Great “Undiscovered” Schools Give These Homes More Bang for Their Buck

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Photo courtesy Dallas ISD Foster Elementary School will host a open house for parents and community members interested in Spanish language immersion tonight from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
There are many neighborhoods that are home to “hidden gems” of Dallas ISD – schools that don’t get the attention of their more popular siblings, but have the same programs and successes. (Photo: courtesy Dallas ISD)

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.

This Midway Hollow home at 3811 Valley Ridge is a new build with plenty of space for a family, and is close to both Foster Elementary and Walnut Hill Elementary.
This Midway Hollow home at 3811 Valley Ridge is a new build with plenty of space for a family, and is close to both Foster Elementary and Walnut Hill Elementary.

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.

This five bedroom, five and a half bath home with a pool at 7538 Baxtershire is in the prestigious Jan Mar neighborhood, and is in the Kramer Elementary attendance zone.
This five bedroom, five and a half bath home with a pool at 7538 Baxtershire is in the prestigious Jan Mar neighborhood, and is in the Kramer Elementary attendance zone.

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.

This 4 bedroom, 2 bath home at 5602 Ledgestone is in the Dan D. Rogers Elementary attendance zone.
This 4 bedroom, 2 bath home at 5602 Ledgestone is in the Dan D. Rogers Elementary attendance zone.


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?

This two-story colonial at 5726 Vickery boasts gourmet kitchen, huge media room with wet bar and a balcony off the master bedroom. It is in the Lee Elementary attendance zone.
This two-story colonial at 5726 Vickery boasts a gourmet kitchen, huge media room with wet bar and a balcony off the master bedroom. It is in the Lee Elementary attendance zone.

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.

In the Hogg Elementary attendance zone, this modern farmhouse at 1227 Woodlawn has gorgeous wood floors and a swoon-worthy front porch.
In the Hogg Elementary attendance zone, this modern farmhouse at 1227 Woodlawn has gorgeous wood floors and a swoon-worthy front porch.

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.

 

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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

Comments

  1. Jeff Dworkin says

    Great article! If you want to be in a great school- Lee Elementary, close to Trader Joe’s, on a corner lot, a Prairie style home and a great floor plan check out JLD Custom Homes (a Candy’s dirt Hot Builder) new home at 5900 Prospect Ave. open egos Sundey 7/24 from 1-3pm

  2. Llora Singer says

    Nathan Adams Elementary, located on Welch Road and Harvest Hill, is in the center of a great North Dallas neighborhood. Adams offers dual language, Mandarin Chinese and a tuition PreK program.

  3. Zack Hall - Principal, Foster Elementary says

    Thank you for the wonderful words about our campus! Our teachers, parents, and students are wonderful– and we are so blessed to have such wonderful support in our community!

    Indeed, we have just a few open spots in our Kindergarten Spanish Immersion program! Parents interested in learning more about transferring to Foster for this great program are invited to email me at zahall@dallasisd.org.

    All the best.

  4. Louisa Meyer says

    Thank you Bethany. Keep up the good work in taking realtors and parents on this treasure hunt.

    Other treasures include: PERSHING El under the leadership of the amazing Margie Hernandez. I know her well because she taught one of my children; CABELL El. which is being completely remodeled this summer to provide the campus with a facility compatible with the Personalized Learning program installed there two years ago; GOOCH Elementary where Kim Ashmore of SMU’s Teaching Trust is carrying on the great work of her predecessor Martha Bujanda (now rocking it at MARSH). There are also many advantages to the small size of this campus; MARCUS El. is sparkling with amazing student work on display under the new leadership of Holly Wallace; SUDIE WILLIAMS El. also has an energetic new principal and a strong SBDM led by very involved community members; CIGARROA El. has a great principal in Quinton Courts and an incredibly vibrant PTA under the leadership of DISD alumnus Danae Guitierrez; but “the best in town” is my own NATHAN ADAMS El. It has a long history of a cohesive team of excellent teachers and involved parents. The greatest testament to its appeal is the number of families who transfer in to the school after having done their own research.

  5. Louisa Meyer says

    When the house of Baxtershire sells, realtor Debbie Sherrington will make ANOTHER donation to IwillgraduateDallas.org. Debbie honors and thanks her clients in this way. Other realtors interest in doing the same should contact either of us.

  6. Kathy says

    Wonderful article and comments. How will DISD improve of the good school are never lauded so thank you. Please follow up with schools on the south and west side.

  7. Kim Ashmore-Principal at Gooch says

    Thank you Louise for the Gooch shout out! Yes, I highly encourage parents and the community to come and visit Gooch, to see what a great campus we are. This will be my 11th year at Gooch Elementary, however I only transitioned into the Principal role in January ’16. I can personally attest that we are NOT the same campus we were in the past! When you walk through the doors you can feel the difference; our staff members enjoy coming to work everyday, our scholars LOVE being at school, and our parents and community are always welcome into our building. I want to personally invite you to schedule a time with me to take you on a tour of the campus and update you on all of the changes that have occurred over the past 5 years. This year we will be offering the two-way dual language enrichment program beginning in grades K and 1st grades, along with an after school program. We also offer small teacher to student ratios, personalized attention to our scholars and families, and a Saturday mentor-ship program with our partners from St. Mark’s, Hockaday, and Greenhill schools. I have gone door to door in the neighborhood to introduce myself, but it will take me a long time to get through the entire community, so I encourage you to come up to Gooch just to say “Hi” and to see the difference.

  8. Carroll says

    Families seeking Midway Hollow, 3937 Highgrove will go on MLS tomorrow, wonderfully renovated 4 bed, 3 bath with Open Floor Plan, outdoor deck and nice sized yard.

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