a couple of assignments that she didn't understand. BUT she overall likes it and agrees that she is getting a better education. She is starting to like her math class, which is great to see because it used to be her favorite subject. She's also been angry and moody and done some acting out (but what else is a stressed our 14 year old going to do?)

 

My DH and I are really happy with the decision. The things that are hard about the transition have all reenforced that we really needed to get her out of her other school. I wish it were easier to start at a new school, but at least she is at the RIGHT school now.
 

Emaye likes this.

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#30 of 36 Old 01-24-2013, 05:08 AM
 
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Linda that is fantastic news. I am so happy for your family. 

 

Do they assign ur dd a buddy in each class since she is new to help her out like they do in elementary school? 

 

it touches my heart that she can is enjoying math again. 

 

acting out, moody, angry - sounds like a 14 year old. 


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