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longhornguy

Schools in the Heights?

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I see a lot of young couples and families in the Heights. Some with toddlers and some with kindergarten aged children, probably frequenting this message board as well.

What do you all plan for elementary, middle and high schools for your children in the Heights?

I understand that Travis, Harvard and Garden Oaks Elementary are excellent schools for young ones, but doesn't seem like there are any middle or high schools worth a flip around the Heights/Oak Forest/Garden Oaks/Timbergrove Manor areas.

My wife and I are desperately trying to stay in the city to plan our family, but it really seems like the forcing factor for a move to suburbia are the middle and high school (lack of ) quality.

Perhaps everyone in the Heights is able to afford private schooling for their children? Or roll the dice on them getting into, and staying in, the magnet/vanguard programs?

Just looking for some opinions from seasoned veterans of the inner loop! :-)

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Harvard and Travis are the gold standard for the Heights area elementary schools. Love is OK, and getting better. Our plan is to hope that Hogg and Hamilton get better by the time our kid is ready for Middle School. For HS, it's either Lamar and the IB program, or shell out for St. Thomas. Unless Reagan or Waltrip get way better than they are now.

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I see a lot of young couples and families in the Heights. Some with toddlers and some with kindergarten aged children, probably frequenting this message board as well.

What do you all plan for elementary, middle and high schools for your children in the Heights?

I understand that Travis, Harvard and Garden Oaks Elementary are excellent schools for young ones, but doesn't seem like there are any middle or high schools worth a flip around the Heights/Oak Forest/Garden Oaks/Timbergrove Manor areas.

My wife and I are desperately trying to stay in the city to plan our family, but it really seems like the forcing factor for a move to suburbia are the middle and high school (lack of ) quality.

Perhaps everyone in the Heights is able to afford private schooling for their children? Or roll the dice on them getting into, and staying in, the magnet/vanguard programs?

Just looking for some opinions from seasoned veterans of the inner loop! :-)

I have a son who will be 4 this month and a 20 mos old. Right now, my older son goes to pre-K at a private school. All pre-k is tuition based, even at public schools. We are very happy with where he is and will probably leave him there for a couple of years since we've gotten accustomed to the current budget. When we have a 2nd going to school, it might be different. We are (not optimistically) hoping to see some changes in the way public schools operate like less teaching to the test, the return of arts, less homework and more recess. These things may or may not come about and we will cross that bridge when we come to it. As far as individual schools, I am zoned to Browning and will not send my kids there. However, I would feel very comfortable with Love, Field, Helms in addition to Travis and Harvard when/if we move him.

I am really not going to sweat middle school. It's six years away and a lot can happen. If Hogg stays open, there are already parents trying to work with our school board rep and HISD to work on the issues the school faces. All the parents who worked so hard to make elementary schools in the Heights viable for their children aren't going to just roll over for middle school. Hamilton has a vanguard program and is considered a decent school. However, I have heard there is a real divide and a lot of animosity between the Vanguard kids and the "regular" students. I heard that from a teacher at the school. I have heard similar stories from people regarding vanguard/magnet at other schools as well. I really don't love that aspect of the way the schools function.

One thing to remember is that if you are in HISD you can enter the lottery and get in to a school where you are not zoned. I know families in the Heights who go to all different schools around the city, from River Oaks to Poe to Garden Oaks and, of course, everybody's Montessori darling, Wilson. Wilson goes all the way through middle. (Side note: Garden Oaks will be all Montessori starting next year, I believe). Because of the lottery system, I don't think location is as important. I mean, lots of people want to go where they are zoned but if you have a nice home in a good area and like it, you have other options for public schools.

SInclair elementary in Timbergrove is also a great school with a very high level of parent involvement. I don't know where those kids would go to middle.

Reagan HS had a multi-million dollar expansion of facilities but did not increase enrollment. It is also the technology magnet for HISD. Again, if your kids are not even in elementary yet, I wouldn't worry about where they are going to go to high school. Suburban high schools (and all schools) are changing all the time as those areas grow and develop. A lot of them have the same issues that city schools have these days. ANother thing to consider is not all schools in a district are the same. Spring Branch has both exceptional schools and terrible schools, so just being in SB district doesn't guaranty a good education.

And just one person's perspective on moving to the burbs--- as a parent, I can see some of the benefits of suburban living. However, my husband works a lot of hours and living close to his office means that he can put in a 10-12 hour day and still tuck his sons in at night. I know people who never see their kids because they commute from places like The Woodlands- leaving before their kids are off to school and returning after they are in bed. Sure, schools are good up there but the best school in the world will not take the place of parental involvement. My brother and I went to really crappy schools and have both done well because our mother never stopped emphasizing that our education was important. We did the most with what we had with great success. The school itself is only half the battle. Besides the commute issues, there are so many other positives about raising kids in an area like this that I think the suburbs can never match.

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Wow, thanks for the detailed response!

We are currently zoned to Memorial Elementary and I do not hear good things about that school. However, I haven't spoken with anybody that with children that go there to get a better opinion.

We are seriously considering a move to Garden Oaks to start our family, especially with the Montessori program.

I guess it is a little early to be worried about middle and high school, but I know it can be traumatic for children to change school zones and familiar classmates.

It will be interesting to see how parents can influence the quality of middle and high schools for the Inner Loop.

Excellent point on the commute issue. It seems like the main driver for the suburban move has been the perception that schools are better out there.

As a child growing up in the Clear Creek School District, I can tell you that drugs, gangs and general "inner-city" problems were just as prevalent in the 'burbs.

We are dreading a suburban move and any support we find here to stay is appreciated!

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We live in the Heights (walking distance to Travis) and although we don't have kids yet, we're more than content with raising a kid up through the Elementary level in the area. By the time any children of ours makes it to Middle and High Schools I highly suspect there will be a monumental shift from the levels we currently see.

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I guess it is a little early to be worried about middle and high school, but I know it can be traumatic for children to change school zones and familiar classmates.

We are dreading a suburban move and any support we find here to stay is appreciated!

One thing I've seen is that, because kids here go to so many different schools, that kids have both school friends and neighborhood friends. We got involved with the neighborhood parents' group when I was pregnant and my sons have friends that they have known since they were born. Now the older kids all go to different schools and have that whole additional group of friends. Also, remember that kids relationships develop a LOT differently than they did when we were kids with email and social media sites. We have some friends who live in Spring Branch, are zoned to a good school but their daughter goes to Duchesne. She is considering leaving because she doesn't want to be in an all girls' Catholic school all the way through high school (she's in 7th grade now). I don't think she is the least bit concerned about keeping or losing friendships because of how they are connected in a different way than we were when we were young.

Also, we looked at Awty as a possibility for our son and a friend cautioned us that "in an international school your kids can lose friends all the time because their expat assignments change, etc..." I thought a lot about that and then realized that in Houston, we have such a transient population, due in large part to the oil industry, that this can happen anyway. Just another thing to consider.

