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U.S. Elementary education - what parents need to be aware of

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by Rihana, May 12, 2015.

  1. violetsnroses

    violetsnroses New IL'ite

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    Superb thread with loads of information. I am moving to Chicago in August and have kids going to 2nd and 5th class. So will be keenly following this thread for information on schools. Planning to stay in Naperville and currently looking out for schools and apartments. Suggestions welcome. Also would like to know how the school ratings work there? Is it ok to enroll kids to a school with rating '8' or it should be 9 or 10? What are the differences with change in ratings? And do schools offer extra activities(within/after school hours) How to find out about it? School websites donot list that out.
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @violetsnroses, welcome to IL.

    Choosing an apartment - could depend on other factors too such as closeness to work, public transit, shopping, in addition to school rating.

    Elementary, middle - Middle school starts from 6th or 7th grade. So, if you plan to live in the place for longer than 2 years, you have to check out middle school also. Rating of 8 is OK, but ideal would be 9 or 10.

    Differences with change in ratings - I assume you are talking about the greatschools.net rating. There a bunch of factors, but usually it means how the students performed on standardized testing.

    Extra activities in school - Will be more in a school with higher rating : ) After school hours: Some are offered by the school itself (some enthusiastic teachers will run an academic, science or sport club) These are usually free or nominal charge. Some providers also run activities on school sites - these charge a fee. Within school hours - these are usually part of the curriculum - school might have music, art, and other activities - varies from school to school.

    Information about these activities is put on the school website in the first 2-3 weeks after school opens. Some schools send flyers home instead of or in addition to posting in website.

    Are you moving to Chicago from India or from another part of the U.S.?
     
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  3. jaya86

    jaya86 New IL'ite

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    Hello Everyone,

    Myself Jaya, and I came to San Jose couple of weeks back from Bangalore in internal company transfer. I was going through this forum since past few days and got a lot of information, so thank you for that.

    I am currently looking for an apartment in san jose/fremont/santaclara area. The most important criteria for search is it should be walkable ( < 300 meters), from an decent elementary school. I have my 5 year old son who will be going to KG.
    I would like to know how the school transportation system (school bus) works here. I heard that when you leave too close to school, they do not provide school transportation. Is that right? If that is the case, how do most of the parents manage to send the kid to school. My work timings are odd and I do not see myself to drop/pick from school everyday.
    Can anyone please throw some light on it.

    thank you very much in advance.
    Jaya
     
  4. poovai

    poovai Platinum IL'ite

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    @violetsnroses
    You can also check from link:
    Best Teachers: Top 50 School Districts in Suburban Chicago

    Naperville school district ratings:
    4. Indian Prairie Community Unit School District No. 204 Naperville
    6. Naperville Community Unit School District No. 203 Naperville

    (1) Make sure that school bus comes to the apartment complex to pick up kids for school. Free transportation is provided for kids residing within 1 1/2 miles from the school. Otherwise, kids may have to walk to school or parents have to drop their kid in school. Kids missing their school bus or refused to go by bus is whole another story.

    (2) Mostly, extra curricular activities like sports, swimming are arranged by local neighborhood YMCA. Stop by your village YMCA to get their program schedule for the quarter like, summer/fall program.

    (3) You will find good reference from apartment complex residents, too. Usually, some parents walk their elementary school kid to the school bus stop, daily. Stop by and make friends to get know about their kid's activities. Most of them, love to talk....about their kid.

    Usually, school ratings are based on number of student/teacher ratio, latest facilities in school, budgets assigned to school district, teachers qualification, PSAT/SAT/ACT scores, #students attending IVY league schools and their school sports program, mainly (or only?) football. If Asians (both Chinese/Indian) are thickly populated in that neighborhood area, then you can blindly pick that school district because someone already did their "homework":innocent:
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
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  5. jaya86

    jaya86 New IL'ite

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    Thank you Poovai,

    I tried contacting schools, but seems they are closed for summer. So until schools are open I cant find the details.
    One thing is not clear to me, If kids stay closure say =0.5 mile, do they get school bus, if we ask for?
    I visited some apartment complexes, and the leasing office have no idea about if school buses come there to pick (some even dont know which school they are assigned).

    That make decision tough for me, bcoz if I sign the lease agreement and later when schools open and could not get the bus near apartment, it will be very challenging for me to pick/drop him?
    Is there any private service available for school drop (we do have back home in India :) )

    Another challenge is apartment I like, the near by school has wait list of 6, so what i read through google, the school will overload my kid to another school until a vacancy is available. so nothing seems predictable here.
     
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  6. poovai

    poovai Platinum IL'ite

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    I don't know the reason, why bus service is not provided if schools are located within walking distance May be, the cost savings? Bus routes/stops are per-assigned, cannot be changed by simply requesting it.

    I am not familiar with CA schools. Most of my friends in SanJose area sent their kids to private schools. Mostly by carpooling with other parents. Also, heard kiddie cab is available for school drop off/pickup.

    The public schools for the neighborhood is per-assigned, cannot be changed. To balance student to teacher ratio per school, they do revise the policy once in awhile.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
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  7. violetsnroses

    violetsnroses New IL'ite

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    Hey thanks Rihana for the prompt reply with good information too! We are moving from Hyderabad to Chicago. We may be staying longer than an year. Husband will be going to downtown Chicago for work by train. Have chosen Naperville bcoz of the school district and Indian community. Ideally, we are looking for appts closer to metra and school. But looking at the websites, getting both seems difficult. Have found one near to Beebe school, which is walkable to metra aswell, but the school rating is 8, and hence I had asked about how much the ratings matter. Also google uncle says that if you are within 1.5 miles of school distance, no bus facility will be provided. So we are confused that is it better to opt for a house away from school? Because walking kids to school for anything more than even 0.5 miles in cold winters of Chicago sounds challenging! Any inputs?
    Our options as of now are:
    1) close to Metra and school both
    2) close to either of them. Then either kids can walk to school, husband can drive to metra (Again have heard of parking troubles ;(.)

    Rihana, thanks again for your inputs. Appreciate.
     
  8. violetsnroses

    violetsnroses New IL'ite

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    Hey Jaya! Both of us are riding in the same boat! Even I have the same queries regarding bus transport bcoz for kids walking everyday for even short distance or we dropping/picking them up everyday doesnot sound feasible! And for Chicago weather adds to the challenge.
    And because our benchmark is schools/activities/transport back in India, comparision is natural. But keeping fingers crossed that with help of fellow group members, we will be able to sort out the matter! All the best!
     
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  9. violetsnroses

    violetsnroses New IL'ite

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    Thanks Poovai for the information. If we reside in less than 1 1/2 miles, means that we wont get bus transport? Then its better to search for a house more than 1 1/2 miles? Looks like only once we move there, we will be able to decide. We wanted to do homework from India itself. Checked that school are starting from 17th August. Is it ok if we miss out the first few days at school or is it advisable to be there on very first day? Any pointers to find out thickly populated areas with Asians?
     
  10. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi
    Please check with your school's transportation department. Town/transportation department will still be operating in summer. In some towns if the students live within two miles school bus is not free. You can still avail the school bus service that would include yearly payment. Private transportation will be expensive.
     
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