Comparing Local School Districts from IL & NM

<p>I have been asked for my advice about switching school districts by a woman for whom I tutor English. I have been searching the internet for district report cards and other data to help formulate some good advice but I am finding that comparing schools across state lines can be confusing. So, here I am asking some of the wisest people on the planet for some guidance. : )</p>

<p>A little background: My student and her husband came to this country 12 years ago and have, since that time, had 3 children here in the U.S. Both parents work and own there own home in Aurora, IL. The oldest child is in 6th grade and the middle child is in 2nd. The youngest is in pre-K. The two oldest have both transistioned into English-only classrooms and are doing well. I think the youngest will be placed in a K class that offers esl support, with the goal being to move into an English-only class by 2nd grade like his sisters.</p>

<p>My student is a bright woman who, like all mothers, wants to provide the best opportunities for her children. She understands how crucial a good education is and wants that for her children. That said, and as successful as her children's transition to an English-speaking world has been, the schools that her daughters are now in have abysmal test scores. </p>

<p><a href="http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=3104513101004_e.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=3104513101004_e.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=3104513102006_e.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=3104513102006_e.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>There is also a website that some of you may be familiar with: greatschools.org It ranks schools by test scores within a state. Both of these school score a 2 out of 10 within the State of IL. You can't compare rankings between schools in different states, however, because different states test differently, so we're talking apples and oranges.</p>

<p>GreatSchools.org</a> Search: aurora</p>

<p>My student's family has an opportunity to work in a family business in Lovington, NM. Her husband wants to make the move but she is hesitant. She wants to be sure the schools there are at least as good as what she'll be leaving behind in Aurora. </p>

<p>When you look at the Lovington, NM great schools score, the individual schools rank a 6 or 7. But I have no idea how stringent the testing is in NM or how rigorous their curriculum requirements are. </p>

<p>GreatSchools.org</a> Search: lovington</p>

<p>Here's the last district "report card" that I can find. It's from 2007-2008.
<a href="http://www.ped.state.nm.us/AssessmentAccountability/AcademicGrowth/districtReportCards/2007-2008/LOVINGTON.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.ped.state.nm.us/AssessmentAccountability/AcademicGrowth/districtReportCards/2007-2008/LOVINGTON.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>The 2010 Lovington 4 year graduation rates (83% overall, 82.2 Hispanic) compare favorably to 2011 Aurora's (68.7 overall, 67.7 Hispanic).
<a href="http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Graduation/dl11/4-Year%20Cohort%20Graduation%20Rates,%20Class%20of%202010.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Graduation/dl11/4-Year%20Cohort%20Graduation%20Rates,%20Class%20of%202010.pdf&lt;/a>
<a href="http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=310451310_e.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://webprod.isbe.net/ereportcard/publicsite/getReport.aspx?year=2011&code=310451310_e.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I also looked at ACT scores between the districts, but again we're talking apples and oranges since IL requires all students to take the test and in Lovington less than 1/3 of each class takes the test.</p>

<p>I'm swimming in data here and am hoping that some of you will be able to share your wisdom. On the face of it, it looks like the Lovington schools would be a good choice. Does anyone have any information about the state of public schools in NM? If you've taken the time to wade this far into my dilemma, do you have any advice that I could pass on?</p>

<p>So far, the only thing I suggested to her was that I'd wait until the end of this school year before I'd switch schools. She had already decided that on her own.</p>

<p>I want to be able to provide her with some objective truth with which she and her husband can make a good decision. She trusts my judgment, but I really don't want to steer them in the wrong direction. This is a huge decision, and if they do move, I'd hate for the schools to be worse than what they have now.</p>

<p>All advice welcome!</p>

<p>I would suggest that your friend contact the high school connected to the lower schools they are thinking of transferring to and asking to see the school profile - specifically to compare what percentage of students go on to attend 4 year universitites.</p>

<p>I would also want to see the mid 50% range on the SAT and/or ACT. If the top 25% of the graduating class is achieving scores you could live with or be happy about then the system must have something good going on even if there are rough patches to be navigated (as there almost always are).</p>