Honestly, the sense of community and the access to arts and culture your kids will have in the city is a great reason to stay. I grew up in a small town and boredom was what caused the most trouble. Friends who grew up in suburbs often say the same.

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I have a son who will be 4 this month and a 20 mos old. Right now, my older son goes to pre-K at a private school. All pre-k is tuition based, even at public schools. We are very happy with where he is and will probably leave him there for a couple of years since we've gotten accustomed to the current budget. When we have a 2nd going to school, it might be different. We are (not optimistically) hoping to see some changes in the way public schools operate like less teaching to the test, the return of arts, less homework and more recess. These things may or may not come about and we will cross that bridge when we come to it. As far as individual schools, I am zoned to Browning and will not send my kids there. However, I would feel very comfortable with Love, Field, Helms in addition to Travis and Harvard when/if we move him.

I am really not going to sweat middle school. It's six years away and a lot can happen. If Hogg stays open, there are already parents trying to work with our school board rep and HISD to work on the issues the school faces. All the parents who worked so hard to make elementary schools in the Heights viable for their children aren't going to just roll over for middle school. Hamilton has a vanguard program and is considered a decent school. However, I have heard there is a real divide and a lot of animosity between the Vanguard kids and the "regular" students. I heard that from a teacher at the school. I have heard similar stories from people regarding vanguard/magnet at other schools as well. I really don't love that aspect of the way the schools function.

One thing to remember is that if you are in HISD you can enter the lottery and get in to a school where you are not zoned. I know families in the Heights who go to all different schools around the city, from River Oaks to Poe to Garden Oaks and, of course, everybody's Montessori darling, Wilson. Wilson goes all the way through middle. (Side note: Garden Oaks will be all Montessori starting next year, I believe). Because of the lottery system, I don't think location is as important. I mean, lots of people want to go where they are zoned but if you have a nice home in a good area and like it, you have other options for public schools.

SInclair elementary in Timbergrove is also a great school with a very high level of parent involvement. I don't know where those kids would go to middle.

Reagan HS had a multi-million dollar expansion of facilities but did not increase enrollment. It is also the technology magnet for HISD. Again, if your kids are not even in elementary yet, I wouldn't worry about where they are going to go to high school. Suburban high schools (and all schools) are changing all the time as those areas grow and develop. A lot of them have the same issues that city schools have these days. ANother thing to consider is not all schools in a district are the same. Spring Branch has both exceptional schools and terrible schools, so just being in SB district doesn't guaranty a good education.

And just one person's perspective on moving to the burbs--- as a parent, I can see some of the benefits of suburban living. However, my husband works a lot of hours and living close to his office means that he can put in a 10-12 hour day and still tuck his sons in at night. I know people who never see their kids because they commute from places like The Woodlands- leaving before their kids are off to school and returning after they are in bed. Sure, schools are good up there but the best school in the world will not take the place of parental involvement. My brother and I went to really crappy schools and have both done well because our mother never stopped emphasizing that our education was important. We did the most with what we had with great success. The school itself is only half the battle. Besides the commute issues, there are so many other positives about raising kids in an area like this that I think the suburbs can never match.

I agree with much of what you say, but you forget one very important thing....It is often quite difficult, sometimes impossible to just enroll in a private school for high school or junior high and high school. The private schools grant preference to the kids who grew up in their schools. Their is a large waiting list of kids who want to do what you have described and use the free education up until it is no longer any good. You literally have to apply like your going to college. The child will have to pass tests to ensure they are at the same level as the rest of the school, and he/she will have to be better and/or more well rounded than the others, and then they have to do the interviews and everything else that goes with these private schools....it can be quite daunting.

I have a 7 month old, and the schools weigh on my mind constantly. My wife wants to stay inner city due to her longer hours, and I am really wanting more space...something in the 5-10 acre range....we will be paying close attention to the schools in our area to see what they do. We are zoned to Love, and I do not think I would put my child there right now. If we stay inner city we would likely move to the other city of the Boulevard to get to the better schools. The schools are the single most important thing to us now that we have a child, and plan on more....what we do in the next 5 or 6 years will greatly depend on the schools, and how many kids we end up having. We want 3, but private school for 3 would be very expensive.

Edit: I also agree that parents can make up for any shortfall of the school system. I blame standardized testing for lots of school problems, but I blame parents more than I blame any school. If a child does not have parents encouraging and stressing the importance of education, and the child is not naturally driven to succeed, it is a recipe for disaster. No school, no matter how good, can replace what a parent absolutely must provide.

Edited by Marksmu

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I agree with much of what you say, but you forget one very important thing....It is often quite difficult, sometimes impossible to just enroll in a private school for high school or junior high and high school. The private schools grant preference to the kids who grew up in their schools. Their is a large waiting list of kids who want to do what you have described and use the free education up until it is no longer any good. You literally have to apply like your going to college. The child will have to pass tests to ensure they are at the same level as the rest of the school, and he/she will have to be better and/or more well rounded than the others, and then they have to do the interviews and everything else that goes with these private schools....it can be quite daunting.

I have a 7 month old, and the schools weigh on my mind constantly. My wife wants to stay inner city due to her longer hours, and I am really wanting more space...something in the 5-10 acre range....we will be paying close attention to the schools in our area to see what they do. We are zoned to Love, and I do not think I would put my child there right now. If we stay inner city we would likely move to the other city of the Boulevard to get to the better schools. The schools are the single most important thing to us now that we have a child, and plan on more....what we do in the next 5 or 6 years will greatly depend on the schools, and how many kids we end up having. We want 3, but private school for 3 would be very expensive.

Edit: I also agree that parents can make up for any shortfall of the school system. I blame standardized testing for lots of school problems, but I blame parents more than I blame any school. If a child does not have parents encouraging and stressing the importance of education, and the child is not naturally driven to succeed, it is a recipe for disaster. No school, no matter how good, can replace what a parent absolutely must provide.

Then I believe that it is important for you to get more involved in your school as soon as you can for the rest that you are about to bring along.

Riding herd over the teachers in a diplomatic way can do wonders, as long as you care about the school overall, and just not your own kids.

I've known a few teachers over the years and schools vary in quality depending on how the parents take a role in their kids education, regardless of where the school is located in.

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I agree with much of what you say, but you forget one very important thing....It is often quite difficult, sometimes impossible to just enroll in a private school for high school or junior high and high school. The private schools grant preference to the kids who grew up in their schools. Their is a large waiting list of kids who want to do what you have described and use the free education up until it is no longer any good. You literally have to apply like your going to college. The child will have to pass tests to ensure they are at the same level as the rest of the school, and he/she will have to be better and/or more well rounded than the others, and then they have to do the interviews and everything else that goes with these private schools....it can be quite daunting.

