Allow me to give some advice in finding schools in Texas. Some things you may be interested in as well.
Cedar Hill is not rich. Over half of the students at Cedar Hill are getting government assistance to eat.
The Middle schools in Cedar Hill are considered by the state of Texas to be academically acceptable as is the main high school. Academically acceptable is like making a C in a class. The schools are barely meeting requirements on tests which are up to 2 years behind.
In Texas, middle schools tend (not always) to house the worst teachers, principals, buildings, funding, etc. Everyone wants to be an elementary school teacher or a high school teacher. Almost no one aspires to be a Jr. High teacher. I would complain every time a teacher takes longer than two business days to respond. As far as scope and sequence - Remember these schools are just barely keeping up with the mandated tests. That means most of the children are very behind. If they truly and really kept up with scope and sequence, half the kids would fail and have to repeat the 8th grade. Any scope and sequence they have is camoflage for what is actually being taught.
English and history teachers are easy to replace. They should be most likely to respond quickly to your requests. Math and Science teachers tend to be far harder to replace. You may want to ask about the qualifications of the teachers involved as they may have not been able to hire qualified candidates. However, Math and Science teachers will be replaced if enough complaints are made by numerous parents. A single parent usually won't do it, not unless you sit on the school board or know a school board member. So you may want to go to a Parent Teacher Organization and meet some other parents to see if they have the same feeling about the teacher or principal.
Almost every teacher in Texas has yearly contracts and almost every teacher has to reappointed to a new contract at the end of March. For the first three years, their contract can be non-renewed for any reason and I mean any reason. After that, a reasonable cause has to be documented and given. Taking a week to answer parents' e-mails would probably be sufficient if the administration wanted to get rid of the teacher. However, the administration might not want to get rid of the teacher for other reasons. One might be the difficulty in finding a replacement teacher in the appropriate subject. My school has actually had students learn subjects over the internet. I also teach math to a school 40 miles away from the school I teach at. Another might the success the teacher has had in getting kids to pass the state tests. There are numerous reasons for an administrator to keep a "bad" teacher. But if the choice is between the principal's job or the teacher's job, the principal will choose to get rid of the teacher every time. Even teaching math for 8 years at the same school, I always cross my fingers to see if I've been cut at the end of March due to budgetary or other reasons.
Remember, no teacher unions in Texas. No unemployment payments if we lose our jobs. We are contract workers appointed every year by a school board which is directly elected by the people. (Most school boards in large schools let the administration handle the day-to-day hiring and firing. They don't have to.) If a school board doesn't get rid of a teacher, it's because they don't want want to. Or are incompetent.
As far as schools. Your district seems to track students in high school. If you care about your children's education, make sure they attend Cedar Hill Collegiate High School which seems to be a far better school. I don't even want to think about what the other high school is like.
There are many early college programs in Texas. If Cedar Hill doesn't have one, you might want to look into programs sponsored by the University of North Texas.
As far as rigorous schools which teach to the upper levels, I think you went the wrong way. I think you should have gone to the northern part of Dallas, not the southern part.
* Last updated by: hilltrot on 9/27/2011 @ 10:49 PM *