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Moving to South Walton, tell me about the schools

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by AURN, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. AURN

    AURN Beach Comber

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    We are purchasing a home along 30a, primary residence, and we have a child who will be attending ecms. I've heard the schools here are good, but after reading some posts on this forum, I have concerns. What's the deal?
     
  2. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Like any school system there's always room for improvement. I don't have kids so I'll let others that have actually worked with the schools speak.
     
  3. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    Can you link to post that says something negative about our schools?
     
  4. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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  5. AURN

    AURN Beach Comber

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  6. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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    I've heard from educators with high school aged kids that Freeport is decent. I also know people who avoid Walton County schools completely. Many people settle in Bluewater Bay just for the schools.

    Don't misconstrue my thoughts. There are excellent teachers in Walton County. The biggest problem is administration. And it's a very big problem. Hopefully as the population in the county increases, this will no longer be tolerated. Read some of the other threads in this sub-forum. Way too much good-ole-boy around these parts. And I grew up in the South.

    To be honest, we didn't move down here permanently until our youngest was finished high school. I was lucky that I could keep my kids in an excellent school system after I retired from the Army.
     
  7. luca brazzi

    luca brazzi Banned

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    I know a kid that lives in Point Washington that attends school in Niceville. If you can find a good private school in the area and can afford it send your child there. Did you see the post where the school district hired a young woman to teach at South Walton who had a felony conviction for DUI and cocaine possession? I'm also told that the teachers in Walton Schools are the least experienced in our area.
     
  8. j p nettles

    j p nettles Banned

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    We might add that the school system is broke. Like a lot of other Anderson staff members, it seems that the financial officer was unqualified for the position.
     
  9. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Yep, school system is flat broke, probably won't be able to pay the lights or the mortgage. I hear tell of a yard sale.

    :sarc:
     
  10. SkinShark

    SkinShark Beach Lover

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    So dramatic people!! What ever happened to being positive? Last I heard, the largest population of our schools are the parents of the children that we send there. If all the parents would volunteer and be present it would drastically change our classrooms. Let's see all of you sign up!

    Secondly-what schools are we comparing ourselves to? All I know is I moved here to get away from the schools my kids were supposed to attend in Ga. We pat ourselves on the back daily for making that decision for our kids. I feel so lucky to live in this beautiful small town. I would have been miserable raising my kids in a huge town with murders, car jackings and $30,000 a year private schools.

    With that being said. My oldest son is about to graduate from college and my daughter is thriving at Seaside. We were lucky enough to get into seaside... (although there are days when I think ECMS would have been better)....but bottom line, I know my kids friends parents, I know where they live, I know they can't get into to much trouble because I know all 20 people that live here...

    Welcome to sowal!!!! I hope you take in a Friday night football game in this fall. So fun. Great BBQ. Great neighbors. And please, feel free to dedicate some free time at school.
     
  11. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    A few of us have axes to grind and we seem to do it regularly. You should be able to see who we are so realize there are 2 sides to every story. We have issues but I am not sure that we are any different than most other school districts, there will always be some detractors. Also there will also be those who lead the charge to fix or correct things. Jdarg would be one of those who I believe falls into that category and in my opinion is doing more than just complaining. She has come up with a well reasoned solution to at least some of the issue we face. So when looking at the negative also look at what some are doing who are pishing for a positive impact. These are just my opinions. Welcome to SoWal
     
  12. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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    Good points by SRBGirl and Bob.

    Everything is relative to what you came from. We came from excellence. But, as SRBGirl states, parents are everything.

    Bob, I do have some emotional involvement with the issue so I only try to post data points. jdarg is doing something exceptional, in my opinion.
     
  13. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    School grades should be out soon. Bay county's schools took a dive into the crapper and the district there is a "C" average.
     
  14. AURN

    AURN Beach Comber

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    I have to admit, I'm even more concerned after reading these comments.... I have read about seaside, but I also have concerns over such a small school, and of course, the slim chances of actually getting in. Are there any good private schools in the area?
     
  15. AURN

    AURN Beach Comber

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    SRBGirl: Did your children ever attend ecms or s walton HS? Our schools here are good, and getting better every year, so I'm very concerned
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  16. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Parents I know with kids at ECMS have no real
    complaints about the academics, safety, etc. The biggest issue for those on the west end is feeling as though we do not have a neighborhood school for middle school. I would prefer that 5th graders stay in elementary, but overcrowding made that impossible for now. As for SWHS, it has not had a great reputation. The good news is that a new principal is in place and as I understand it, both student and teacher discipline and expectations have been raised substantially, though you can't turn a battleship on a dime. For high school, the collegiate high next to South Walton is a good option,
     
  17. Carol G

    Carol G Beach Fanatic

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  18. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    The most important thing you need to know about Walton County is that it is 2 counties in one, with the power and leadership of both the county and the school system concentrated on the north end of the county. Also, the school system is entrenched in politics and a pretty significant good old boy system, so things aren't perfect here. Hopefully the superintendent referendum to change to a hired superintendent will pass and will start the process of a more cohesive, forward-looking district. Yes, we have good test scores, but what does that really mean?

    However, I can say with a lot of confidence that your child will have a good experience at any school in South Walton, if you are an involved parent. This holds true for any school system, not just here. (I am not familiar with the North Walton schools, so I can't comment) There are some exceptions and families who have had bad experiences, but again, that happens in every school system. There are also choices here for high school which is nice- AP and dual enrollment at South Walton, dual enrollment (Collegiate High School) at Seacoast, Florida Virtual School, Niceville (Okaloosa County), Arnold (Bay County). It all depends on what you want for your kid- college prep, AA degree in high school, good sports programs, lots of extracurriculars, etc. Bottom line- get involved in the school AND the community.

    Regarding ECMS- it is a great middle school with dedicated and hard working teachers, all the sports, and all the extra curriculars. My daughter will be a 7th grader there in the fall. My son graduated from SWHS in 2011, but I have friends who have kids there who are thriving and excelling, busy with academics, sports, and clubs. They are also reporting that Dr. Tibbetts seems to have the correct vision for this school- that there is no reason why it can't be one of the top schools in the panhandle.
     
  19. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    I would add only this to what Jdarg has so artfully said. Bear in mind that this comes from an old (I won't use the word) who no longer has children in the school system but has a strong opinion on our educational process. Now, to the point I'd like to make. While the education system is highly important, don't let it be your only determining factor in where you and your family settle. Other factors are extremely important. The general ambiance of the area, the economy of the area, the recreational acuities such as here with the beach and all its various activities. You get my general swing by now. We hope your move will meet all your desires and that you and yours will be as happy with SoWal as I have been for the last 23 years.
     
  20. rblessed1031

    rblessed1031 Beach Lover

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    We have kids at Butler, ECMS and one starting SWHS this year. We have had great experiences at Butler and ECMS. The schools are not perfect, but the staff is available to any parent that makes an effort to be involved.

    One of our daughters started 5th grade at ECMS the first year that 5th grade moved to middle school. There was an uproar from parents and it was all for nothing. I don't think she heard or learned anything from the 8th graders that she shouldn't have.

    We looked at every option regarding high schools for the one starting high school this year. After attending the high school night for upcoming freshman, we were very happy with SWHS. There are a lot of great parents who are stepping up to be active in the high school. The data posted in the thread above is from 2011-12, so I know after looking at the current statistics that those are not a good representation of the current administration. My personal thought is South Walton is still a small high school, so it is pretty easy to hear what is going on in the school - if you stay involved. I would rather know what issues my kids are facing in school, even if I am hearing it through the grapevine so we can address it, rather than be in the dark.
     

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