I just spent two days fielding queries about neighborhood schools from folks that just moved into my neighborhood. I’m about to tell our readers the same thing I’ve told them: You always hear about the same schools because they’re great schools, and you may feel like you must buy a home in the attendance zones for those schools, despite the low inventory. But often, there are great schools with the same programs (who just haven’t had those programs as long) sitting right under your nose. In fact, there’s still some time to get into your family’s next home near one of these great undiscovered or under-discussed schools before the school year starts.
So I’m thrilled that Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate asked me to write about the schools that are just as awesome, but are less well-known. Keep in mind, this is just a small sampling — there are schools all over the Dallas Independent School District that have amazing programs that are not the usual suspects.
I decided to start in my own neighborhood — Midway Hollow. Midway Hollow is actually served by three elementary schools — Walnut Hill Elementary, Foster Elementary, and Withers Elementary.
Withers gets a lot of attention — it is consistently named one of the best schools in Dallas ISD.
But some of the programs that attract families to Dallas ISD are also the school’s most crowded. For instance, it’s Dual-Language Spanish immersion program often has a wait list and lottery.
However, both Walnut Hill and Foster have Dual-Language immersion, too. And both have space for new students — in fact, Foster will allow you to transfer into its program. Foster will be a recipient of a Real School Gardens this fall, and Walnut Hill was a recipient of the National Excellence in Urban Education Award by the National Center for Urban School Transformation in 2015.
And look at the inventory available for Midway Hollow. Just look at this gorgeous property at 3811 Valley Ridge Road. It’s a new build with plenty of space for a family, and eight blocks from Foster Elementary and a quick 5-minute drive to Walnut Hill Elementary. It is zoned for Withers specifically, but if your family is immersion minded, this would be the perfect home because of its proximity to schools with open spots.
A few miles to the east, but before you cross North Central Expressway, is Kramer Elementary.
Kramer’s attendance zone is large, but often you see the homes closest to the school with private school signs in the yard. However, when you look at what Kramer has to offer — Dual Language, International Baccalaureate, a learning garden from Real School Gardens (just to name a few things) — you realize that getting a home in this footprint really can give you a lot of bang for your buck.
And what about the homes in the Kramer attendance zone? They can range from the seven figures all the way to the $400,000s, with plenty of wiggle room in between. This five-bedroom, four-bath home with a large lot, beautiful pool, a wine cellar, and multiple living areas at 7538 Baxtershire is in the beautiful Jan Mar neighborhood.
Have you been looking and looking and looking for a home in the Lakewood area, only to keep getting outbid? Have you considered moving outside that attendance zone, but are unsure of the school options — because there are at least two great schools that don’t get as much attention, but offer opportunities galore.
Take, for instance, Dan D. Rogers Elementary. Now, right now there isn’t a ton of inventory in that Ridgewood Park and University Meadows area, but I also happen to know that those folks at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate often know about homes before they’ve even hit the market — upping your chances of finding a family home close to this school. Or, conversely, if you’re ready to downsize, those guys probably know a few people who are chomping at the bit to purchase your home. So whether you’re looking in the Ridgewood Park or University Meadows area or (as you’ll see in a minute) want to be close to Bishop Arts, having a realtor that can help you locate properties quickly is often the key.
But, for real, there are some charmers in that area, like this roomy four-bedroom, two-bath home at 5602 Ledgestone Drive that features a large den with a fireplace.
Now, when it comes to Dan D. Rogers, we have to mention its personalized learning program. All the bang of a Montessori, plus the tech of a STEM school, bundled together to help every individual scholar. The school also has a beautiful new learning garden.
Lee Elementary is also a Dual-Language immersion school and an International Baccalaureate school. It serves the Belmont/Vickery Place/Lakewood Heights area, and is just another one of those gems people can overlook at times.
But just look at the inventory — everything from townhomes to adorable Craftsman cottages to homes with a more industrial vibe, there is a home for your family. I’m pretty partial to this two-story, three-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial at 5726 Vickery Boulevard, which is about four to five blocks from the school. Did you see that list of amenities?
And last but certainly not least, Hogg Elementary. Hogg is often eschewed for its more favorably viewed sister Rosemont Elementary, which enjoys significant parental involvement. But Hogg is starting to curry favor with parents who realize its value – once a school that needed improvement, it is now making strides academically and offers Dual-Language immersion as well. In 2015 the students at Hogg became the only school in Texas to win a $10,000 technology grant from Code.org.
While the inventory is low in the Hogg Elementary attendance zone currently, there is the chance to get in on new construction, or this beautiful modern farmhouse home at 1227 Woodlawn Ave. (Look at that porch — I’m a little in love with it).
And as I said before, if you’re in love with a neighborhood and the school it feeds, you can always reach out to the sharp folks at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate to help you keep your ear to the ground.