I have a 7 month old, and the schools weigh on my mind constantly. My wife wants to stay inner city due to her longer hours, and I am really wanting more space...something in the 5-10 acre range....we will be paying close attention to the schools in our area to see what they do. We are zoned to Love, and I do not think I would put my child there right now. If we stay inner city we would likely move to the other city of the Boulevard to get to the better schools. The schools are the single most important thing to us now that we have a child, and plan on more....what we do in the next 5 or 6 years will greatly depend on the schools, and how many kids we end up having. We want 3, but private school for 3 would be very expensive.

Edit: I also agree that parents can make up for any shortfall of the school system. I blame standardized testing for lots of school problems, but I blame parents more than I blame any school. If a child does not have parents encouraging and stressing the importance of education, and the child is not naturally driven to succeed, it is a recipe for disaster. No school, no matter how good, can replace what a parent absolutely must provide.

I have heard the same thing about applyign to inner city private schools. Friends of ours was looking at a reputable private school for their 6 month old, but they recently found out that school requires day care and pre-school done at their facilities in order to qualify for Elementary school applications.

It's a very well-off church associated school, so it doesn't have as much to do with making money as it does with a reaction to the demand they have for Elementary school applications vs. space available.

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I think I would recomend moving into the Lamar district. Wharton elem. has a dual language program that is very good.

My kid recently graduated from Lamar . . . . . huge graduating class over 800----- The IB program is a character building experience(Lamar is the largest IB program in the world!) -- the PTO at Lamar is inspiring --they actually go out and "recruit" (is that the right word?) at private middle schools--the percent of free lunch program is (I think) around 30%-- so the enrollment is more diverse than one might think.

The alumni program at Lamar is incredible also. Lamar is the magnet for business at HISD.

Edited by trymahjong

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I agree with much of what you say, but you forget one very important thing....It is often quite difficult, sometimes impossible to just enroll in a private school for high school or junior high and high school. The private schools grant preference to the kids who grew up in their schools. Their is a large waiting list of kids who want to do what you have described and use the free education up until it is no longer any good. You literally have to apply like your going to college. The child will have to pass tests to ensure they are at the same level as the rest of the school, and he/she will have to be better and/or more well rounded than the others, and then they have to do the interviews and everything else that goes with these private schools....it can be quite daunting.

I have a 7 month old, and the schools weigh on my mind constantly. My wife wants to stay inner city due to her longer hours, and I am really wanting more space...something in the 5-10 acre range....we will be paying close attention to the schools in our area to see what they do. We are zoned to Love, and I do not think I would put my child there right now. If we stay inner city we would likely move to the other city of the Boulevard to get to the better schools. The schools are the single most important thing to us now that we have a child, and plan on more....what we do in the next 5 or 6 years will greatly depend on the schools, and how many kids we end up having. We want 3, but private school for 3 would be very expensive.

Edit: I also agree that parents can make up for any shortfall of the school system. I blame standardized testing for lots of school problems, but I blame parents more than I blame any school. If a child does not have parents encouraging and stressing the importance of education, and the child is not naturally driven to succeed, it is a recipe for disaster. No school, no matter how good, can replace what a parent absolutely must provide.

Love is OK now, and is improving. Our son went there last year. We transferred him to Harvard to take advantage of the IB program that's being implemented there, as it meshes well with his experience in an international school when we lived in Qatar. Absent IB at Harvard, he would still be at Love.

A number of years ago, before we had a child, I used to give my coworkers a hard time for moving ot the suburbs in search of better schools. I sort of understand their point, but we like living in town, and are reasonably happy with the education HISD is providing,

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My child isn't school age yet, but we are zoned to Harvard and plan to use that. Hopefully those six years will be long enough for the improving trend at the Middle School \ High School level to make the concern over school moot, but if not if my child can't test into a good magnet\vanguard program then it is really hard to rationalize paying the outrageous tuition for private school (this of course is easy to say now and is a great rationalization for staying put).

Of course I don't know what kid of student my child will be but I can't tell much from stats like 80% of students passed the TAKS? If my child is above average, then measuring his ability to pass a basic skills test is silly, i'd be interested in what programs they have for advanced students (which it seems most HISD schools typically have plenty). If he is average to below average, I'd be worried about athletics \ extracurricular activities , but probably not private education.

My greatest fear of moving to the suburbs with a middle school \ high school age kid is adding an extra hour(s) between when school lets out and parents get home, in addition to the greater ease of going to extracurricular activities after work.

Additionally, in my casual observation many suburban schools are built in nice new neigborhoods and are good, then start to decline as that group of affluent new home buyers kids matriculate. It is really hard for me to guess what suburban school district will be good 15-18 years from now. I have worked with several people who moved way out for the schools and then sent their kids to private school, which seems the worst possible scenario.

Of course I know these assumptions will change, but that at least is the plan.

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Wow, it sounds like a lot of Heights residents are echoing my concerns I have about the quality of public middle and high schools. Elementary doesn't seem to be as much of a problem, but I guess we are just being risk averse about what to do when our children get to that age.

I am starting to feel like living in the city and having my children go to good public schools is like having my cake and eating it too.

I do agree the grassroots movement to improve Elementary schools will prevail eventually at middle and high schools in the area though. We will probably be in the same boat as a lot of you people because as a former suburb kid, losing two hours each day that I could be spending with my children is unacceptable.

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I agree with much of what you say, but you forget one very important thing....It is often quite difficult, sometimes impossible to just enroll in a private school for high school or junior high and high school. The private schools grant preference to the kids who grew up in their schools. Their is a large waiting list of kids who want to do what you have described and use the free education up until it is no longer any good. You literally have to apply like your going to college. The child will have to pass tests to ensure they are at the same level as the rest of the school, and he/she will have to be better and/or more well rounded than the others, and then they have to do the interviews and everything else that goes with these private schools....it can be quite daunting.

Edit: I also agree that parents can make up for any shortfall of the school system. I blame standardized testing for lots of school problems, but I blame parents more than I blame any school. If a child does not have parents encouraging and stressing the importance of education, and the child is not naturally driven to succeed, it is a recipe for disaster. No school, no matter how good, can replace what a parent absolutely must provide.

Oh, we totally agree on that point as well (has hell frozen over? :P ). I don't think I suggested private for HS would be the easy route. I only discussed public schools. One of the reasons we did pre-K at a school that goes all the way through HS was because we want that option if we don't see any changes in the public school system on the horizon. Please keep in mind, these changes would be public schools across the board, coming down to over all education policy, not just Heights schools.

I am well aware that it's a luxury to be able to be so principled when it comes to things like standardized testing, but if I couldn't swing tuition and had to go the public route, I would feel very comfortable sending my kids to any of the elementary schools discussed and my thing about upper schools is that I think it's too soon to tell. Whether people love or hate this whole gentrification thing, it is and will continue to have an effect on the schools. If Hogg is closed, that could really change up the face of what track lots of Heights kids will take. Reagan is already much improved over just a few years ago, both in facilities and program wise. While it doesn't have the cache or the IB you can get at Lamar, it can still offer a solid education. Lamar seems to have a bad point for every good one, as well. I think in HISD there are more options for HS than there are in lower grades, so by the time the kids we are discussion on here, infants and toddlers now, are in HS there is no knowing what the landscape will look like.