<p>Lovington High School is very small and only has 30 teachers. I would check out Hobbs High School, 20 miles away:</p>

<p>"Hobbs High School (HHS) is a 10th-12th-grade campus where educators are committed to raise academic standards, lowering drop-out rates and engaging students in hands-on learning. A strong Advanced Placement program has prompted Newsweek to rank HHS in its top 1,000 high schools nationally for five years running. In the meantime, Skills USA and other HHS vocational programs are trend setters in New Mexico and beyond. Both Advanced Placement and vocational programs provide students with a strong academic background regardless of whether their goal is to enter college or the work world."</p>

<p>From Hobbs</a> High School - Hobbs, New Mexico/NM - Public School Review</p>

<p>Lovington and Hobbs are both rural districts which draw many kids whose parents work in either the oil fields or the ranching community. Both school districts also have a fairly high number ELL students.</p>

<p>NM does have minimum high school graduation standards and requires all high school juniors (with a chance to retake as seniors if they don't pass the first time) a standardized state-wide exit exam to detemine if they have met those standards.</p>

<p>Here's a great resource for understanding NM graduation requirements and standards:</p>

<p>New</a> Mexico Public Education</p>

<p>Both Hobbs and Lovington HS offer co-enrollment thru NM Junior College which is located in Hobbs.</p>

<p>BTW, educational funding in NM is done differently than in most states with the bulk of the funding coming from the state. (Funds derived partly from state income taxes and mostly from a tax on land use and resources. There is a state permanent fund for education. The purpose of the funding formulae are to reduce the disparity between rich and poor districts.) Local property taxes are mostly used for building/maintaining school facilities.</p>

<p>One consideration: NM offers ALL NM high school grads who finished with cum GPA of 2.5 or better FREE tuition at any instate public university for 8 consecutive semesters.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.hed.state.nm.us/LotterFAQ.aspx%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.hed.state.nm.us/LotterFAQ.aspx&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>what high school will the Aurora schools feed in to? more to the point, are those schools Waubonsie feeders or are they in West Aurora?</p>

<p>It appears as though Cowherd and Beaupre feed into East Aurora HS, not Waubonsie Valley HS or West Aurora HS. I confess I don't know too much about those school districts (though I would suspect Waubonsie would be the best out of the 3). AL34, do you know anything more?</p>

<p>^^^AL34, these schools actually feed into Aurora East High School. If they were Waubonsie feeders, I'd tell her to stay put. : )</p>

<p>parentoftwo & WOWMom, thanks for the great local info. That's just the kind of 'inside' info I knew this forum could provide.</p>

<p>The restaurant that my student & her husband would be managing is actually in Hobbs. It's a spin-off from her brother's taqueria in Lovington. So, living there sounds like it would be a much better idea than in Lovington, based on the info you provided.</p>

<p>And the free tuition for NM high school grads with a 2.5 would be quite a bonus!</p>

<p>I'll check out the Hobbs district. Thanks!!!</p>

<p>^thought as much, if they were #204 this would be a whole different discussion. Amazing the difference a few miles makes.
Free tuition with a 2.5 sounds good to me!</p>

<p>The Waubonsie HS page talks about AP, scholars of distinction, things of that nature. The East Aurora HS page talks about "hey parents, have them show up, on time would be nice, dress appropriately." The neighborhood where East Aurora is is not the nicest of neighborhoods (I don't know how close you are to this area, IllinoisMom2006).</p>

<p>The free tuition with a 2.5 sounds like a fabulous deal for a family who is striving but has these financial constraints. Good luck to your student and her family!</p>

<p>On schooldigger.com, I found ratings for IL high schools - Waubonsie Valley would be #55, West Aurora #419, and East Aurora (it's listed under East High) at #523, so that should give you an idea.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.schooldigger.com/go/IL/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.schooldigger.com/go/IL/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>East Aurora is a pretty rough area. We're north about 10(?) miles in Batavia. You're right AL34, a few miles makes a world of difference. A sad byproduct of the school funding formula in IL. But that's another discussion for another time.</p>

<p>PG, our hs did well on schooldigger with a rank of 32. I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks for the link.</p>