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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are moving to Baton Rouge this summer. I need advice on good neighborhoods and school districts. My 5yr old will be in 1st grade and has qualified for gifted, and my 3yr old is in pre-school. I know there are a lot of Montessori schools and gifted programs. Any opinions? Also what neighborhoods can I find cool mama's with young kids?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I'm an ex-Baton Rougean, but I grew up there and was there for 25 years before moving to Virginia. There are a lot of great neighborhoods in BR, and basically you want to stay away from flood-prone areas like those around the Amite river around Joor and Hooper roads and the area west of Highland road between the bluff and the river, just to protect your property value. Safety-wise, the south half of the parish is the "family" half, historically; downtown is improving but I wouldn't raise little kids in Spanish Town or Beauregard Town; and the area north and east of the Exxon refinery is pretty bad. Around the LSU campus, they're cleaning up the North Gate area, but the South Gates are still the place to be.<br><br>
I don't know what your price range is, but historically neighborhoods like Broadmoor, Shenandoah, Magnolia Woods, Sherwood Forest, and Goodwood were solid middle class family friendly areas. Places like Hundred Oaks, College Town, the Garden District, and Southdowns are a little nicer, and the swanky swanky areas include Bocage, White Oak Landing, and the Country Club. The list has expanded greatly in the last ten years, and prices did soar after Katrina due to increased demand, but they seem to have cooled off a bit.<br><br>
As for the school districts ... sigh. The EBR parish public school system is not great. The gifted high school, Baton Rouge Magnet High, is okay, but at the elementary and middle-school levels things are tricky. The parish is involved in the longest federal desegregation case in US history, and this has led to kids being bussed sometimes an hour and a half away from their neighborhoods to satisfy quotas in all the public schools. Montessori is safe enough. Some of the schools are really rough, some aren't. I'm sorry to say it's still quite racially divided there, and the schools in poorer areas (and in BTR, this unfortunately usually means blacker areas) tend to be in disrepair, with materials and security problems.<br><br>
BTR does have a glut of private schools, many religious, but not all, some affordable, some prohibitively expensive. I hope someone else comes on with better advice about the BTR public schools, because my advice would be to go private if you can at all help it. In many places the public school experience enhances a kid's overall educational well-being; this is mostly not the case in East Baton Rouge Parish.<br><br>
The neighboring parishes (Livingston and Ascension) and the separate town of Baker have independent school districts which far exceed EBR's performance. Many parents are moving their families to Baker, Zachary, Denham Springs, Gonzales, and Prairieville for just this reason. That feasability will depend on your job's location and how far you're willing to commute in traffic. Since Katrina, the area has developed a monster traffic problem.<br><br>
Don't let the negative things in this post discourage you ... BTR has some wonderful things about it. It's physically beautiful, there are tons of family-friendly neighborhoods, the draw of LSU and its resources are amazing, and they've recently built a lot of kid-friendly things downtown which are a good resource. I hope you find a great place to live! PM if you need any more information - some background about your jobs and your estimated cost of living could help me give you some less generalized advice.
 