To J008's point, I have a friend who moved to Cypress from the Galleria area after her daughter was born. She bought in a new subdivision that was known for having small, nice, new schools. Before her daughter even hit kinder, they ended up moving. Land is cheap out there and some developer decided to build a bunch of cheap apartments. Not saying this is right (in fact, I think it's kind of disgusting) but friend ended up selling her house and moving to an older neighborhood (still in Cypress) that was more established because the new apartments were bringing in... I don't know... lesser quality people than she expected <_< Either way, the school system she was buying in to was about to (and did) change dramatically and that was in less than 4 years. I know I am preaching to the choir on this point for the most part, but can you have to much anecdotal evidence in a conversation like this? ;)

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Agree, there's no way to know where HISD will be in 10-12 years but I would still urge new parents NOT to discount the other high schools in Houston with very excellent programs.

High School for Health Professions is one. That school has NO zoned students and those who are accepted for enrollment must pass exams and interviews. Or, I should say, it was this way in the mid 90's. Juniors and seniors did intern work in the medical center. This was before the school was officially named DeBakey HSHP. If nothing else, your kid should know whether or not he still wanted to go into the health profession after high school.

HSPVA is another and as I remember, students accepted there also have to have rigid qualifications.

Criminal Justice is another. High School for Engineering Professions has an excellent program also. Bellaire is the Foreign Language magnet high school and Lamar, as has been mentioned, is the business magnet. Or maybe it's a vanguard.

All my kids went to HISD middle and high schools making use of the magnet program. They all graduated college too. There's another thread here about college being a mindset. That's the way my husband and I felt. We preached college from very early on. It was a given and our kids never objected. We also never considered moving outside the inner loop in order to have "better" schools. For years I worked with many folks, in downtown Houston, who lived in the Woodlands, Kingwood, those Klein districts and even south to Clear Lake, Pearland and Friendswood. Their kids did no better than mine and some of those people's kids didn't even try to go to college. At least one did go to jail though.

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HISD is actually pretty amazing for a major metropolitan school district. I used to live in Cleveland, OH. The city schools were basically on the verge of anarchy when I left in the 90s and haven't improved since. Fortunately, there were reasonably priced Catholic schools. But, the city schools were long neglected after white flight to the burbs and never recovered. People who were gentrifying inner city neighborhoods only sent their kids to private schools. At least in Houston there are realistic options.

There is give and take on every angle of the schooling issue. If your child is advanced academically, there are good options at HISD, but they are limited. Fact of the matter is that the academics at the private schools are better. But, private school kids are generally rich kids and very cliquey. They have grown up in the country club with a small group of friends and will always have nicer things than your kid (vacations, new car at 16, clothes, etc.). Yet, at HISD, your kid may seem like the rich kid just because he lives in a house.

For the arts, there is no comparison between what schools in the city offer (public and private) and what is offered in the burbs. Band/orchestra/chorus/theater in schools like Woodlands, SF Austin, and some of the Cy___s are comparable to colleges. Save HSPVA, arts programs in the city do not compare. Yet, kids in the city have opportunities outside school like youth symphony, lessons with symphony members/rice profs, Glassell classes, and so on.

The burbs are generally the place to go if your kid is into sports. Woodlands cross country is one of the best in the nation. Schools like Katy, Pearland, etc. could play against Div II and III football teams and win. But, if your kid wants to be a pro baseball player, Bellaire is the school for that. And the runners at Kinkaid are coached by an Olympic marathoner.

Overall, I really wish that my kid could have the opportunity to go K-12 in HISD and stay in our zoned schools. I really think the experience of growing up and going to school with the kids in your neighborhood is very important. It gives kids a sense of place and belonging. Kids can do fine jumping from magnet to magnet, or HISD to private, or city to burbs. But, the ideal is to have that consistency. Thus, I am rooting for Love and hope that the middle and high schools come around as well (My wife is looking to get involved at Love). It is still a long way off for my kid. It would be great for the Heights if we had excellent K-12 schools without all the worrying about lotteries, transfers and testing into vangaurd. That would do more for property values than anything else.

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Anybody have any opinions on Memorial Elementary?

Seems like a nice facility with the advantage of being in walking distance to Memorial Park and nestled in between two very nice neighborhoods.

I guess Texans can take what they have for granted sometimes, in regards to public schools. I have a colleague from Louisiana and when we were conversing about school options in our area his exact quote was:

"...even the worse public schools in Texas are probably better than the schools where I'm from"

I can totally understand your viewpoint growing up in Cleveland than SM3H

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Anybody have any opinions on Memorial Elementary?

Seems like a nice facility with the advantage of being in walking distance to Memorial Park and nestled in between two very nice neighborhoods.

I guess Texans can take what they have for granted sometimes, in regards to public schools. I have a colleague from Louisiana and when we were conversing about school options in our area his exact quote was:

"...even the worse public schools in Texas are probably better than the schools where I'm from"

I can totally understand your viewpoint growing up in Cleveland than SM3H

In LA it's all about neighborhoods, same as pretty much anywhere. I went to a magnet public high school, and I can safely say that the education provided was miles and miles ahead of the private school I attended from 3rd - 8th grade. I also think the exposure to diversity helps a kid, rather than being stuck in a place with too much sameness.

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In LA it's all about neighborhoods, same as pretty much anywhere. I went to a magnet public high school, and I can safely say that the education provided was miles and miles ahead of the private school I attended from 3rd - 8th grade. I also think the exposure to diversity helps a kid, rather than being stuck in a place with too much sameness.

Private schools can be very diverse. My sons class is 30 students and pretty much every "common" ethnic group is represented at least twice. At Awty, the international school, over 50 nationalities are represented on campus. Public schools can, at the same time, have a startling lack of diversity. Half one thing and half another doesn't make a school diverse. I am not saying there is no merit inyour comment but the generalizations shouldn't be taken as absolute. Diversity/private are not mutually exclusive and public does not automatically = diverse.

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I have been following this thread and note that there are several considerations that have not come up here. Full disclosure: my two kids did private all the way (one still in HS). The choice was primarily academic because when we moved to first Timbergrove and then the Heights, the school choices were not what they were then. In fact, living inside the loop wasn't all that popular yet. Child #1 got into Travis Vanguard but we opted to go private for several reasons. The first was an aversion to the whole TAKS process and bureacracy in general. Private schools do annual testing of the kids but it is as much for continuous self-improvement as to see where the kids fall out. Accredited private schools go through an extensive process every so many years and are reviewed on many factors. I don't see the TAKS system accomplishing much, particularly considering the bar is set so low as to what is "passing".

