When my parents moved us from San Jose, CA to Texas, they did a bit of research on schools in the Dallas area and decided on Coppell. The public school system in Coppell was (and is) very good, and it was an affordable Dallas suburb to raise a family of six. I’ve always loved my bubble-like suburban upbringing and have a sense of pride for the small town where I grew up. There was only one high school so I really felt like I knew all of my peers, and I definitely think the school system was a good experience.
Mike had basically the complete opposite experience. He grew up in New Orleans which has one of the worst public school systems in the country, so his parents, like so many others in the city, chose private school for their children. His entire graduating class was only 45 people. He is extremely proud of growing up in an urban city and definitely saw the benefit of private schooling.
When Mike and I were dating and would talk about potential future children, where to send them to school would always come up, and we had a lot of discussions since we come from completely different places. We knew a lot of it would come down to where we lived, but he educated me on the virtues of private school, and I helped him understand the benefits of public.
Once Mike graduated with his Ph.D. and we decided to stay in Dallas and buy a house in the city, we still hadn’t made up our minds. We bought in an area with a good elementary school to buy us some time, and then we started doing research. One of the things neither of us had was cultural diversity, and we really wanted that for our kids. Our public elementary school option had a healthy mix, so that was a bonus. But we started thinking more and more that we wanted our children to be bilingual. We read many articles and studies that highlighted brain-related benefits of children who speak more than one language, and beyond that we know the world is getting smaller and speaking more than one language would give our children a leg up. There are many great private schools in Dallas, but we really didn’t want to pay all of that money each year unless we felt our children were getting something they couldn’t get at public school. We decided that we would apply to the one bilingual school we liked the most, and if we didn’t get in, the girls would go public.
Well – the Dallas International School accepted Louise, and so we decided to take that leap. One of the things about bilingual schools is that you kind of have to commit out of the gate. It’s not something where we could put the girls in public elementary school and then move to a bilingual school for middle and high school. So Louise is in preschool at DIS starting on MONDAY (sob) and we are probably putting Celine in their new twos program next year. Bring on the adorable school uniforms!