Alternate Paths - Public High School is stupid

<p>We also live in Montgomery college Maryland. I have found that not all public schools are created equal. My kids started out in the Germantown cluster middle school. The applicable high school, Seneca Valley, has average SATS of 1000. We moved to the Wootton School district where average SATs are over 1200 and many kids take AP courses. In fact, Wootton offers just about every AP course available.</p>

<p>Thus point is that instead of sending your kid to a private school, consider moving to a better, more upscale academic area.</p>

<p>lozuna: It sounds like you might like in Montgomery county, like I do. Have you looked into the magnet schools? They have some programs that will challenge your son. I'm not an expert on them, but I know they exist. I also don't know why exactly you're limiting college to CA. It's early to be doing that (freshman year) and it will make visiting the schools difficult. also out of state tuition will make those schools just as expensive as most others. Just some thoughts. If you'd like to email me to discuss local schools, feel free.</p>

I've sorry your house purchase/school disctrict choice didn't work out - being stuck in your current location must be frustrating.</p>

<p>Just a word about clubs in public schools. If you read these threads enough, you will find that starting a club, and sticking with it, is very highly valued from a personal growth and college admissions standpoint. As a parent, you could be very useful and supportive with this. If the school is ok academically - just because there are no clubs of interest now doesn't mean that has to be so forever. A friend reinvigorated our middle school science olympiad team - this team has been to nationals twice - a major achievement for a mid-size, rural school. Latin club is a bit specialized - but debate is pretty accessible, and kids seem to have blast with it. </p>

<p>About the GED issue - I would suggest that you pick some potential colleges and just look at the requirements. If you get the online USNWR you can check this relatively easily. It may well be that the home school/cc route suggested by several of the posters would be good for your son and college admissions-friendly. Best wishes to you.</p>

<p>We live in Anne Arundel County - my husband and I commute to Alexandria - the logistics of a N. Md private school/Alexandria drive every day makes me cringe - I am frustrated by this - I really believed in the public school system - I was a product of a high school with a 90% Mexican-American population (I grew up in Texas) in a state not known for excellent public schools. Every year my HS had Natl Merit Scholars, kids going to Yale, Stanford, UC, Univ of Mich, UT etc etc. In fact the target HS my son was to attend was an inner city school with the same kind of stats as my old HS - for wahtever its worth Jenna and Barb Bush are alumns. We get here - to a relatively well-off state and school district and the school does not have air-conditioning - can't afford the insurance for swim team - and seems to be struggling with fielding the core AP/gifted track programs. The message I am getting from the teachers and counselors is focused more on retainment than on excellence. </p>

<p>I really don't like the exclusiveness of private schools. I also feel hypocritical in selecting a faith based school when in my best of moods I am agnostic. I am also not comfortable with the level of parental involvement required, I like my kids, just not other peoples. - I am a very cranky person - </p>

<p>There are no magnet schools here and the high schools do not offer open enrollment - I already checked - </p>

<p>My son is on the gifted and tormented track, which evolves into into AP his senior year.</p>

<p>After reading the last couple of posts, I agree that a GED is prolly not gonna work - the vocational school has two promising programs - one is a food services program - chef school - and the other is Cisco certification - I know that some kids are taking courses at the CC - I will look into what his options are in that arena.</p>

<p>I know that things can change and that he is only 14 - I like to know what are options are so that we have plenty of time to assess.</p>

<p>Cranky Mom</p>

<p>You keep mentioning the lack of National Merit Scholars in your son's high school as compared to your high school in Texas. Are you aware that Maryland has the highest cut-off for NMSF in the country? Many of the NMSF kids in Texas have scores that are lower than the kids in Maryland who did not make their state cut-off.</p>

<p>Cookiemom has a good point about NMSF. I would not go by NMSF or SAT scores of the school. The average SAT of a school depends to a large extent not only on the composition of the student body but also of the type of students who take the SAT. For example, in our school, a larger proportion than average of low achieving students take the SAT, thus dragging down the school's average SAT. But it was shown that the higher achieving students in the school have above average SAT scores compared to both national and state averages. While our school has its share of struggling students, it also has some really stellar students who go to top schools. </p>

<p>What is more important to look into is the type of classes that are offered; the curriculum and curricular expectations for each class at each level; the teachers; the amount of flexibility that exists for accommodating high achieving students;extra-curricular opportunities (mentoring, internships). Perhaps also some summer programs will help the student move straight into more challenging classes. In our school, the more advanced 10th graders go straight into AP Chemistry after taking Physics First, without first taking Honors Chemistry. This is one way of accommodating high-achieving students. Other suggestions such as college classes or distance classes can also be combined with regular high school classes.</p>

<p>Dear Cranky,
That last post was helpful. It sounds like you are in the midst of culture shock--albiet in Maryland. Do you know what the main symptom of culture shock is? Irritability. Finding yourself saying "they" do this and "they" do that and "it's so annoying they don't do it like we did it back in..."</p>

<p>I've done two relocations overseas and I can tell you the irritability has nothing to do with the new place. It is a figment of your displacement. It goes away with time and friendships.</p>