Other considerations we had were regarding the arts and physical education. Public schools go back and forth on this as funding issues arise, but rarely offer all of it all of the time, such PE and (gasp!) recess daily. Then also we considered the whole PC bit where you can't pray, etc. We weren't looking for a religious environment per se, but we really hate anyone telling us that you can't do such-and-such.

It is my opinion that the better private schools are approximately one year ahead of public. Of course this is not an absolute, because we all know there are examples of great public schools and not-so-great private ones. However, we did not want to find our selves at 6th grade competing with better prepared students for slots in private middle schools. Lanier and Lamar are gold standards in HISD for upper grades, but they are very competitive. I think a kid needs to be pretty self-assured and independent to handle a big environment like Lamar, too. Despite improvements made at Hamilton, I would not consider it then or now.

We got accustomed to the costs of private school slowly: graduating from nanny/day care costs to one in private school, then two in private school. It can be done. Notable is the pricing at Catholic schools. Subsequent children in one family pay much less. The Catholic HS are outstanding and seek to admit interested candidate from Catholic K-8 schools even if they are not quite a well prepared as candidates from better schools.

These are my opinions only so if you disagree, I respect that. I just wanted to point out that the decision is about a lot of factors, not just academics.

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The first was an aversion to the whole TAKS process and bureacracy in general.

That is a very good point and I completely agree. TAKS testing is an exercise in institutional detention for above average children and there is certainly some value to avoiding the amount of time diverted to it.

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I have been following this thread and note that there are several considerations that have not come up here. Full disclosure: my two kids did private all the way (one still in HS). The choice was primarily academic because when we moved to first Timbergrove and then the Heights, the school choices were not what they were then. In fact, living inside the loop wasn't all that popular yet. Child #1 got into Travis Vanguard but we opted to go private for several reasons. The first was an aversion to the whole TAKS process and bureacracy in general. Private schools do annual testing of the kids but it is as much for continuous self-improvement as to see where the kids fall out. Accredited private schools go through an extensive process every so many years and are reviewed on many factors. I don't see the TAKS system accomplishing much, particularly considering the bar is set so low as to what is "passing".

Other considerations we had were regarding the arts and physical education. Public schools go back and forth on this as funding issues arise, but rarely offer all of it all of the time, such PE and (gasp!) recess daily. Then also we considered the whole PC bit where you can't pray, etc. We weren't looking for a religious environment per se, but we really hate anyone telling us that you can't do such-and-such.

It is my opinion that the better private schools are approximately one year ahead of public. Of course this is not an absolute, because we all know there are examples of great public schools and not-so-great private ones. However, we did not want to find our selves at 6th grade competing with better prepared students for slots in private middle schools. Lanier and Lamar are gold standards in HISD for upper grades, but they are very competitive. I think a kid needs to be pretty self-assured and independent to handle a big environment like Lamar, too. Despite improvements made at Hamilton, I would not consider it then or now.

We got accustomed to the costs of private school slowly: graduating from nanny/day care costs to one in private school, then two in private school. It can be done. Notable is the pricing at Catholic schools. Subsequent children in one family pay much less. The Catholic HS are outstanding and seek to admit interested candidate from Catholic K-8 schools even if they are not quite a well prepared as candidates from better schools.

These are my opinions only so if you disagree, I respect that. I just wanted to point out that the decision is about a lot of factors, not just academics.

Actually, I did mention those reasons. I didn't point to TAKS specifically but my first response in this thread said "We are (not optimistically) hoping to see some changes in the way public schools operate like less teaching to the test, the return of arts, less homework and more recess. " As I also mentioned, testing is my primary reason for sending my son to a pre-K that goes all the way through high school. I think that the current state of public education has its focus all wrong but were that to change, I would love to send my kids to public school.

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Private schools can be very diverse. My sons class is 30 students and pretty much every "common" ethnic group is represented at least twice. At Awty, the international school, over 50 nationalities are represented on campus. Public schools can, at the same time, have a startling lack of diversity. Half one thing and half another doesn't make a school diverse. I am not saying there is no merit inyour comment but the generalizations shouldn't be taken as absolute. Diversity/private are not mutually exclusive and public does not automatically = diverse.

I didn't intend to generalize, I was just trying to put a pro-public plug in and remind people that private doesn't necessarily mean better. Also I wanted to defend my LA public alma mater just a bit. I think you really do have to look neighborhood by neighborhood and school by school, there's no general answer that works everywhere.

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I didn't intend to generalize, I was just trying to put a pro-public plug in and remind people that private doesn't necessarily mean better. Also I wanted to defend my LA public alma mater just a bit. I think you really do have to look neighborhood by neighborhood and school by school, there's no general answer that works everywhere.

Gotcha! :D

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got this email from a neighbor and fellow HKG mom this morning and thought I would share for you HAIFers who might be interested:

A group of community parents have been investigating ways to revitalize Hogg Middle School. A few us met with Dr. Grier to discuss the need for significant change and improvement to Hogg. He seemed to appreciate our directness and asked us to gather Grassroots support.

To demonstrate that improving our neighborhood school, Hogg MS, is an issue widely-supported by the community, an online petition has been created. We are hoping to gather 1000+ signatures from the 77007, 77008 and 77009 zip codes in the next 10 days or so. Below is the link:

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42231.html

Please sign the petition, if you support this effort and live within the 77007, 77008, 77009 area. It would be great if you would also forward to other individuals you know in the community.

Our need for a strong, viable neighborhood middle school option grows every day! How wonderful it would be to send our children to school down the street and with the classmates with whom they have shared so many years already. Every child in our diverse neighborhood deserves a quality education.

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I have been following this thread and note that there are several considerations that have not come up here. Full disclosure: my two kids did private all the way (one still in HS). The choice was primarily academic because when we moved to first Timbergrove and then the Heights, the school choices were not what they were then. In fact, living inside the loop wasn't all that popular yet. Child #1 got into Travis Vanguard but we opted to go private for several reasons. The first was an aversion to the whole TAKS process and bureacracy in general. Private schools do annual testing of the kids but it is as much for continuous self-improvement as to see where the kids fall out. Accredited private schools go through an extensive process every so many years and are reviewed on many factors. I don't see the TAKS system accomplishing much, particularly considering the bar is set so low as to what is "passing".

Other considerations we had were regarding the arts and physical education. Public schools go back and forth on this as funding issues arise, but rarely offer all of it all of the time, such PE and (gasp!) recess daily. Then also we considered the whole PC bit where you can't pray, etc. We weren't looking for a religious environment per se, but we really hate anyone telling us that you can't do such-and-such.