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Hi There,<br>
I'm from Lafayette (1 hr West of BTR) and went to LSU (loved it!) and graduated with an Education degree in 2002. With our course work, we did several observations in local schools, as well as student teaching full-time for a semester.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I agree with what "ktbug" has to say. The problem with the gifted program is that they put the gifted kids at the schools in the worst neighborhood to balance out the racial divide. As far as private schools go, Dunham and Episcopal have wonderful reputations but are very expensive. If you are looking for a non-religious school, I highly recommend the LSU LABORATORY SCHOOL. Teachers there are encouraged to think outside of the box and bring progressive teaching methods into the classroom (I enjoyed watching what went on at that school).<br><br>
In case you haven't heard <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> the south is NOT "crunchy". I'm not very crunchy compared to others on the MDC, but definitely out of the mainstream<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cd.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cd">: compared to my home state. However, BTR recently got a Whole Foods <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/broc1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Broccoli">: and they usually have a Farmer's Market downtown during the spring/summer. It's hard to eat healthy in South Louisiana b/c the food is so GOOD (if you are vegetarian, Cajun food might break you of it)! Be sure to visit "The Chimes" restaurant as soon as you can- there's one at the north gates of LSU and one near Coursey Blvd.<br><br>
Feel free to PM me with any other BTR questions, I still have several friends there and could get you the scoop!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We put an offer on a house in Oak Hills. I'm hoping we can send our son to Parkview as it appears to be the closest gifted school... We are also trying to figure out a good pre-school for our 3 year old. I think he would qualify for gifted, but I don't want him to go all day, I'm not ready for that! Thank you so much for the input! I'm looking at the Montessori's and there are a lot! Have you guys heard about any one in particular?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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Oy, schools ... Parkview is very, very ... how do I say this ... it's kinda Red, if you know what I mean. I hate to inject politics into this discussion, but they're important in my life, and I would definitely take it into consideration when choosing a school for my little one. As in, if I were still living in tha BTR, I wouldn't send my kid to Parkview. Maybe it's changed, I don't know, but when my cousins attended their middle school a few years ago, they were told dancing was sinful.<br><br>
I should probably just take myself right out of this conversation, because I went to Episcopal <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hide">: ... though I begged my mother for years to let me take the test to go to LSMSA. She insisted on EHS. Anyway, the nice thing about the Episcopalians is that they give up the lip service, but they don't brow-beat you with the Bible; you get the cultural frame of reference without all the shame, guilt, and hellfire.<br><br>
I shouldn't assume anything about you or your personal politics; only I feel I should warn you that there are certainly agendas at work in some of the church-run private schools in BR. I wish I knew more about the Montessori program there; all I remember about that is that it was on Highland Road, very very convenient to Oak Hills.<br><br>
And I second lovemy4boys' suggestion about looking into the Garden District (or Southdowns, really; it's gotten really nice); the Perkins road area was always one of my favorite parts of town.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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My DH student taught at Broadmore - I don't remember exactly which grade but it was highschool. For test answers they would say things like "The left lung pumps blood to to the heart and the right lung pumps blood to the rest of the body." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: This was in 2001 or 2002. Not impressive at all. And he also did observations at University High - it's a high school on the LSU campus where education majors can go in any time and observe classes in their field. I think University High was better than Broadmore. But maybe that doesn't help much since you're not looking for highschool right now? I honestly don't know where people with young kids live because we didn't have kids at the time. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think we could send our son to either Buchanan or Bernard Terrace, my mother-in-law says its a 45 min bus ride, but it doesn't look that far on the map. Is the traffic really that bad at 8:00 a.m.?<br><br>
I'm also looking at St. John's UMC children's center. But I found a report online that they had several deficiencies in 2004. I have a friend that sends her child to Jefferson UM Preschool and is happy with that. The church schools are definitely less expensive... I am an Occupational Therapist and want to get part time work, so its hard to figure out where how much $ and time...
 

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COme to Denham. We live a nice subdivision and the schools are great. No need for private school here.<br><br>
OUch - isn't Parkview kind of expensive? Is that what "red" means?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pascal</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8488891"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think we could send our son to either Buchanan or Bernard Terrace, my mother-in-law says its a 45 min bus ride, but it doesn't look that far on the map. Is the traffic really that bad at 8:00 a.m.?<br><br>
I'm also looking at St. John's UMC children's center. But I found a report online that they had several deficiencies in 2004. I have a friend that sends her child to Jefferson UM Preschool and is happy with that. The church schools are definitely less expensive... I am an Occupational Therapist and want to get part time work, so its hard to figure out where how much $ and time...</div>
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I went to buchanan elementary for 3-5 grade. At that time the k-2 gifted was at Highland Elementary and the 3-5 was at Buchanan. (The school moto "where we learn to love and love to learn" was coined by me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> ) I had a good experience there. The gifted classes and regular classes were very seperate from each other. There was a grand total of 1 black student in gifted in my grade. The segregation is really quite sad. We were very sheltered from the misery and hardship that many of the students in the "regular" classes lived in. The neighborhood is in horrible disrepair. However, I never felt unsafe at the school. My classes were filled with middle class kids - mostly white and Chinese.<br><br>
I have no experience with Bernard Terrace.<br><br>
I went through the EBR parish public school system through high school and then on to LSU. Throughout HS and college I tutored area kids in math. Many of the kids I tutored were in area private schools. My impression was that the private schooling they were getting did not academically compare to the education I recieved in the GT and magnet programs - with the possible exception of Catholic/St Josephs HS. The buildings they were in were nicer, and they were full of upper and middle class white Christians, but I felt that I had gotten the better education (I was afterall regularly tutoring these kids). I have many very positive things to say about EBR Parish schools, even after teaching in a very wealthy suburb of Houston.
 

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I live near bluebonnet and burbank. I have many friends attending the montessori schools around here. One is on Highland near Lee (Children's House) and the other is on Perkins near College. PM me for more info.<br><br>
Best wishes and welcome! I am a transplant as well and decided NOT to enroll my children who will be in first and Pre-K this year. They will be homeschooled until we can figure out a better alternative. Schools are too pricey here and not worth the money. Plus you can't get into the ones you want, like Episocopal or the LSU lab school.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just checked this thread. We've been in Baton Rouge since July. My 1st grader is at Bernard Terrace and my pre-schooler is at Jefferson UMC. So far I think they are both having good experiences. I am impressed with what my son is learning at BT and the class seems pretty well rounded. I think he went through a little bit of culture shock, but he is adjusting well. He is also playing soccer with the BRSA and seems to really like it. His team is also multi-cultural and he seems to enjoy everyone on the team. Where we lived before was way too waspy!
 
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