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I have two boys - one is in Kindergarten the other is a toddler. We are moving and are trying to decide between two houses - both boys will have to start at public school for grade 1.

The first house is zoned for a public school I like, (just get a good feeling about it, it scores fairly well academically, the people are really nice, very open-door atmosphere) and it is the school that DS's best friend in Kindergarten will go to, which means they can continue to go to school together, (I already moved him from the daycare he went to from 11months to 3 1/2 and he was devastated about moving from that best friend, and it took a loooong time to get settled in his new school, new friends, etc., so this is important to me). The elementary school goes from K-8, meaning he could stay at the same school right through to high school. It is also zoned for a very good French Immersion school, which is a route we will likely go - as his friend probably will - so we have a few options. However, the high school it is zoned for is not strong academically, it is known as a "sports" school, with strong athletics, it is HUGE, has a bit of a reputation for bullies and very far from the house. It is in a bit rougher area of town, though not horrible. DS has had problems with being bullied, he is very academic, and will need to continue to be challenged academically from what we can tell. Though he does love sports too...

The second house is great - huge pie lot, nice area, near recreation centre, pool, shopping, libarary, etc. But it is zoned for a terrible public school, rated one of the lowest in the region (over 70% of the kids score below the provincial average on grade 3 and 5 reading, writing and math). He would not stay with his best friend either. The house is in a very nice area, but the school is in a very rough part of town. He'd also have to move to a new (though decent) school for grades 6-8. It is zoned for a good French immersion school that goes from grades 1-8, but if that doesn't work out, we are stuck with the horrible public school - no other option. However, the high school it is zoned for is very close to the house (so they could walk easily), and it is a good high school - strong academically, large focus on community service, etc..

How much weight would you put on elementary versus high school quality? It comes down to a quality elementary school with 2 options + stay with friend, but not so great high school, or not so great public school/limited options, leave friend, but good high school?

My brother - at 33 - is still best friends with his best friend from kindergarten, so it is possible he will still be friends with his buddy later on. He had trouble being bullied and I am so afraid of that happening again if he starts a school with no friends.

WWYD?
 

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Tough. But honestly, anything can change and I wouldn't make a choice based on high school, because that's still years away. You could always move just before he starts HS if you're concerned. Also, there's nothing to say the 'sports' HS won't have improved by then too.

I'd go for the good elementary with his best friend.
 

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yup i'd go with the elementary too - based on now. plus i am not sure which one is the lesser of two evils. both are equally important in my opinion.

but having said that i lived in a crappy school area. and i did open enrollment and had dd in a much better school where kids dont beat up kids (5th grade) where they have to be taken by ambulance with broken bones. yikes!!!!

so there are options if you so desire.

to date i have not come across a single parent who hadnt got into another school thru open enrollment.

so really school doesnt define where i live. i would much rather go with the house and neighbourhood and conveniences that would better suit my family.
 

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I would also vote for the good elementary school, especially since it's k-8.

A whole lot can change in 8 years, and who knows where you will be or what other HS options may open up in that time. I would definitely choose the house with the elementary school.
 

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I would go for the good elementary school, since your kids are still young. If you currently had a high schooler and an elementary aged child, and the schools in one location benefit one child and the other location benefits the other, it would be a much tougher decision to make.

High school is still more than 8 years away. A lot can change in that time- either with the quality of the school itself, a charter school could open, or your family situation might change, making homeschooling or private schooling an option. Your boys will also grow up a lot by then- just because he's susceptible to bullying NOW doesn't mean he'll still be like that when he's a 9th grader.
 

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As a high school teacher who's taught in an overcrowded, underfunded city school, I say go for the elementary school. It's really hard to overcome a bad skills foundation, but with good parental involvement, it's possible to get a good education even with a lackluster high school.
 

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I see you're in Toronto - it's not too hard (depending on the particular school you want) to go to an out of area secondary school, especially if you pick a special programme like IB or the arts or whatever, so I'd pick the elementary. It's a nice holdover from the old collegiate/secondary/technical system.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
It's really hard to overcome a bad skills foundation, but with good parental involvement, it's possible to get a good education even with a lackluster high school.
ITA!

I place a lot importance on the early years, for me it's about building a good foundation (social, emotional and academic). Stick with the here and now and go for the elementary school.
 

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While I agree with everyone else about going for the good elementary and crossing the highscool bridge when you get there, there were a couple of things that I wasn't clear about in your post.

First, is there something wrong with the first house? No yard, bad neighborhood?

Second, would your DSs have the option to go to the same French immersion school that the BF is likely to attend no matter where you live?
 

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My opinion could be biased since I've spent the last five years studying early childhood development. But I say definitely go for the better elementary school. There is nothing more important than a strong foundation, and if he receives that from a great elementary school then his core will be strong enough to get him through a tougher high school. I do agree with PP in that the home environment is more important than either of the other two, so if you're feeling pulled toward a certain home definitely take that into consideration too.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I see you're in Toronto - it's not too hard (depending on the particular school you want) to go to an out of area secondary school, especially if you pick a special programme like IB or the arts or whatever, so I'd pick the elementary. It's a nice holdover from the old collegiate/secondary/technical system.
That's what I was going to say too. Get a good start with the nice-feeling elementary school, build up warm fuzzy feelings about education, then explore options for high school.
 

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Originally Posted by mammastar2 View Post
That's what I was going to say too. Get a good start with the nice-feeling elementary school, build up warm fuzzy feelings about education, then explore options for high school.
I agree with this. I also agree with the PP who mentioned preschool. The most important years in a child's life is 3-6, what Maria Montessori called "the sensitive period" of learning. Personally, I think a good elementary school would be more important.
 

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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
definitely, the good elementary school.

To me, it's the most important "time of learning" and will impact the rest of their education.
ITA, so much essential learning goes on during elementary school. I also love the idea of a French immersion school. Learning a second language will be so beneficial.
 

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I'll add my opinion in favor of the house with the good elementary school.

In addition to all the things already mentioned, keep in mind that transportation to out-of-district schools is much easier with older than younger kids. Most kids start driving in 10th grade, and depending on the area and the available options, public transportation can be a safe option.
 

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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I would also vote for the good elementary school, especially since it's k-8.

A whole lot can change in 8 years, and who knows where you will be or what other HS options may open up in that time. I would definitely choose the house with the elementary school.
Yep. My real estate agent told me that most folks move or change homes within 5 to 7 years. That's gives you plenty of time to make new plans for high school.
 

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I'd much rather live in an area with good high schools than I would elementary but in your situation if a school is K-8th then I'd go for that since your children are so young.

I think all elementary schools could work well because kids are just easier at acclimating themselves at younger ages than they are once they become teenagers and younger children tend to get along well with anyone. I may be wrong but I'm going on my own experience with my children so far.
 
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