It is my opinion that the better private schools are approximately one year ahead of public. Of course this is not an absolute, because we all know there are examples of great public schools and not-so-great private ones. However, we did not want to find our selves at 6th grade competing with better prepared students for slots in private middle schools. Lanier and Lamar are gold standards in HISD for upper grades, but they are very competitive. I think a kid needs to be pretty self-assured and independent to handle a big environment like Lamar, too. Despite improvements made at Hamilton, I would not consider it then or now.

We got accustomed to the costs of private school slowly: graduating from nanny/day care costs to one in private school, then two in private school. It can be done. Notable is the pricing at Catholic schools. Subsequent children in one family pay much less. The Catholic HS are outstanding and seek to admit interested candidate from Catholic K-8 schools even if they are not quite a well prepared as candidates from better schools.

These are my opinions only so if you disagree, I respect that. I just wanted to point out that the decision is about a lot of factors, not just academics.

My child was in Travis Vanguard, Lanier Vanguard and then Waltrip's IB program, which has been discontinued since. We opted to not do to Lamar although accepted there because of the size. Waltrip was half the size. My child graduated top ten percent and was accepted into two top 50 private Universities with scholarships. It is definitely possible to get your child through HISD with a great education. One bonus was there was lots of diversity. My friends comments starting in middle school that it looked like my child was enrolled at the UN. All Vanguard and IB programs are essentially one year ahead so are comparable to the private schools. However, unlike St. John's, Kincaid, and Episcopal, the academic pressures aren't as tough. Those schools are very competitive. Lanier was fine but I wouldn't have chosen Hamilton then and I don't think it has change enough to make it. We were lucky to get in such great programs.

One thing we found when looking at the top private Universities was that they really look for kids from public high schools who have great class rank, SAT scores, and gpa's because so many of their applicants come from private high schools. One admissions councilor told me that when it gets down to decisions between kids who are essentially the same in their criteria, they often will chose a public school student over a private so they have more diversity of backgrounds, and don't end up with just a bunch of rich kids. And the scholarships are much more plentiful for private Universities than they are for public. They all have huge endowments and much more available $$ per student. (UT didn't have nearly the scholarship offer that the private Universities offered). Kids who have done very well in the public school advanced programs can really do well in the college application process particularly if you want scholarships to top schools. The private Universities all run about $55k a year now.

That's my two cents...

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All five of my kids went to HISD and private schools, all ending up in an HISD highschool (HSPVA & Lamar). All got good scholarship offers to both public and private universities. However you have to realize that scholarships at private universities will be higher because their tuitions are so much higher than the state schools. I'm sure college admission directors like to see diversity, but they also like to see rich kids because that's how their endowment stays healthy.

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got this email from a neighbor and fellow HKG mom this morning and thought I would share for you HAIFers who might be interested:

A group of community parents have been investigating ways to revitalize Hogg Middle School. A few us met with Dr. Grier to discuss the need for significant change and improvement to Hogg. He seemed to appreciate our directness and asked us to gather Grassroots support.

To demonstrate that improving our neighborhood school, Hogg MS, is an issue widely-supported by the community, an online petition has been created. We are hoping to gather 1000+ signatures from the 77007, 77008 and 77009 zip codes in the next 10 days or so. Below is the link:

http://www.gopetitio...tion/42231.html

Please sign the petition, if you support this effort and live within the 77007, 77008, 77009 area. It would be great if you would also forward to other individuals you know in the community.

Our need for a strong, viable neighborhood middle school option grows every day! How wonderful it would be to send our children to school down the street and with the classmates with whom they have shared so many years already. Every child in our diverse neighborhood deserves a quality education.

Only up to 179 signatures so far. Are there enough of us out there to get to 1000 so quickly? I have my doubts.

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Only up to 179 signatures so far. Are there enough of us out there to get to 1000 so quickly? I have my doubts.

It was emailed to Heights Kids Group, which has 900+ members. Not all of them are super active and a percentage don't live the zipcodes needed, but there should be some traction by tomorrow. At least I hope so for the people working on this. Apathy is a huge issue and many people probably feel that Hogg is a lost cause, but personally I never underestimate what a group of motivated parents can do.

Here is another email that was circulated today that I thought some of you might like to read...

The note below is one sent by my husband to parents at Travis associated with the Vanguard program - so the details are Traivs-specific - but note that it will apply to a great many magnet programs across the district:

I have had a series of meets with Suzy Walker and Christine Cole regarding the highly concerning HISD Magnet Review report originally issued January 6th, 2011 and now re-issued (MAJOR CHANGES, with additional focus on Vanguard) January 14th, 2011. I attach a link below to the website where you can get the report, plus additional information.

http://www.houstonisd.org/HISDConnectDS/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=eab4ff276604b210VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD&vgnextchannel=9339e02e91b23110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO OTHERS.

In Simple Summary, the HISD report recommends the following:-

• Remove Magnet status from all 11 HISD Vanguard schools

o Vanguard is not considered to be a Magnet program by the MSA's definition

• Remove Magnet funding from all 11 HISD Vanguard schools

o $105,000 per year to be removed from Travis Elementary

o $1,500,000 per year to be removed from all HISD Vanguard Schools

• Retain transportation

Why is the HISD Report Totally Unacceptable

• The Vanguard program IS FULLY consistent with the definition of Magnet program (Tenets and Essential Elements)

o Montessori and International Baccalaureate programs are still considered Magnet yet they are just alternative delivery methods

• The recommendation to remove all Magnet funding from Vanguard programs is arguably a pure cost cutting measure with NO CONSIDERATION of the broad benefits that the program provides to the school as a whole

• Totally insufficient time (just half a day) was spent by the HISD consultant reviewing Travis Elementary and its Vanguard program

• ABSOLUTELY NO evaluation of the impact to the broad quality of education within the Vanguard schools has been offered

• No alternatives have been considered

What Will Happen to Travis if Magnet Funding is Withdrawn

• Existing Travis budget has no real ability to absorb significant funding cuts

• Current Magnet budget is equivalent to two staff members and difficult decisions will have to be made that will likely impact entirety of school's students

• Vanguard program may transition to homogeneous Neighborhood program classes seeking to provide Gifted & Talented teaching for few qualified students in each class

• Current Vanguard parents may withdraw their children and themselves to alternative schools with loss of student and parent/community benefits

History of Vanguard Program at Travis Elementary

•Travis has operated a Magnet Vanguard program since 1987 (i.e. for the last 23 years)

•Travis's Vanguard program has provided enhanced opportunities to BOTH to ALL its school students (i.e. including Neighborhood students) and its alumni

--Access to additional material such as books and equipment

--Access to specialized teachers

--Raising broad motivation and expectations across the school

Tenets of Travis Elementary's Vanguard Program

•Enhances the conventional school curriculum that develops and maintains students' interests in school

•Improves academic achievement in BOTH Vanguard and Neighborhood programs

--Provides specialized and highly qualified Gifted & Talent teachers to students

--Shared Vanguard materials, such as books

•Produces higher attendance rates and graduation rates THROUGHOUT the school

•Boosts parental and broad community involvement to the benefit of all students and teachers

Travis proactively promotes its Vanguard program to the broad community to offer equitable access (311 of the 734 students enrolled at Travis are in Vanguard.)

