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Zoned out of schools.

Zoned out of schools.

Old Aug 1st 2016, 2:20 am
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Default Zoned out of schools.

Hi all. Really in need of some advice. So we've arrived safe and sound in LA. no we are looking for a school and we live in the valley. Only problem is weve just discovered our kids cant go to the school of our choice because its not in the zone so although we didn't have to endure the lottery to get our green cards weve now been told unless we move to a new address that is in the zone for the school we want our only other option is to enter the school lottery in February 2017. The school that we can put our kids in is a no, no. Although were in a great area the school also houses unsavoury characters from a neighbouring district. Weve decided that we will have to look into home school instead as an option as coming from UK this school would be like putting our kids in a bad situation rather than education so were not entertaining it.

Does anyone have any advice at all and has anyone experienced a similar situation or has anyone home schooled out here. Our kids are both 13 and 15.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 3:00 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Is private school an option?
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 3:11 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Didn't you know that the US works on a rigid zoning system for schools? Every addess is mapped to a school, and few exceptions are allowed.

Occasionally the schools are "rezoned", which causes pandemonium among parents - I am surprised there haven't been pitched battles fought over rezoning changes.

Your primary alternatives appear to be (i) private schools, (ii) homeschooling, (iii) move house, (iv) charter school, if they exist - though they are usually over subscribed, or (v) whatever arrangements are allowed for your children to attend an out-of-zone school - some stages allow you to do this for the payment of a fee.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 3:46 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Another option - because you're really between a rock and a hard place - is to consider your zoned school, at least for your high schooler. If it's a large school, it likely has several streams or academic tracks splitting out each subject by ability; if your 15 year old is smart and college-bound, they're likely to have little or no contact with 'bad boy' peer group you're trying to avoid.

I assume your 15 year old is going into 10th grade - what plans do you have to get their UK work evaluated to be accepted as their missing 9th grade credits, for graduation? Normally we would recommended not moving until after GCSEs, as it's easier to get a US school to accept the completed curriculum and national examination results, as being equivalent.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

If you can, move. Where I live it is easy to pick and choose your school as long as you are willing to transport your child daily. Sounds like LA is far more stringent. If you can't move, become Catholic.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 2:27 pm
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by Deltarix View Post
Hi all. Really in need of some advice. So we've arrived safe and sound in LA. no we are looking for a school and we live in the valley. Only problem is weve just discovered our kids cant go to the school of our choice because its not in the zone so although we didn't have to endure the lottery to get our green cards weve now been told unless we move to a new address that is in the zone for the school we want our only other option is to enter the school lottery in February 2017. The school that we can put our kids in is a no, no. Although were in a great area the school also houses unsavoury characters from a neighbouring district. Weve decided that we will have to look into home school instead as an option as coming from UK this school would be like putting our kids in a bad situation rather than education so were not entertaining it.

Does anyone have any advice at all and has anyone experienced a similar situation or has anyone home schooled out here. Our kids are both 13 and 15.
I had a very similar situation to yours... When I got married to my US citizen hubby he already owned the house that was in Grand Rapids city limits, hell would have frozen over before I put our kids into GR public schools... They have a bad rep now but it was even worse when kids first started school. We put our girls into a charter academy and they love it so much so that we have since moved house into Forest Hills district (one of the best in the state) and my kids will still attend the charter academy thru 8th grade.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:24 pm
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Thanks for all of that. Our kids attended catholic primary schools in the UK . Ive recently heard about the advanced program that allows the child to be assessed. Also we only arrived here after most of the open enrolment deadlines had passed even the ones that were extended to end June which is when we arrived. My 15 yr old was in the 10th grade in the UK. He just competed all of his SATs test before we left. This Sept he would have entered the 11 grade in the UK. I thought he would be able to pick up in the USA where he left off in the UK perhaps via an assessment of his ability. WE wanted our kids to experience high school in the USA before attending college . We thought this would benefit them to assimilate and make friends and get to know the system etc in advance of college/university. Can anyone offer anymore info about the "fee" option of paying the school to be enrolled, and how is possible that our kid will have little contact with the riff raff just because he college material. That sounds like a segregated prison system. Thanks.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Where to begin... in US high schools, all 4 of the years count towards your high school diploma. There is no final exam comparable to GCSEs and A levels; everything is done through continuous assessment over the 4 years.

There are graduation requirements a child must meet, in order to complete the program of studies and receive a high school diploma. They vary by school, but a usual sort of list is:

- 4 credits each of English, Maths
- 3 or 4 credits each of Science and Social Studies
- 1 credit of Art, IT, PE, Health
- 2 or 3 credits of a foreign language
Plus a bunch of other electives of the child's choice, based on their interests.

