Choices for new school in Texas

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Mellizos, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Mellizos

    Mellizos Well-Known Member

    So we're moving to El Paso this summer and are exploring school options. Our boys are in a dual immersion program, with half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. They are absolutely thriving in both languages.

    We have several options in El Paso to continue with the dual immersion. All of their strengths and weaknesses. What advice would you give us on which school to choose?

    Option A - dual immersion program within a regular school. Top ranked elementary school in El Paso. Ranked in top 200 (I think) for the entire state. Rankings are based only on test scores, but the school also gets good reviews on

    Option B - dual immersion program within a regular school. Ranked in top 300 (I think) for the entire state. Rankings are based only on test scores, but the school also gets good reviews on

    Option C - dual immersion program with an option (requirement?) for a third language: either French or Japanese. The test scores are not as good. But it gets good reviews on

    Option D - dual immersion program in a "mircosociety". Essentially the students run a society, from a small bank, to police/judges, public services, etc. The test scores are not as good. There are no reviews on greatschools. I love the idea, but worry the school could be taking on too much.

    We've always looked for integrated neighborhoods, but El Paso is majority Latino. All of the schools have kids with limited English skills. So that element of diversity is done for us, regardless of where we live and they go to school. We know that the boys' Spanish skills will only grow stronger.

    So what would you choose: stronger test scores or more innovative curriculum? Both districts have been fantastic in giving me information, almost treating me as if I were a neighbor. We'll tour the schools in June when we look for a house, but we'd prefer to narrow our school choices so that we can narrow which neighborhoods we look at.
  2. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Based on what you've said in the past about the extrovert personalities of one of your children, I think I would actually strongly consider Option D. I just wonder if his personality would do better in an environment where its very interaction based. And I can see that school giving very much real world applications which might translate to not as great test scores.

    I think mostly, though, I would wait and get a feel for the schools when you visit. Is your other son as much of an extrovert?

    Our school doesn't do the microsociety thing, but in 2nd grade the students organize running a popcorn business. They have to have a business plan, get a loan to buy stuff, then market and sell the product. So, the other schools might have projects like that which are real-world applications, just not as large as the micro-society school.

  3. twoplustwo

    twoplustwo Well-Known Member

    Cathy, my kids go to a spanish immersion school here in Oregon.

    We almost moved to Houston tx last year and I was considering Cedar Brook Elementary for them

    Option D sounds very intriguing. I would want to know how old the school is. New programs often have a lot of "bugs" to work out often at the children's expense. Our kids do something like that called "Biztown" but only for 1 day. They spend a few weeks planning the details of it etc and it sounds great but I am wondering how much of a focus is this microsociety and does it take away from standard academics. I also would need to look at my kids to see how I think they would do. I think my ds would thrive like that, my dd...I don't know.

    Option A sounds like a safer option but I think you should visit the schools and see what feeling you get from both schools. It will probably be more clear after seeing the schools in action.

    good luck with your decision.
  4. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    Definitely visit them before making a decision (if you can, of course). If it were me though, Option A would be the best fit. If it is a top ranked school, it opens many more doors for your children when it comes to getting into programs, other schools and even colleges. In the long run, the safe (most qualified) choice is usually the best in terms of what other schools programs look at, during application time.
  5. Mellizos

    Mellizos Well-Known Member

    You gals have given me some good things to think about. We're going to visit the schools in June. But I fear the choice may come down to which school has room for the boys in the dual immersion program. That is our highest goal.

    I lean towards A or D. A for the top scores (though test scores aren't the most important factor for me). D for the program where my extreme extrovert - Jacob - would thrive. Aaron is not as extroverted but would probably also enjoy this type of program.

    This is choice C.
  6. PumpkinPies

    PumpkinPies Well-Known Member

    I like option A, but I should probably tell you I'm not a huge fan of "innovative" programs. Sometimes they end up sacrificing the nuts and bolts for all the fun shiny new stuff.

    Will you be able to go the very first of June? The school calendar for Choice C says they get out the 6th, and early end-dates are the norm in the south.

    Good luck with your move. I'm so glad you'll be able to keep the boys in a dual-language program, no matter what.
  7. 3Xblessed

    3Xblessed Well-Known Member

    I would not only consider the immediate with the elementary school but what the school it feeds like. Look also at the jr. high and high school. Some districts let you do school choice as they switch levels but in these tough economic times that is becoming a thing of the past and often you are stuck going to your slated school.
  8. Mellizos

    Mellizos Well-Known Member

    Thankfully we don't have that worry. This is only a two-year assignment. So we only have to worry about the choice for first and second grade.
  9. BRMommy

    BRMommy Well-Known Member

    I would go with option A. Innovative doesn't necessarily mean better, and like it or not, test scores are probably the best objective measure of a school's success.

    I definitely would avoid a school where they would be forced to learn a third language. As a bilingual adult who is raising her children bilingual, I know how difficult it is to continue to do school work in two languages as kids get older. As you already know, it's a great gift for your children intellectually and culturally, but it comes with alot of effort and sacrifice on the part of parents and kids. I grew up with alot of kids who were supposedly bilingual but who ended up as "half-lingual" as adults. They were not really able to do college level work in either language. IMHO, two languages is hard enough.
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