What Can Travis Parents Do?

• Contact the HISD Board of Education Superintendent and trustees

o Anna Eastman is our District I representative (aeastman@houstonisd.org)

o Contacting Board Members by Mail

Board member name

c/o HISD Board Services

Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center

4400 West 18th Street

Houston, TX 77092-8501

o Contacting Board Members by e-mail

 Board Services Office boardservices@houstonisd.org

 District I Anna Eastman aeastman@houstonisd.org

 District II Carol Galloway cgallowa@houstonisd.org

 District III Manuel Rodriguez mrodrigu@houstonisd.org

 District IV Paula Harris pharris3@houstonisd.org

 District V Michael L. Lunceford mluncefo@houstonisd.org

 District VI Greg Meyers gmeyers@houstonisd.org

 District VII Harvin Moore hmoore1@houstonisd.org

 District VIII Juliet K. Stipeche jstipech@houstonisd.org

 District IX Lawrence Marshall lmarsha1@houstonisd.org

o Contacting Board Members by By telephone

 Board Services 713-556-6121

 Constituent Services 713-556-6111

• Attend Community Magnet Meetings…see Magnet Flier attached (MagnetFlier 1 14 11 eng.pdf)

o January 25

 Bellaire High School 6:30 p.m.

 Lamar High School 6:30 p.m.

 Madison High School 6:30 p.m.

 Ortiz Middle School 6:30 p.m.

 Sterling High School 6:30 p.m.

 Waltrip High School 6:30 p.m.

 Austin High School 6:30 p.m.

 Westside High School 6:30 p.m.

o February 1

 HMWESC, Board Auditorium 9:00 a.m.

 Wheatley High School 6:30 p.m.

o February 5

 HMWESC, Board Auditorium 9:00 a.m.

 Austin High School 1:00 p.m.

• Support your Parent Teacher Organization and School Decision Making Committee

Funding Status of HISD

It looks like HISD have seen this coming for months and that the Magnet review was most likely a way to cut funding. HISD stands to lose between $203 MM and $348 MM annually! Review the recent and rather alarming article from the Houston Chronicle that talks to the state of Texas' and HISD's Education Funding issues.

http://blogs.chron.com/schoolzone/2011/01/hisd_could_lose_up_to_348_mill_1.html

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Fact of the matter is that the academics at the private schools are better. But, private school kids are generally rich kids and very cliquey. They have grown up in the country club with a small group of friends and will always have nicer things than your kid (vacations, new car at 16, clothes, etc.). Yet, at HISD, your kid may seem like the rich kid just because he lives in a house.

That is a gross exaggeration by someone that watches too many movies and has zero exposure to the houston private school scene.

There are different degrees of private school, I'd say the vast minority of which are how you describe.

St. Thomas Catholic, St. Thomas Episcopal, St. Thomas Moore, Episcopal, St Johns, St Marks, St. Agnes...

They cost a pretty penny, but I guarantee you that the parents that send their kids there for the most part also can't afford country club memberships.

Duchene, Kinkaid.. you may have more an argument there for most, but not even all parents... but schools like those represent a small % of the private schools in the city.

As a person who grew up going to non-rich people private schools all his life, I can vouch for the complete lack of cliquey behavior, small % of student-driven new cars, and relative lack of country club parents. Vacations? I didn't know growing up going to New Braunfels or Galveston every summer defined me as a rich kid. Clothes? Private school kids for the most part wear uniforms. You can only display your uber-richness so much with your shoes and purse.

Edited by Highway6

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Since we're talking school rankings - For anyone that hasn't discovered the Children at Risk website, you should take a look. It's an independent group that ranks all the greater Houston school districts.

At the bottom of this page, you'll find a link - "Greater Houston Rankings Data File 2010" for an excel sheet that ranks every high school, middle school, and elem school.

Since we're talking elem schools mostly in this thread - Here are the HISD schools that fall in the top 25:

1 - T H ROGERS EL

2 - BARBARA BUSH EL

4 - HENDERSON J EL

8 - WEST UNIVERSITY EL

9 - RIVER OAKS EL

10 - KENNEDY EL

13 - ROBERTS EL

14 - LYONS EL

19 - SCOTT EL

20 - OAK FOREST EL

21 - CORNELIUS EL

22 - CONDIT EL

24 - OATES EL

Also, I've shared this before... but here is my Master Schools Google spreadsheet.

Using multiple years worth of the Children at Risk rankings, It shows the yearly rankings, avg rankings 07-09, and ranks per ISD for zoned high schools in the major relevant local ISDs.

Eventually I'll avg in 2010.. unfortunately, they added numerous schools that year and I haven't bothered to try and fingure out how I'm going to reconcile that with the previous years averages yet.

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These rankings are adjusted for zoned schools only (removal of charter schools).

Heights Area ZONED Elem Schools Rankings 2010 - according to Children at Risk -

69 - TRAVIS EL

89 - HARVARD EL

138 - STEVENSON EL

168 - SINCLAIR EL

204 - FIELD EL

270 - LOVE EL

298 - HELMS EL

358 - BROWNING EL

These rankings are out of 492 area elem schools.

---------------------------------------

Heights Area ZONED Middle Schools Rankings 2010 - according to Children at Risk -

46 - HAMILTON MIDDLE

190 - HOGG MIDDLE

These rankings are out of 218 area middle schools.

--------------------------------------

Heights Area ZONED High Schools Rankings 2010 - according to Children at Risk -

57 - REAGAN HIGH SCHOOL

These rankings are out of 90 area high schools.

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There will be an interactive Community Meeting at Hogg Middle School on Wednesday, February 16th at 6:00 pm in the school cafeteria.

The purpose of the meeting is to greet the new principal, Dr. Mina Schnitta. A letter received today from Dr. Dallas Dance, Chief School Officer for Middle Schools indicates, "Parents and community members will get an opportunity to meet and share ideas with Dr. Schnitta as well as learn about her strategies for promoting effective parent and community involvement that will result in improved learning for all students."

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*Link to site: http://savetxschools.org/contact-the-texas-house-subcommittee-on-education-budget/

SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS!

Contact the Texas House Subcommittee

on Education Budget

The Texas House of Representatives has named a seven-member subcommittee to work on the budget for public and higher education. This group -- officially known as the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III -- is expected have significant influence over the next draft of the House budget plan for education.

Please call, write or email these elected officials today! Ask them to:

•Make education a top priority.

•Use the $9.3 Billion Texas "Rainy Day" Fund to support schools.

•Encourage the governor to sign for $830 Million in federal aid for teachers.

•Fix school funding laws to be fair to all districts and to our growing student population.

