In this month’s magazine you’ll find a story about Sarah Greenman, a remarkable neighborhood artist, wife, mother whose amazing family blew my mind. She has two children. One, Charlie, has special needs because he was born with multiple and severe birth defects.
I first tracked down Sarah because of her art and her home’s unique interior design, because in April we do a home design-themed issue. But the Greenmans offered so much more than a cool house. If you haven’t read their story, please please please do.
They live on Timberleaf near Forest Meadow Junior High, in an attractive ranch house facing a large apartment complex that looks, from the outside, nicely maintained. Charlie attends Stults Road Elementary School. His older brother, Walker, goes to Skyview.
The topic of Richardson ISD neighborhood elementary schools and the lack of diversity within them has come up here on our website (in the past we found that many homeowners were transferring out of their homeschool, Northlake or opting for private school, while apartment renters in other attendance zones were transferring into Northlake; that practice resulted in homeowner kids being together at one school and apartment-dwelling students attending together at another, which is still largely the case in certain neighborhood elementary schools, including Skyview).
So, it came up the first time I interviewed Sarah. Here is an excerpt from the story:
Skyview is one of those Lake Highlands schools attended almost exclusively by children who live in nearby affordable apartments, despite a large number of single-family households with children in the attendance zone.
Sarah knows of about nine families in her neighborhood who send a child to Skyview.
“We came from Seattle and were used to seeing more diversity in the schools,” Sarah says, noting that she was surprised upon learning the dynamics of Lake Highlands schools.
Skyview is not very racially or socioeconomically diverse: Only 8 percent of the student body is White. 88 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Sarah says neighborhood families were transferring out of Skyview in the name of a better education. “When, in fact, the school is great.”
Today Sarah tries to get the word out to anyone who will listen about her “stellar” experiences at Skyview.
Skyview indeed lacked parental involvement, she says, and based on the stats, Sarah guessed many parents, possibly working long hours for a low income to support their family, did not have time to get involved.
So she did. She tutors Skyview students and next year she will serve as PTA president.
To recap, here is what the Greenmans did: They moved to a beautiful property in the Skyview attendance zone, and they researched and visited Skyview. They found that the academics were sound. There was a lack of parental involvement, it seemed, so Sarah got involved. She spends time at the school. She helps by tutoring students whose parent/parents are still at work when they get out of school. Sarah is part of the solution. She has met (albeit a very few) other families who have done the same. They too are part of the solution. Also of note: A few years ago councilman Jerry Allen spoke about the Skyview principal at a community meeting. At the time, approximately 2009, he said 100-percent of the Skyview students lived in neighboring low-income apartments, so, considering the nine — give or take — home-owning families who now utilize the school, we are making progress.
Note: I’ve reached out to the Richardson ISD to gain some insight into Skyview. I’m still waiting on specific numbers related to transfers in or out of Skyview to other schools and where they are transferring from and/or to.