Author Topic: Public School options in Jacksonville?  (Read 7319 times)

Tacachale

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Re: Public School options in Jacksonville?
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2016, 10:18:52 AM »
Thanks for everyone's replies!

I can see how St. Johns county can more easily attract people moving from out of town. It is difficult to navigate the system without being on the ground there.

San Marco would be great, but there is a risk that we'd have to move when it comes time for middle school. I think this would be very disruptive.

If you live in San Marco or Riverside/Avondale you don't necessarily need to move for middle school, but you do need to get familiar with the magnet program.  In fact, being in San Marco gives you a higher chance of getting in Julia Landon, which is a very good magnet middle.  The magnet program is very good.  Our daughter went to LaVilla, which is the arts magnet and we had a great experience.  Our son will attend James Weldon Johnson as part of the Gifted program and that also is a very good school. 

There are definitely good options for middle and high school.  You will have to put in some time and research and pick the best fit for you and your kids.

Feel free to PM me.  We've been through the magnet selection twice and know some of the intricacies.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'd say - there's a neighborhood preference for the magnet schools, meaning if you're living in the neighborhood, your kids are "Priority One" for attending the magnet school. So if you're living in San Marco, your kids have the highest priority for admission to Landon Middle.

St. Johns does have a great all around school district. You can count on having a good school pretty much anywhere you pick to live. However, I wouldn't rank many of the St. Johns schools on the level of the Duval County magnets (or some of the private schools in the area, if that appeals to you). Feel free to PM me too.
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FlaBoy

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Re: Public School options in Jacksonville?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2016, 11:53:47 AM »
Also, remember there is now school choice across county lines and districts. If you are willing to drive your child, you can go to school anywhere with some space.

Trey

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Re: Public School options in Jacksonville?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2016, 01:09:49 PM »
I'm a little late to the thread, but would concur with much of what has been said about Duval County schools. There are great schools throughout the county, but the nature of their success is probably a bit harder to wrap your head around coming from out of town.

With changes to standards and assessment this year, I'd encourage you to dig a bit deeper than just the school grade, which, while not unimportant, is highly correlated with the average income of a school's students, and doesn't fully capture everything that may be important to you.

For example, I live in Avondale, and am zoned for West Riverside Elementary, which, over the past few years, has been a "C" or "D" school. It has a relatively new dual-language Spanish immersion program, which has helped attract more students and has received rave reviews from parents and community members who know about it. After visiting the school, talking with teachers and the staff, my wife and I are very excited about sending our 4 1/2 year old there next year for Kindergarten. One of the other parents at the school wrote a blog post about how he feels about the school -- http://www.jaxpef.org/news/guest-post-my-kid-goes-to-a-d-school-and-i-love-it/.

Beyond specialized programs and other options, I believe very deeply, at least for my two boys, that they will be well served by attending a school with kids who don't all look like them or come to school having had the same experiences. The leaders of the future will have to lead a broad cross-section of society, and understanding the variety of places from which people grow up will be tremendously valuable.

In interest of full transparency, I run an education advocacy organization in town called the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. We do a ton of research and community work related to improving public schools. While we still have some way to go to ensure that every kid has a chance to attend a great school, there are lots of schools where that is already the case, that don't get enough credit for the good work they do every day.

JPEF publishes a lot of details on the public schools in Jacksonville that you may find helpful:

Feel free to reach out if I can be of any help.

brainstormer

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Re: Public School options in Jacksonville?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2016, 09:35:34 PM »
Welcome Southbound2Jax! I would second a lot of what has been said already. As an educator, I've found that school grades and online reviews don't really align with the quality of education your child can have in school. St. Johns County has A and B schools, but they are all pretty much the same. Duval County provides so many more options with their magnet schools, accelerated courses, Montessori, IB, AP, Dual-Language, performing arts, career academies, etc. I worked in D/F schools in Duval and some of the teachers were the best educators I have ever worked with. I would strongly encourage you to find a neighborhood you want to live in and then check out the feeder and magnet options available to you. Many families in nice neighborhoods are sending their kids to Duval County Public Schools and very happy. Ask them the paths they have found for their children to get a great education. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.

One note about FlaBoy's comment. Statewide school choice does not go into effect in FL until the 2017-18 school year. Best of luck to you finding a great place to live.