<p>Rather than throw the local high school out with the bath water, why don't you stave off decisons until next summer? Until you and S have had a chance to settle and evaluate the situation with a lesser degree of crankiness? </p>

<p>In any event, no matter which way you turn, you will not find perfection. Sigh. If your S is a real high flyer, you might investigate merit scholarships at private schools--even boarding schools. </p>

<p>I am sure your S is miserable at the moment. He's the new kid and he's a freshman and he's fourteen--but in the next six months he might discover some aspect of the school or some likeminded friends that makes the transition worthwhile.</p>

<p>All the best to you...</p>

<p>ps Parsons has some AMAZING LIFE-CHANGING summer programs for high school students in New York and Paris. He could do one per summer....</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>About the transfer and forgoing the college credits: you don't need to do anything of the sort. The UCs require 60 credits in order to qualify as a transfer; otherwise, you go in as a freshman. Then placement, acceptable credits, etc., comes in, blah blah.. </p>

<p>Damn toothache..</p>

<p>My nephew was brilliant and tried both a country day school and a prep school. He ended up leaving the prep school at 15. He enrolled in a community college that was allied with William and Mary. He completed the A.A in one year and entered William and Mary as a junior at 16. He will be 18 when he graduates, and he is extremely happy, both socially and academically. </p>

<p>We have another friend who left our public high school after his junior year and enrolled in USC in their program that admits high school students without a diploma. Also happy. Sadly, many high schools are not challenging and aim for the lowest common denominator. They are overburdened by regulatory restrictions and emphasis on getting their bogus test scores up.</p>

<p>I have to agree that truncating high school may hinder his growth in social settings, its good for teens to remain in an environment with other teens, especially if your son is only a freshman. There is a lot of development left making the transition from middle schooler to young adult. I am posting to suggest an independent study program. Perhaps the school would be willing to work with a specialized study program for your son to independently study AP curriculum. This would allow him to stay in school with kids his age and make friends and also pursue the challenging study he desires. If the school won't cooperate, perhaps he can self study for AP exams on his own time, this shows a strong thirst for learning and again, allows your son to stay with his peers.</p>

<p>Have you thought of a private boarding school that might be willing to offer a merit award? I have had several friends that have done this and they recieved merit money to help with the tuition. Some of the 2nd tier,3rd tier schools are looking for boarding students to fill their dorms.. so they are more aggressive in recruiting versus day students....AT many of these schools they offer the full compliment of AP courses and college prep programs.....just a thought as I guess if you own a 500,000 home you would not qualify for financial aid.....</p>

<p>I'm also an advocate of not judging a school by how many NMSF or AP scholars they have. The socio-economic demographic of our town is really varied; reflected in our SATs, averaging around 900. Our D was the one NMSF five years ago; last year, S missed it by a couple points (though would've been one in most states, including Texas.) Most kids at our hs were not aiming at the same level of college as mine, but the ones in their classes were. We don't have a swim team or air conditioning either; yes, retention is more important here. We don't have most of the amenities that most posters here take for granted. But my kids got enough education to be accepted by extremely selective colleges, and also got an education in life which we could not replace, nor would want to (plus, living in a 100k house freed up a lot of money for college.)</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a>
many resources</p>

<p>My daughter did stuff through CTY ( Johns Hopkins) one year, I think Duke has similar offerings as does BYU for high school students.
We didn't investigate the district when we moved to the city and our oldest did attend private school, but our youngest is in public and we are very happy.( except I have to pick her up early today cause it is homecoming and she is afraid of getting "froshed")
However, boarding school is a option if you are unable to be happy with the district/move.</p>

<p>Dear Cranky Mom,</p>

<p>I can relate.</p>

<p>The only way our son has survived with his intellectual curiosity intact is by using CTY every summer and by doing distance courses during most years. This has allowed him to progress faster and do AP's that aren't offered by his HS. He's a senior now and will get out soon--thank God. He has received credit for some of the coursework and not for some--it doesn't much matter to us. On a funny-sad side note, we just discovered that his school refuses him honors credit for a distance course taught by Stanford professors and scored by Johns Hopkins staff because it's not taught by their HS teachers--even sadder when he was the only kid who passed the pretest at the beginning of the couse that followed that one as taught at the school. </p>

<p>Anyway, you see I understand your dilemma. Distance ed and summer programs may well be your answer. This suggestion has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I teach for these people. I don't teach the courses my son took. And you don't necessarily have to do them all through JHU even though you are in their territory. I found out that we could buy the same computer-base materials they use for some of the courses ourselves for much less cash and forgo the official evals and letterhead. So there are cheap alternatives that will still prepare your child for the AP exams, too.</p>

<p>What is CTY?</p>

<p>Johns Hopkins Univ's Center for Talented Youth. Google them for more info than you probably want. I would prefer not to be perceived as "pimping" for my employer, so I won't elaborate unless you have a specific question or e-mail me. I brought it up not because I work for them but because the program has saved my son from a public school system that was deadening his mind. To be fair, the Catholic school in which he spent five years--which was the only alternative we could afford--was equally poor. Thank God for alternative forms of education for the gifted.</p>