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Experiences switching from small, private middle school to Gunn or Paly?

Original post made by Thinking about it, another community, on Oct 29, 2010

Just wondering whether anyone else has switched their kids from a small, private middle school to Gunn or Paly and, if so, how it's worked out. Any tips or advice?

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

At my daughter's private school, she had to fit in with one group of girls. She loved the fact that at Gunn H.S. she got to have more choices concerning friends and activities. Academically, she was fine. There was some assumptions made at Gunn that she had come from public middle school so there were a few curriculum gaps.
The language dept. at Gunn messed up her entrance. She was told in June that she should enroll in the 3rd year language program. She showed up in the fall of freshman year, and they told her then that she had to take the year 2 final to get into the 3rd year class. She scored one point below passing (after an entire summer of not studying) and they made her take the entire language 2 over. She coasted through that year and the following year. Easy A she told me, but I thought it was a waste of her time. Why didn't the Language Dept. tell us in June, that she needed to take the Year 2 final? Talk to the high school at the end of your child's eighth grade (which we did). We were just unlucky that this dept. head screwed up.

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Posted by Praveen
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Our children went from Challenger to Gunn without any problems and did very well.

The biggest issue for our kids was the gap between teachers and teaching in the two schools. Their middle school had excellent teachers and a strong academic curriculum. Weak teachers, especially in private schools, get weeded out quickly. For all of Gunn's great reputation, the teachers are hit and miss. Don't be afraid to find a counselor and switch classes. There are some good teachers, but some pretty questionable ones that you should avoid at all costs. Honestly, I believe terrific Gunn's reputation is based more on the efforts of the parents and students putting in a 110% effort than the teachers at the school. Life is too short to waste on classes taught by uncaring and incompetent teachers. So, don't be afraid to ask for the education your child deserves.

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Posted by Thinking about it
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2010 at 9:07 am

Thanks, neighbor and Praveen, this is very helpful. I guess my biggest worry has to do with switching from a place that makes learning fun and interesting. After reading so many posts about stresses and unhappiness at Gunn and Paly, I'm concerned about the "love of learning" dying due to rote learning, too much "busywork," excessive homework demands, etc. On the other hand, Gunn and Paly offer a tremendous number of courses and extracurricular activities, which I see as major benefits and good reasons to switch.

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