A credit is a full year of study, and isn't replaceable by testing at a certain level. It's based on having attended the class for a full year, AND achieving a certain standard. (Missing usually more than 10 periods of a class means the child has cannot pass it and has to repeat it.)

So students going into 10th grade will have already done 1 year (credit) of English, 1 of Math, a science, a course like World History, a basic computing course, Health, etc etc. They will have completed 1/4 of their required credits (usually around 22-25 in total) by now. Your child hasn't done this.

Here's where it will get tricky, as there is little overlap between the UK and US systems at this age. Your child will need to get credit for what they've learned in the UK, and this can vary from easy to very hard to do, depending on the school and subjects.

English - probably quite easy to get the school to give a credit for this, if you can get a copy of the curriculum from your child's previous school.

Maths - problematic. There is no general maths in high school, it's split into different disciplines - a deep rather than wide approach, each year. 9th graders will usually have done Algebra 1 or Geometry, depending on how they were academically tracked in middle school. The level achieved in the single subject is likely deeper than a broad-based math curriculum in Year 10 (don't call the UK years '10th grade' to the school, it'll confuse them) would have done.

Science - same as maths, it's split out into different disciplines by year. 9th grade is either General Science, or Biology.

Social Studies - usually a World History class.

These are the Core Four classes that will cause you the most problems. Your child may not have done any of the other graduation requirements, but with three years to go, can still plan a schedule to tick off the languages, health, PE, art, etc.

Again - your child cannot graduate from a US high school, and therefore get into college, without sorting this out. It's fixable, but will take some effort on your part to argue the toss, not only about whether X course in the UK is worth a credit against Y course in the US, but also to decide what grade the child should receive for it, to determine their Grade Point Average going forward.

If I was you, I'd make getting my high schooler into a school my immediate priority - they can't afford to miss any classes for 10th grade as this will only compound your problems. Try your zoned school; make an appointment to see the counselor and see how they deal with kids arriving from other countries/ educational systems (you won't be the first, and they will have a process).

As for the segregation... no, it's not a prison yard! But pragmatically, if it's a large school, streaming and timetabling means that the college-bound kids will be in one English class, and the less-academic ones will be another; their lunch periods may not line up, etc. Your kid will make friends in their classes, not with random people they may walk past in a corridor. If the school regularly has the police summoned or kids smuggling in weapons or drugs and attacking each other, fair enough. But if it's more that overall their intake is from a poor area and their test scores are low, I wouldn't worry overmuch about that. In fact, it could help - your kid's class ranking for college applications will be much higher

As an example, my son (going into 11th grade) will have a schedule consisting entirely of honors level classes, and AP subjects (somewhat like A levels). All his classmates will be aiming for selective colleges. Somewhere in the building, in other classrooms, kids will be doing remedial maths, or English as a Second Language, or vocational classes like hairdressing and welding. His school draws from a fairly broad intake, and scores 7/10 on Great Schools; not everyone there is an academic powerhouse or comes from an advantaged background. But it doesn't matter, from his point of view - his experience of the school is that he is in challenging classes with passionate teachers, and peers who've all done the homework and turn up brimming with discussion inputs.

