Grenadier Homes in Creekside Estates are perfect for families with school-aged children.

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of hundreds of North Texas teachers groaning as the first “Back to School” advertisements start showing up on websites and billboards. 

For a lot of people, buying a home is closely associated with education, and many times parents (or parents to be) will select a home based on the performance of area schools and the amenities that make family life a little sweeter. Not only does Creekside Estates have outstanding Plano and Wylie schools, but the amenities make it all the more attractive. 

But wouldn’t you prefer a custom home that’s built for your family’s needs? That’s what Grenadier Homes offers.

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SHmidwayhollow4110DunhavenAfter the rousing success of our first SCHOOL+HOUSE event, I immediately started hearing from all kinds of Realtors, families, and schools about picking their neighborhoods.

After compiling a list of potential schools and neighborhoods, I’m pleased to announce that the next SCHOOL+HOUSE will be in Midway Hollow on Sept. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will be co-sponsored by Grenadier Homes and Hartman Terilli Group/Coldwell Banker.

This Midway Hollow new construction by Grenadier Homes, located at 4110 Dunhaven Road will be the site for our second SCHOOL+HOUSE event.

This Midway Hollow new construction by Grenadier Homes, located at 4110 Dunhaven Road will be the site for our second SCHOOL+HOUSE event.

The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, new construction home is at 4110 Dunhaven Road  and features a study, a gorgeous outdoor entertaining area with a fireplace, and a master closet that is bigger than my first apartment.

What is SCHOOL+HOUSE? It’s part traditional open house, and part meet-and-greet with the folks that can tell you everything you need to know about the schools that feed into Midway Hollow. In this case, three elementary schools (Walnut Hill Elementary, Withers Elementary, and Foster Elementary) and two feeder patterns (Thomas Jefferson and W.T. White) serve this gigantic neighborhood that is bordered by Midway Road, Walnut Hill Lane, Marsh Lane, and Northwest Highway. We’re bringing parents, principals, and other Dallas ISD folks in to answer all your questions. And, of course, Realtors will be on hand to talk inventory and needs as well.

Why do we do this? Because some of the best knowledge about schools comes from the parents and principals who are there every day. They’re informed, involved, and ready to give anyone the ins and outs of sending your child to the schools in the neighborhood.

Keep an eye out next week for a look at this gorgeous house Realtor Karen Cuskey has found for us, and in the meantime, pencil our next SCHOOL+HOUSE in on your calendar. You don’t want to miss this.

Any adult of a certain age (cough) can tell you about recess at school. I remember having three recesses – two quick 15 minute excursions outside in the morning and afternoon, and about 30 minutes or so at lunch.

Occasionally you’d get in trouble and have to sit on a square – but you were still outside. At the time, it seemed obvious that sending kids outside for breaks helped them learn. There was no science needed to discuss it – it was just universally accepted that recess was important.

But then, something happened. I’m not sure when (although some attribute it to increased high-stakes testing), but when I asked kids about recess recently, I got a lot of blank looks. When I first started asking about it, I thought maybe they used a different word now – after all, we don’t call pipe cleaners pipe cleaners anymore, and sitting Indian style has become “criss cross applesauce” or something. I’m elderly, so maybe there’s another name for recess, right? Maybe they call it “outdoor learning,” or “physical matriculation” or “a hard reset” or some other newfangled phrase that means “send the kids outside and let them have a learning break.” (more…)

Alyssa Ortega, who teaches at DeGoyler Elementary, is just one of several Dallas teachers who utilizes DonorsChoose to raise funds for items the ordinary budget doesn't cover.

Alyssa Ortega, who teaches at DeGoyler Elementary, is just one of several Dallas teachers who utilizes DonorsChoose to raise funds for items the ordinary budget doesn’t cover.

At first, the news sounded kind of perplexing and ominous. Late last night, I was apprised of a memo that went out to Dallas Independent School District principals. The memo, folks said, banned the use of certain crowdfunding sites to raise funds for anything involving the district.

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Donors Choose have become havens for teachers and schools who need to raise money for school trips, class projects, new books, etc. Needless to say, as word filtered out teachers were concerned.

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After someone sent me a story about the mindset behind a certain email circulating regarding Highland Park ISD’s bond election, you know what stuck out to me?

Besides the fact that it felt like a prop from recent HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which unspooled the whole mess Yonkers, N.Y., found itself in regarding affordable housing, the other thing was this: There was absolutely no attempt to show any work regarding assertions. No aspersions cast on the writer of the story — he’s just quoting a guy. My beef is with the lack of solid bonafides behind the claims.  I used to have this editor that got all kinds of twitchy and irritable when (even in an op-ed) you didn’t at least attempt to give some sourcing for your assertions. “SHOW YOUR WORK,” he’d bellow.

So instead of picking apart the arguments in that email (and the quotes in that story) based on my ideological differences with the claims, I decided to approach things with an open mind and actually look at real studies done on affordable housing and crime. I mean, what if the guy was right? Or, what if he was quite wrong? Don’t you think it deserves a little look-see, at least, to see what we can find from reputable sources?

The area highlighted in red roughly shows where Highland Park ISD serves Dallas addresses.

The area highlighted in red roughly shows where Highland Park ISD serves Dallas addresses.

First off, let’s unpack where this particular brand of NIMBY likely came from. If I had to guess, it probably dates as far back as the 1930s, when the presence of low-income families meant the difference between no ability to get a home loan (areas that had predominantly black families and low-income families were redlined), or even as much of a difference as 80 percent financed/20 percent down (for an area with no low-income families and solely white) or 15 percent financed and 85 percent down (in an area where there was a racial mix and a lot of low-income families). The appearance of low-income or non-white ethnicities in your neighborhood during this time was a harbinger of plummeting property values and hardship.

But what about now? Is that true?

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