Note: Due to the way the House online system is constructed, emails for each member must be sent separately through their respective websites at the links provided below. If you prefer to write or call, additional contact information is provided below.

Download a Sample letter in Word

Rep. Scott Hochberg, Chair, Houston (Democrat)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=137&session=82

ISD: Alief, Houston

District: 137

Capitol Office: CAP 4N.8

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0492

District Address: 7011 Harwin, Suite 230

Houston, TX 77036

District Phone: (832) 252-7336

Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, Killeen (Republican)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=54&session=82

ISD: Burnet Consolidated, Killeen, Lampasas, Lometa, Marble Falls

District: 54

Capitol Office: EXT E2.710

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0684

District Address: 2916 Illinois Avenue

Killeen, TX 76543

District Phone: (254) 690-1752

Rep. Myra Crownover, Lake Dallas (Republican)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=64&session=82

ISD: Denton, Lake Dallas, Little Elm

District: 64

Capitol Office: CAP 4S.2

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0582

District Address: P.O. Box 535

Lake Dallas, TX 75065

District Phone: (940) 321-0013

Rep. Helen Giddings, Dallas (Democrat)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=109&session=82

ISD: Cedar Hill, Dallas, Desoto, Duncanville, Ferris, Lancaster

District: 109

Capitol Office: CAP 1N.5

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0953

District Address: 1510 North Hampton Road, #340

DeSoto, TX 75115

District Phone: (972) 224-6795

Rep. Geanie Morrison, Victoria (Republican)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=30&session=82

ISD: Austwell-Tivoli, Bloomington, Cuero, Edna, Ezzell, Ganado, Hallettsville, Industrial, Meyersville, Mouton, Nursery, Placios, Refugio, Shiner, Sweet Home, Victoria, Vysehrad, Westhoff, Woodsboro, Yoakum, Yorktown

District: 30

Capitol Office: CAP GS.6

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0456

District Address: 1501 East Mockingbird,, Suite 101

Victoria, TX 77903

District Phone: (361) 572-0196

Diane Patrick, Arlington (Republican)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=94&session=82

ISD: Arlington, Mansfield

District: 94

Capitol Office: EXT E2.610

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0624

District Address: 318 West Main Street, Ste. 102

Arlington, TX 76013

District Phone: (817) 548-9091

Mike Villarreal, San Antonio (Democrat)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=123&session=82

ISD: Alamo Heights, North Eeast, Northside, San Antonio

District: 123

Capitol Office: EXT E1.506

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0532

District Address: 1114 S. St. Mary's, Suite 110

San Antonio, TX 78210

District Phone: (210) 734-8937

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So nearly 10 years out from the last posts on this thread, have the Heights' schools significantly improved?  I think Travis, Harvard, and Field are still ranked pretty well but have Hogg and Heights HS improved any or still about the same?

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We live in midtown with a baby on the way. Absolutely want to stay in the city so am very curious to hear as well. 

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7 hours ago, kbates2 said:

So nearly 10 years out from the last posts on this thread, have the Heights' schools significantly improved?  I think Travis, Harvard, and Field are still ranked pretty well but have Hogg and Heights HS improved any or still about the same?

From friends who have kids in those schools, yes, they have improved a lot, driven in large part by the Learn Local movement that encouraged people to send their kids to their zoned school instead of a magnet.

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If you are looking at schools in the Heights, you need to remember that they are all part of HISD and all have to some degree their curriculum affected by STAAR testing.  For elementary kids, that means a fair amount of reading random passages and having to answer trick questions and doing lots of math word problems that are poorly worded and difficult to understand.  Generally speaking, I do not think that private schools are that much better than HISD, but if I had the money I would seriously think about private school to get away from the garbage that is the STAAR testing curriculum.  That being said, we are sticking it out with HISD and enjoying the fact that we got to skip STAAR this year.

 

Most of the schools in the Heights have improved significantly over the past 10 years.  For elementary, Travis is the best.  PTO raises about a trillion dollars every year.  Lots of great teachers and a well run school.  Lots of after school activities.  Harvard has slipped a bit after losing a long time principal.  It is still a good school for elementary and I would not hesitate to send my kid there.  But you will hear some parents complain that things are not as good as they were a few years ago.  Field focused a lot of getting test scores up and they have gone way up in the published rankings on that basis.  As noted above, I find the testing to be crap and have doubts about schools that focus on testing.  Other parents love Field and need the external validation of STAAR test results.  Helms is dual language.  They do not get up high on rankings because the focus is more on dual language than test taking.  It is also a more diverse school with a higher number of economically disadvantaged students.  Love Elementary has been left behind.  Parents have tried to turn it around, but the focus has been on keeping numbers up by having kids transfer in from really rough parts of town.  Browning is similar.  There are also a lot of magnet spots in the Greater Heights/GOOF area.  We were at Garden Oaks for elementary.  Montessori is not for everyone and there is an incredibly wide range in quality with the teachers with the quality going down as the kids get into the upper elementary grades.  We eventually had to jump ship because our kid would get into a rut every year and not do his work.  He is doing much better in a regular class environment.   Sinclair is a really good school and gets overlooked by a lot of families.  It is a magnet and is fairly easy to get a spot compared to others.  Oak Forest is the Travis of GOOF.  It is a very good school and families line up for magnet spots.

 

For middle school, Hogg is the best choice in the Heights.  Hamilton has improved a lot, but Hogg is an overall better school.  Black Middle School in GOOF is also a good option.  Some people will try to magnet in to Pin Oak or Lanier.  It is a very, very long bus ride if you can't pick up and drop off your kids or find a carpool.  

 

Heights HS has improved a lot and keeps improving every year.  HS is tough because you really have to look at whether your kid is a high flier who will need lots of AP classes or just wants to get good grades and is not shooting for big name colleges.  There are good opportunities at Heights HS for high flying kids, but their are better opportunities at Lamar, Carnegie and DeBakey.  And a lot of families end up in private school for HS to boost college acceptance chances.  

 

If you choose public, you need to be ready for the crazy ride that HISD has become.  They are still under the boot of a possible TEA takeover and there are constant fights over the distribution of resources and magnet programs.  

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58 minutes ago, s3mh said:

Some people will try to magnet in to Pin Oak or Lanier.  It is a very, very long bus ride if you can't pick up and drop off your kids or find a carpool.  

 

Thanks s3mh, that's all great info.  I went to Lanier and had a 6.5 mile bus ride which looks to be about the same distance from the area of the Heights that we are looking at so I'm familiar with that bus ride.  It was long but you got in a good amount of time with your friends on the way.

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As far as the STAAR tests go, my kids are both Travis entering 2nd and 4th grade and neither have had a STAAR test yet.  I don't think they start until 4th grade, although there are some standardized tests they do that kind of tell you where your kids rank in the greater scheme of things.  Take those with a huge grain of salt, the teachers themselves don't seem worried about the results.

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