Hi everyone! We are considering moving to The Woodlands. We currently live in Mississippi, and my daughter attends Kindergarten at a Catholic school. The Woodlands' public schools seem to be very well rated, and I am wondering if they would be a good option for us. I would very much appreciate any and all opinions and input.
- Is the large size an issue, is it well managed?
- Do most families who could afford private school choose private or public?
- What reasons do parents send their children to private schools?
As a transplant from New Orleans, we all knew that you had to send your kids to private school. The schools in The Woodlands are very good and you will have no problem. The private schools are excellent but tend to be expensive.
As a parent who has had her two children in both private and public schools in The Woodlands, I have four primary areas for consideration.
First, consider the needs of your child. Does your child have issues with change? Strict discipline? Is reserved or very intelligent (like 2 years ahead of the age norms)? Private school can address these needs due to size and intelligence. Public school does this very well at Junior and Senior High School in my opinion.
Second, are you willing to commit to the expense of private school? Most parents may be reluctant to fund K-12th when considering the future cost of private university plus possible graduate school. Once your child becomes established at a private school, all of his/her friends may be there and detaching may be more difficult.
Third, are you willing to support the public education with your own tutoring or hire a tutor? Yes, The Woodlands ranks high, but not every teacher or grade level public or private will suit each child 100%. In private school, you might only have 3-4 classes per grade level which makes the teacher's individual strengths/weaknesses more visible. By high school it might be 1-2 teachers per subject. In public school, it is a lottery- keep your fingers crossed or prepare to be their new #1 volunteer.
Fourth, is your child closer to high school and college plus what do you think of your child's strengths and your financial ability to pay for college/university? Keep the big picture in mind, even if you don't know what your child's potential is or what you may be willing to pay. Texas has the 10% plan, that was formally changed by state legislation to require 4 years of history, math,language arts, science and many universities require 3 years of a foreign language. Size of high school matters- top 10% can range from top 80 students to 100 for graduating class size of 800-1,000 like one would find in The Woodlands. Plus, your student has to score at least 1400 (I am not sure if I remember this accurately) on two of the 3 sections on the SAT to qualify for the top 10%. If your student qualifies, admission to the top public universities is assured- but not every one gets into UT after that mark. If you have always planned for a private university education, then either will work. Most private schools in the Houston area do not rank students by the top 10%, and that makes another barrier to getting into the Texas system.
Thank you all for taking the time to respond, I truly appreciate everyone's response. I feel confident the the academics at The Woodland's public schools are great, but after reading many reviews, I am concerned about the social climate of the schools. Is the pressure to keep up financially too much? Is the level of competitiveness unreasonable? My daughters are very intelligent, but not athletic, and can be shy. My primary concern is that they have a positive and enjoyable school experience.
The key for shy types is to find a club or organization- a place where your girls can really contribute. Every kid needs a niche at High School, and a solid group of friends. The level of competitiveness is close to what you would find at UT and A & M, so consider it training for the future. Financially, some people might find The Woodlands a bit snobby- but again, with a solid group of friends, High School can be a great experience.
We moved to The Woodlands this summer and my son is attending the 9th grade campus at The Woodlands High School. Although it has only been one week, he is having a hard time making friends. He is bright, funny and has never had problems making friends. Every teacher, friends and their parents all love him. He misses his friends from home and is feeling low. He is a tall and handsome guy but not in sports. We are Christian people and we are open to conversation so we are confident it will get better but it is still hard.
Hearing some of my friends with kids in school complain about certain things makes me want to send my kids to private school even more. In spring district, they elimated school buses for elementary in neighborhoods and changed the start time earlier...and my friends are waiting an hour to pick up their kids since every kid rides in a car when it's 109 degress outside.
They had a segment on TV last night about kids in Houston riding in school busses without air and they were not aloud to open the windows. (as if that would help) Several kids were on the busses over 30 minutes, unbelievable.
Some of the private schools in the area are well over $10,00 a year. A friend sends their 3rd grader to The John Cooper School for $16,000 a year and that's grade school! Hard to believe people can afford to send three and four kids there every year!