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Hi all - we are moving to Gainesville in the next few weeks! I will be a grad student (PhD) at UF, as such will have a tight budget and we are thus fairly constrained i.t.o. accommodation. For now it seems it'll be Tanglewood Village.

Which, to get to the point of this post, will get us zoned for Idylwild Elementary for our 6-year old. Does anyone have any info on the school, how well they perform etc? I've heard JJ Finley is very good, but is there any chance of having your child accepted to a school outside your zone? And what about PK Yonge? Long waiting lists, little chance to get in? Worth it anyway?

And while I'm at it... if anyone knows of a good child care facility for our 3-soon-to-be-4 year old girl (around Tanglewood Village, Idylwild Elementary or UF campus)...

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I work at an apartment complex (Stoneridge Apartments) and its a great location, several other families here and still in Idylwild school zone. (if you are interested)

Welcome to Gainesville, Geraldine! I'm Jackie Alexander, the Sun's education reporter. Here's what I can share with you about area schools.

Looking at state grades alone, Idylwild Elementary School dropped from an A in 2008-2009 to a D state grade for the previous school year. Some parents, in response, applied to transfer out of the school. However, the school does have a new principal this year in Daniel Ferguson. It's his first time in an administration position, but if you go to campus, he's very hands-on. He likes to be in the classroom, observing teachers and students, more than in his office. A slew of UF students also mentor children that attend school there. Idylwild also has the challenge of a greatly changing student body each year as parents and students move around in the district.

You can also see the school grades for all schools in the district for the past 10 years here:

Alachua County Public Schools has a pretty robust school choice program. In fact, 20 percent of students don't attend the schools they are zoned for. If you decide that the school your child is zoned for doesn't work, you can always apply by the end of February for open enrollment through this link: The only catch is that transportation is not provided.

I'm not sure about PK Yonge's admission difficulty, but you can read up more on it here: I believe the initial admission deadline of late October has already passed.

Hope that helps.

I'm not a big believer in standardized testing, but a drop from A to D is a pretty "impressive" drop (not in the good sense), any idea why that happened?? Also, our son will be in kindergarten, 1st Grade next year, does anyone have any specifics about those grades (have heard stories that Grade 3+ is so-so at Idylwild)?

Thanks so much for your responses, by the way! I have just today organised everything at UF and I got an apartment (+key) TODAY! I am very excited, Gainesville looks like a great place!

Campus Church of Christ has a pre-school called "My School", and it is located right near the law school on 2nd between 34th Street and University.  It is a wonderful place to send your child.  My child and my niece and nephew both went there.  They are caring and warm and really strive to get your child ready for Kindergarten.  Miss Marilyn is the Director and she is terrific! 

Hey!  I know I am slow to respond.  Hubby happened to see this post a while back and told me about it, but I'm just now getting the chance to respond.

My daughter originally attended Talbot Elementary when we moved here in 2008.  It's a great school, so much so that I was hesitant about applying to PK.  However, Hubby grew up around here and when he was a child PK was "the" school.  So we didn't make the enrollment deadline for PK that first year, so I waited until my daughter entered 3rd grade before trying to get both her and my son in.  My daughter is currently in PK, while my son is not.  He wasn't able to get a spot his Kindergarten or 1st grade year.  From what I've heard, more slots should open up between his 3rd and 4th grade year because of class size increasing.

PK has been a huge blessing.  They are a research school, so they are constantly researching new ways of teaching.  My daughter is currently in 5th grade and she's expected to do a lot, but at the same time family time is respected and most of the work that she does is done in class.  She gets ample "autonomous" time; time to work on what she needs to work on.  This year anyway, her teachers have been very big on giving her work at her level and coming up with individual goals.  

At any rate, if you want any further information, please let me know.  I certainly think PK is worth the effort.

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