We are in the very early stages of (hopefully) relocating our family to the Houston area. What are some of the best public schools? What are some of the best preschools? I would prefer preschools that are 3 days a week instead of 5 and am open to private preschooling. But, for K-12 we are looking for an excellent public school. Thanks.
Houston is a gigantic geographic area so if you are more specific about what side of Houston you are looking at, there might be more people that can help :) Are y'all considering the suburbs or do you want to be close to hubby's job? Are you looking to use public transportation? Okay with a long commute?
Like pp said, most preschools are private here and many offer 3/day weeks programs.
School districts here are all rated based on the Taks test and you can find the districts scores online. Also, it really depends on what your idea of good is. For instance, I live in an area with an excellent school district but we live on the wrong the side town and have one the worst elementry school in the said district so we are homeschooling.
Sorry if that is not much help but without more infor it is kinda hard to offer anything more than generic advice.
I think a great preschool would be a place where children went 3 days a week for short days so that they can interact with other children and learn skills that will prepare them for school (such as how to interact socially with peers, follow teacher's directions, learn pre-writing/writing and pre-reading/reading skills) in a very loving, nurturing environment.
For elementary school, I would like a public school with excellent teachers, the means to care for and educate students who are below, at, and above the curve, plenty of opportunities to make learning fun, and a place where lots of parental participation at the school is welcome.
For high school, I want a school that is competitive with a strong emphasis on academics and plenty of opportunities for things like debate, athletics, band, etc. I want my children to be VERY prepared for college (should they choose to go) when they graduate. It is also very important to me to find a school for my children where there are not excessive discipline problems.
At all grade levels, I don't really care what style of teaching the school uses as long as my children are happy at school and learning. I would also like to get planted in a school system and end up staying there for K-12.
I don't care beans about TAKS scores. I went to school in Texas and it seemed to me at the time (back in the days of TAAS) that if you were learning what you need to learn, you would pass the TAAS test without even studying for that specific test.
I know this is all very basic stuff, but in the city I currently live in, there are a lot of public schools where this basic stuff is not provided. In fact, good public schools are few and far between and you've got to jump through a lot of hoops to get your children into one.
I didn't mention a specific location because we are VERY open. DH has not found a job down there yet and is applying all over the place. It seems like most of the places he has applied for have been around central Houston/downtown, but he has also applied in the Sugar Land area. We are willing to buy a house a long distance from DH's work and increase his commute if we must in order to get our children into a nice school. Public transportation would be fabulous but we are not banking on that in any way. For us, relocation is all about the school and we are willing to do what it takes to "make it work."
We have only been in Houston for a couple years but off the top of my head, The Wodlands, Sugarland, and Katy come to mind. I dont' know much at all about Houston's different school districts but hopefully some more people with chime in.
You know, you might research which schools won last years Debate, Academic Decathalon and other UIL competitions. Sports can be really, and I mean really competitive to make the teams at the high school level but there are lots of outside leagues for kids to play in (YMCA, etc.)
We live in Katy. Feel free to pm me if you want some more specific info about our area. Good luck with your search, I do think this is a great area to grow up in!
As I mention, I was raised in TX so I know just what you mean about the sports teams. Some schools seem to take it a bit far IMHO.
If by chance we get a employment nibble out in the Katy direction I will certainly PM you. Thanks so much!!
Are there any areas you would suggest we avoid?
If you decide to live anywhere near it, we have been happy with DS's preschool which is called Becker Early Childhood Center. It's in Houston proper, inside the "loop." They offer a range of options from three short days to five extended-care days. They are Reform Jewish-affiliated and located at a synagogue, but about 40% of the students are not Jewish, if that makes any difference to you one way or the other.
I don't know a whole lot about the elementary schools.
Honestly- I work with kids on both ends of the curve and there is NOTHING public here that does justice to both ends of the curve. :( Really nothing that does a decent job with either end of the curve.
Plenty do okay with the middle. A few don't do disastrous with one end or the other. Not one district could I say does decent with both ends.
I was afraid of that. It is that way here too. I had hoped that with Houston being as big as it is that there would be something, somewhere that would suite us.
The reason I say I want a school that covers the spectrum is because I have two children. The oldest is 4 and smart. The youngest is just a baby (8 months) so I have no idea what he will be like academically. I'd like to have all my bases covered. But, if I can't do that, I guess, for the moment I would have to pick on that did best with smart kids and if my L.O. turns out needing something different I will cross that bridge when I get there and find him what he needs at that time.