At this point, unless you're prepared to move within the next week or two, I'd see what the local school would do for my child as regards recognizing previous study. If they are flexible and accommodating about that, being generous with credits and grades, and placing him/ her in the correct academic levels for classes - they might be very keen to have a good student join them - I'd go with it. Your immediate goal is to get your child the best possible 9th grade transcript you can, and not to miss any of 10th grade. And then I'd see if I needed to move within the next year, to an address with a better zoned school. Most schools have a strict address policy, which means that if you live there, you're in, regardless of when you turn up.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Kids with certain exceptional sporting abilities can often find their way into schools out of their zones, even if that kind of thing is not permitted by the sporting body within that State. Not sure if this is a nationwide practice but in the South, where worship of football is on par with God, all is fair in love and war...
Whether a UK teen could persuade a good football school that he can make it as a linebacker, etc is another matter.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 12:41 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by zzrmark View Post
Kids with certain exceptional sporting abilities can often find their way into schools out of their zones, even if that kind of thing is not permitted by the sporting body within that State. Not sure if this is a nationwide practice but in the South, where worship of football is on par with God, all is fair in love and war. ....
It was going on in NC until few years ago, then a spate of weird living arrangements came to light including high school students "living with" various relatives, and in some cases "living with" one of the coaches. Even to a casual observer it was obvious these were addresses of convenience, and a state wide investigation led to games being forfeit, wholes seasons of results voided, and various fines and firings of coaching staff.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 12:54 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by Deltarix View Post
Thanks for all of that. Our kids attended catholic primary schools in the UK . Ive recently heard about the advanced program that allows the child to be assessed. Also we only arrived here after most of the open enrolment deadlines had passed even the ones that were extended to end June which is when we arrived. My 15 yr old was in the 10th grade in the UK. He just competed all of his SATs test before we left. This Sept he would have entered the 11 grade in the UK. I thought he would be able to pick up in the USA where he left off in the UK perhaps via an assessment of his ability. WE wanted our kids to experience high school in the USA before attending college . We thought this would benefit them to assimilate and make friends and get to know the system etc in advance of college/university. Can anyone offer anymore info about the "fee" option of paying the school to be enrolled, and how is possible that our kid will have little contact with the riff raff just because he college material. That sounds like a segregated prison system. Thanks.
Any missed credits generally can be caught up on line, and some online courses often at a higher standard than many high schools. AP classes are usually recommended both because students attending hose classes generally more serious, and give college credits. There are also CLEP exams on various subjects that are a test that can be taken that grants college credits, there are also "dual credit" classes taught in conjunction with local colleges- which grants college credit and high school credit at the same time. Between AP classes, CLEP and Dual Credit classes a student can earn 1 to 2 years college credit.

Catholic schools have a degree of flexibility on fees so that could be an option, whether Catholic or not. I know of some Catholic schools which sometimes need more students for a particular year, and will help find grants if tuition costs an issue. Often their primary schools have too many students and less if for example their high school small and doesn't offer the sports programs Americans like so much.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 1:37 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by morpeth View Post
Any missed credits generally can be caught up on line, and some online courses often at a higher standard than many high schools. AP classes are usually recommended both because students attending hose classes generally more serious, and give college credits. There are also CLEP exams on various subjects that are a test that can be taken that grants college credits, there are also "dual credit" classes taught in conjunction with local colleges- which grants college credit and high school credit at the same time. Between AP classes, CLEP and Dual Credit classes a student can earn 1 to 2 years college credit.

Catholic schools have a degree of flexibility on fees so that could be an option, whether Catholic or not. I know of some Catholic schools which sometimes need more students for a particular year, and will help find grants if tuition costs an issue. Often their primary schools have too many students and less if for example their high school small and doesn't offer the sports programs Americans like so much.
The OP's immediate problem is to earn high school credit rather than college credit - we can fill him in on all that later Online course offerings can vary greatly; our previous school district in AZ had a virtual high school so I imagine you could arrange to do accredited catch-up courses that way, but our current one in OH has nothing of the sort. As far as I can gather here, missing core courses would have to made up via summer schools, or doubling up in one year: two Science classes, two Maths classes, etc, instead of taking non-essential fun electives.

Good suggestion that smaller parochial high schools might have vacancies from a sports exodus - worth checking that out.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 8:05 am
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Just to throw this out there, but is there a chance of moving? I mean you just "got off the boat" basically and might still be living in boxes, perhaps in a temporary place?

Not sure but thought I'd put it out there.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
The OP's immediate problem is to earn high school credit rather than college credit - we can fill him in on all that later Online course offerings can vary greatly; our previous school district in AZ had a virtual high school so I imagine you could arrange to do accredited catch-up courses that way, but our current one in OH has nothing of the sort. As far as I can gather here, missing core courses would have to made up via summer schools, or doubling up in one year: two Science classes, two Maths classes, etc, instead of taking non-essential fun electives.

Good suggestion that smaller parochial high schools might have vacancies from a sports exodus - worth checking that out.
If student in or entering 10th grade, my perspective it is preferable to take courses that would give college credits, though sometimes high schools may restrict 10th graders from taking such classes.

University of Missouri has its own online high school which is worth looking into.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Zoned out of schools.

Originally Posted by morpeth View Post
If student in or entering 10th grade, my perspective it is preferable to take courses that would give college credits, though sometimes high schools may restrict 10th graders from taking such classes.

University of Missouri has its own online high school which is worth looking into.
Having a fistful of college credits from AP Spanish and AP Chemistry won't do a speck of good if the kid can't get a high school diploma because of not having a 0.5 credit in Health.

I'd go the other way - spend 10th grade ticking off as many of the gen ed requirements as possible (usually some combo of health, PE, IT, art, maybe a speech/communications class), thus freeing up more of 11th and 12th grade where a 17-18 year old is likely to put in a more mature, higher-graded AP performance than a 15-16 year old.
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