Question for HORT parents on schools

BrunoMars420

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Feb 14, 2016
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For those that have raised kids or are in the process which school district size would you send your kid too if you had a choice, 1A/2A size or 4A/5A size?

We are in between two districts where we can send our girls and there are pros and cons for each. I grew up in a smaller school district and thought the schooling was good and my wife was the opposite and grew up in a huge school district. No better place to hear #unfiltered opinions on which is better and why!
 

Tenacious E

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For those that have raised kids or are in the process which school district size would you send your kid too if you had a choice, 1A/2A size or 4A/5A size?

We are in between two districts where we can send our girls and there are pros and cons for each. I grew up in a smaller school district and thought the schooling was good and my wife was the opposite and grew up in a huge school district. No better place to hear #unfiltered opinions on which is better and why!
I attended 4a (biggest at the time) and my kids are 4a/5a depending on the sport. I like the broad range of classes they can take. Downside is sports are Uber competitive and kids might ride the pine 5a, but start/play at a smaller school.
 

BrunoMars420

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School district size is irrelevant. There are good small schools and poor small schools, same thing with big schools. Would need to know what school districts you are choosing between to offer any real opinion
Hudson and Waterloo (west high)
 

ping72

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If your kids are into the things offered at a small school: sports, theater, music, etc… do the small school. They’ll have more opportunities to do more activities.

However, if there are things they really like that are only at the big school: orchestra, sports like swim/dive, robotics club, etc… then go big.

I went to a small school. I could do 4 sports, theater, speech, tons of clubs, etc. That isn’t possible at a big school. But… there were a lot of things my school lacked because of its size: orchestra, many sports, advanced classes (although if we took everything the HS offered they would send us to a community college 30 minutes away), a language other than Spanish, etc.
 
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ConvenientParking

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Check to see what Hudson offers students academically compared to West just in terms of volume of opportunities. I went to a school about the size of Hudson and that part kind of sucked compared to Cedar Falls which is where I grew up thinking I would go to high school. Upside of Hudson would be more opportunities for participation in extracurriculars. By the time my youngest brother got to HS, I understand it had closed the gap a little bit there and he had more electives and AP opportunities. Hudson was a similar size so I figure it's probably like that or better.
 

BrunoMars420

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If your kids are into the things offered at a small school: sports, theater, music, etc… do the small school. They’ll have more opportunities to do more activities.

However, if there are things they really like that are only at the big school: orchestra, sports like swim/dive, robotics club, etc… then go big.

I went to a small school. I could do 4 sports, theater, speech, tons of clubs, etc. That isn’t possible at a big school. But… there were a lot of things my school lacked because of its size: orchestra, many sports, advanced classes (although if we took everything the HS offered they would send us to a community college 30 minutes away), a language other than Spanish, etc.
Yeah that’s kind of the conundrum we are in when weighing the pros and cons lol. We are leaning towards Hudson because of the opportunities of playing sports and such. It seems like the college courses or college prep situation has improved greatly since I graduated since 2006.
 
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BrunoMars420

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Check to see what Hudson offers students academically compared to West just in terms of volume of opportunities. I went to a school about the size of Hudson and that part kind of sucked compared to Cedar Falls which is where I grew up thinking I would go to high school. Upside of Hudson would be more opportunities for participation in extracurriculars. By the time my youngest brother got to HS, I understand it had closed the gap a little bit there and he had more electives and AP opportunities. Hudson was a similar size so I figure it's probably like that or better.
Yeah I grew up in La Porte City so I basically got what Hudson has to offer in terms of sports, extra curricular, etc… The only difference is that it seems like west has more educational opportunities and clubs with more participation in those as well due to the size.
 

BrunoMars420

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@BrunoMars420 but for real the people at Hudson are straight up snobs and you should know that as a graduate of my sister NICL high school.
Oh yah lol. Always got that vibe from Hudson haha. But as a parent you look at all the rankings and shit and you start to think differently. The one thing we love about west is the diversity of cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. I think that helps round out a child into a better person being introduced to all that early on.
 

Hawkman98

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I went to catholic school my whole life. It did teach me about rules and consequences and I think that alone made it worth it.

As far as your question, my son just graduated from a 2A school. I believe I know the 2A school you could send your daughters to and I always thought it was a good school. I went to Waterloo Columbus and after seeing my son in a 2A size school, I wish I would have had that experience. I like that everyone was very close with each other and he was able to do a lot of things that you don't get to experience in a bigger school. He also played 4 sports which I'm not sure he would have been able to do in a large district. After experiencing both, I'm partial to a smaller school.
 

