Dallas Public Schools: And The Decision Is …

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Photo: Beth Erickson
Photo: Beth Erickson

Today we had Tiny’s interview and assessment for the Dallas ISD magnet program – which sounds a whole lot more daunting than it actually was.

But where did we end up going? Well, we were certain going in that we would be picking Dealey as our first choice school. It was close to our house. It would be almost like going to a neighborhood school. Dealey was the logical choice, right?

Well …

We toured Dealey first, during their open house for prospective students. We appreciated the robust question and answer session. We were impressed by the crowd the event drew. But nonetheless, we left less certain that Dealey was absolutely the choice.

And then we went to Harry Stone – the other Montessori in Dallas public schools. Super organized open house, and what impressed us even more was that the school wisely used its best advertisements to conduct the tours and answer questions – the students. Older students led groups of parents and children through the halls, giving them a full tour of the entire school experience and answering questions about their day, the things they enjoyed about various grade levels, etc. These kids – most of them, anyway, had been at Harry Stone since Pre-K, and were a delight. Harry Stone is also an International Baccalaureate school, too.

And since the tour groups were broken up into organized, small sizes, we had a chance to watch Tiny interact with the teachers, and the learning environment. We were sold, but the clincher was the small voice who announced as we walked to the car, “I want to go to Harry Stone School. For real. Really.”

Well alrighty then.

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So we filled out our application online, made our appointment to drop off his additional paperwork, and made our appointment for his assessment. And then we really didn’t do much else. We explained a few days before (because three year olds need preparation for new things) that we were going back to Harry Stone because the teachers really wanted to meet him and talk to him more, and then left it at that. This morning, as he lined up with other prospective Pre-K students, he threw a “Goodbye” over his shoulder and walked into that library like a boss.

As I’ve explained before, the assessment and interview just asks things like colors, alphabet, shapes, and other preschool benchmarks. Teachers also observe to see how children separate from parents, and if they are disruptive during the downtime before and after their interviews.

And I have no idea how he did. He has been doing mighty battle with Mountain Cedar this week and wasn’t on his A game. We will find out in March sometime if he got in. According to Tiny, he had fun, talked about colors and shapes, “And they said I could come back.”

Fingers crossed.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

Reader Interactions


  1. Wynne Cunningham says

    That’s really interesting to hear. We’ll be applying next year with our little guy and Stone was barely on my radar. Where does Mata fall in all of this? I thought they were implementing the same program as Dealey.

  2. mmBethany Erickson says

    Mata is a montessori, but they are a neighborhood school, meaning if you live in the neighborhoods it serves, you’re in – no testing or assessments, no interviews. But the Montessori method is utilized at Mata, Dealey and Stone. The true difference is what the child needs to know prior to enrollment.

  3. Doug white says

    We went through the same process at Dealey, also live nearby, but unfortunately weren’t accepted last year. There’s just a lot of really qualified applicants, and not very many slots. However, we’ve been more than satisfied with the local school Kramer nearby and have become convinced that the dual language program is phenomenal. It also draws a very committed group of parents ( they have to be….it’s a tough program). The school is currently undergoing IB certification and soon they will merge the 2 way dual language with the new IB programming and curriculum so you get both. If for some reason H Stone doesn’t work out, come give us a look, there may be a few transfer slots still open.

  4. mmBethany Erickson says

    Thanks for the info, Doug! We are assigned to Withers (also dual language) and I was planning on enrolling for the wait list there (apparently last year they actually had slots open). But I will also put Kramer on our list – it never hurts to have a back up plan to the back up plan, and since Withers’ enrollment is apparently super early, the extra school is useful knowledge!

  5. Jonathan says

    Thanks for the insightful articles. How far of a commute will this be from North Dallas? Do kids from all over the city attend Harry Stone?

  6. mmBethany Erickson says

    Jonathan, it has district-wide enrollment, just like Dealey and the other magnet schools. The drive is obviously a lot more than our 10 minute at most drive to Dealey, but it’s not horrible – 20-30 minutes max, and there are at least a couple of routes there. It would work out well for us because my husband could take him on his way to work, and then I could pick him up. The district also offers bus service for all magnet schools, too.

  7. Jonathan says

    Thanks for the quick reply. We are also zoned to Withers (we live in the Royal-Northaven neighbhorhood) and are trying to figure out school plans.

  8. Blaise Leonard says

    Happy to see another parent from North Dallas that chose Harry Stone as 1st choice as well!
    I’ve gotten some really funny looks when I explain to people that we didn’t automatically go with Dealey, I totally agree with everything you said about Stone (except for the 20-30 minute drive 😉 but you may have a better route in mind than I do) We actually didn’t even make it to the open house but my intuition told me that even though we are in the De Golyer zone It would be the best fit for our family. This is the first place I’ve seen it discussed aside from the general info on the DISD website etc..
    Were you by any chance told by an administrator that you could call and find out what his ‘assessment score’ was (I hate using that term on a 3 or 4 year old). We were told when we went for the actual assessment that they could tell us the score, just not take the time to break it down. I’m fighting the urge to call, because I’m actually really laid back about the process and totally understand that we are blessed either way, I just wondered if I’d understood the lady correctly when she said that?
    Good luck from our family to yours!

    • mmBethany Erickson says

      Hah! We have taken a couple of different routes there (one during rush hour, no less, to get to the open house). It would probably take a smidge longer in morning traffic, but Saturday traffic wasn’t bad at all.
      We had the earliest assessment appointment possible on the first Saturday they started. I had ducked out to go to the bathroom (coughspy) when the principal came in to the holding area and talked to the parents, so I had to check with my husband for what she said for certain. According to him, she asked that nobody call, and that they couldn’t tell us doodly before the letters went out. We have a couple of friends whose children are in various magnet schools in DISD, and they told us the letters are usually sent right before (and I mean RIGHT before) spring break, probably so everyone has a week to cool down and talk themselves out of calling the school if things didn’t go their way.
      I’m crossing our fingers for both of us – let me know if you guys get in too, and maybe we can set up some carpooling eventually!

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