Thanks for shedding light on this, the social aspect IS a big factor. I agree the test scores don't indicate much really, how schools teach the test, etc. Did you read my post on the stand. test my K had to take this week?
I have an appt. to tour the school in our district with my dd next week. As far as I know, where our new house is, the kids all go to the local ps's. DD is now finishing at a charter school IN the same district but I have to drive her there everyday, at 7:45am! So, the drive to the other school district to me is not appealing in the least. I don't mind the drive but if the local ps's are good, I'd rather her take the bus (she wants to!).
It's funny because our charter school boasts 'academic excellence' but their state scores are about the same as the elem. my dd would go to for 1st. But yet, ppl are putting their kids on these wait lists to get their kids into H.A. because they think it's better (like I did). My dd has an awful teacher this year. She isn't warm or loving to the kids at all. So, one of my main concerns now is that I want my dd to have a NICE teacher. I want HER to be happy where she is.
The good news about the schools, even though they've had this bad reputation (for whatever reason) is 1) the district is in a rich county, the county spends $ on the schools and are more progressive at making changes 2) They pass their school bonds..they just got a new HS four years ago (the county we lived in prior couldn't pass a bond to save their butt and the kids are crammed in like sardines in portable classrooms) 3) because our city is in the northern end of a very wealthy and populated county, more ppl are moving further north to our area = more $$ moving in..
It's sad how a school or city can have a trashy reputation and then can't shake it. There are drugs everywhere, there are going to be trouble makers in every school!
So, I'll keep you posted on my visit next week. The pricipal (lady) sound very nice and I personally have a friend who taugh in this school for 7 years (she is a SAHM now) and said the teachers are young and ambitious, she knows my dd and thought it would be a nice place for her. So, we'll see.