Urohawk

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If your kids are into the things offered at a small school: sports, theater, music, etc… do the small school. They’ll have more opportunities to do more activities.

However, if there are things they really like that are only at the big school: orchestra, sports like swim/dive, robotics club, etc… then go big.

I went to a small school. I could do 4 sports, theater, speech, tons of clubs, etc. That isn’t possible at a big school. But… there were a lot of things my school lacked because of its size: orchestra, many sports, advanced classes (although if we took everything the HS offered they would send us to a community college 30 minutes away), a language other than Spanish, etc.
I think this is correct way of thinking depending on the experience you're looking for. If I remember @BrunoMars420, aren't your kids pretty young? If so it probably matters more on student to teacher ratio on the elementary level. Is there a penalty for switching at a certain time? Can you leave the district you did elementary in and switch to the other for middle school.

I always favor bigger schools. Broader depth of experiences, more class selection to choose from, more kids to find your fit with friends, and finally probably a closer experience to college with the fact the kids blend in and aren't special.

I know my high school (Cedar Rapids Jefferson) did some things to help my education. First they let me commute to Washington because we didn't offer AP Chemistry. Then they sent me to Kirkwood for free when I finished all the science classes.
 

hawkifann

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For those that have raised kids or are in the process which school district size would you send your kid too if you had a choice, 1A/2A size or 4A/5A size?

We are in between two districts where we can send our girls and there are pros and cons for each. I grew up in a smaller school district and thought the schooling was good and my wife was the opposite and grew up in a huge school district. No better place to hear #unfiltered opinions on which is better and why!
I have 3 boys - 1 about to head off to college in a couple weeks, a rising sophomore and a rising 6th grader. I think it depends on the kid. While I think it would have been good for my oldest to get a little more individual attention, he has done well being a fish in a big pond (HS class of 800+). My middle needs a little more individual attention, but he’s found his people in the marching band and theater program, so he’s doing well. We’ll see about my youngest. Fortunately, we have a good public school option.

Some kids aren’t comfortable in a bigger school, though, and I don’t think there’s a “big school is better“ or “small school is better” truism. I think it depends on the kid, their skills and their goals.
 

stout1

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I don’t have a sense for the size of the schools being talked about (I’m not in Iowa). However, the rule of thumb is a HS needs to be over 1000 students to offer a reasonable depth and breadth of academic opportunities.
 

NDallasRuss

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Like others have said, I think it really depends on what your kids' needs and goals are.

My daughter went to a REALLY small elementary school - one class for each grade, cafeteria was also the auditorium, gym, etc. She did really well because of the small class sizes and the level of parent involvement in everything. She went to a much, much larger high school that benefitted her because of all the choices she had for classes to take, and the number of AP/DE classes offered.

If they're big into sports, it depends on what they want out of it. If they're not going to play in college and want a lot of playing time because it's fun, then maybe a smaller school is better. If they're at that level and want colleges to see them, maybe a larger school would be more helpful.

I have read that college admissions counselors (especially for schools outside your state) are more familiar with the larger high schools and it's easier to evaluate applicants/transcripts than for kids applying from high schools they're not as familiar with - so if they're applying out of state, going to a larger HS might be more beneficial.

Their personality also matters - I think it's easier for a quiet introvert to get lost and forgotten about in a larger school, whereas in a smaller school everyone is going to be seen, and probably end up participating in more stuff.
 

hydro2.0

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Waterloo because no one else is suggesting it. Plus your kids will look like everyone else….so that’s a plus.
 
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luvmyhawks

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Aren’t your kids like 3 years old? My advice. Get them in the elementary that is closest to your house and be highly involved. Less driving, more involvement at that age. You can figure out there high school career when they are getting close to being done with elementary.
 

UNIHawkfan

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I went to a small K-8 and large high school and I liked the large school a lot more. At the small school you either fit the mold of everyone else, or you were left out…so I always did what I had to in order to fit in. At the large school I was able to find groups that were into the things was into and who had similar values. I was much happier at the large school.
 
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BrunoMars420

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Aren’t your kids like 3 years old? My advice. Get them in the elementary that is closest to your house and be highly involved. Less driving, more involvement at that age. You can figure out there high school career when they are getting close to being done with elementary.
Yes they are but once we get them in a school district we plan on keeping them there. The driving is basically the same time and we also plan on being involved.