Tag Archives for " Plano "

Why Dara chose a Private School for her Daughter – a Plano Mom’s Story

I feel like if you tell someone in North Texas “My child attends private school at…” people will look at you as if you have spoken a foreign language.

The schools in North Texas are superior for the most part so why on earth would anyone consider anything else? Needless to say I was not interested but my husband felt that we should consider it for various reasons. I can be very stubborn so I got the opinions from those I value most and together we decided to book some school tours.

dfw private school plano1

I remember saying “This is the dumbest most obnoxious thing we’ve ever done. It’s a complete waste of our time.” When I walked in the school we immediately noticed the security features in place and we were greeted by the most lovely front desk person you could meet.

As we toured the school I began to fall in love, it was how I remembered school and what I wanted for my children. It was warm, friendly, colorful and the kids were excited to learn, very polite and best of all shamelessly loving God.

The very last thing the admissions rep said to us was “I hope you see that our school is diverse, we have a director of diversity here and we work very hard to include all backgrounds.”

This was a big deal for us because because it showed she wasn’t afraid to address the concerns minorities may have. It was a long quiet walk back to the car but when Carl (my husband) asked me how I felt and what my thoughts were I gave him a defeated look and said “I love it”. I cannot believe I had been so naive and so wrong which means others could be too.

Going into this we wanted strong academics, a school that was competitive within TAPPS, PreK – 12th, diversity, not too far from home, parent involvement, a good lunch menu (I have a picky eater) and a school that could help increase our child’s faith.

As we toured other schools I learned that the DFW area has several school options to offer such as parochial, university models, single-sexed, Montessori, private with online options and special needs schools.

dfw private school plano

Our daughter (centered) and two schoolmates

Once we applied and were accepted I did what most moms do these days, I went to Facebook. Only I couldn’t locate a FB group that included DFW families enrolled in private school or seeking info on it, I mostly found school specific groups. I needed to learn more so I created a group called DFW Private School Families for those in private school or considering it. We have managed to build an online community where we can discuss thoughts, concerns, misconceptions and remain supportive of one another as well.

The things things group members often want others to know are not everyone who sends their kid to private school is rich or anti-public school.

Most parents in the group are working two or single parent homes and all are making a sacrifices of some sort daily.

If you were to ask me what to look for here’s what I’d tell you;

  • One of the biggest myths is that private school teachers aren’t accredited but this is not always true. The school itself often cannot receive a lot awards or accreditations if the teachers aren’t.
  • Private schools can offer various financial options to help with affordability.
  • Look for security measures such as lockdowns and definitely bullying prevention.
  • Staff tenure, private educators sometimes make less than public educators so you want a school where the teachers want to stay.
  • There’s no STAAR testing so how do they assess your child’s academic growth?
  • The curriculum in any school you consider should be challenging but homework shouldn’t consume your child’s life.

If you’re truly interested in a school you should attend the schools open house and ALWAYS tour during the school year. This wasn’t the original plan but we like where it’s headed.

This post is written by Dara K. Tilghman, a Mom of 2. She has spent hours researching Private Schools around DFW and has some unique insight to share with Plano Moms. Her Facebook group is DFW Private School Families. Follow Dara on Twitter

For more another guest post about Home Schooling, click here

Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program

Since 2014, the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program has been going on. It connects motivated high school students to local businesses and organizations. These interns are provided real work experiences that help them transition into college and future careers.

Let’s meet Sara, one of the many chosen interns for this past summer. She is going to tell Plano Moms more about her summer internship.  The photos below are some that Sara took during her experience.

 

 

What age, grade, and school do you attend?

Sara: 16 years old. Going to be a Junior at Plano Senior High School.

 

 

 

– Why did you apply for the program?

Sara: My Business Teacher recommended me to the Internship program. It interested me because you don’t see a lot of opportunities for High School undergrads to get out into corporate America. I want to be an Event Coordinator someday, and it was the best opportunity for me to get placed in a hotel. Did it meet your expectations? Yes, definitely! I know I shouldn’t go in expecting anything. However, it exceeded my expectation.

– What did you learn from the experience?

Sara: While in the hotel, I shadowed several different departments. I started off in Front Office/Housekeeping, Accounting, Kitchen, Banquets, Restaurant, Human Resources & General Manager. I ended my Internship with four weeks in Sales/Catering & Events. During my time here, I learned how crucial how important leadership & teamwork is to be successful.

My favorite part was being able to plan the Plano Mayor’s Internship Luncheon for 400ppl. I started by planning the menu with the kitchen to relaying the information to all of the departments. It was exciting to see it come through to fruition on Monday, July 31st.

If anyone were to ask me today, 10 out of 10, I would recommend applying for the internship.

Shannon, who is the Director of Catering Events at the Hilton Granite Park says that

“Sara attended several of our internal meetings to see that being in Events, there is a lot more to the “behind the scenes” in planning. She also responded to leads, went to Wedding Tastings, shadowed corporate groups while they were in-house, worked social events (weddings), assisted with office projects, attended Sales calls with the team as well as go on hotel sites with prospective clients.”

It was important to her to “ensure that Sara had a well-rounded experience within all aspects of the Sales/Catering & Events Department. Each department strives for the same goal, to get business into the hotel and ensure the client is happy with their event. Sara gained experience in each department, to know not only what they do, but also allow her to decide where she would like to be in the future.”

 

It sounds like Sara had an awesome experience, something she will always remember! Do you know someone that might be interested in applying for the next summer’s internship? Here’s how to apply! 

Thank you so much to Sara and Shannon

 

 

The Mom’s Guide to the Plano City Council Run-off Election

Moms, it’s Round 2!

To gain the council seat in each Plano City Place on the City Council, the winner had to achieve a 50% majority. While many of the seats were won in that way, we have a Run-off coming up June 10.
Here is what you need to know to cast your vote:
Plano City Council- 2 spots are available:
Place 2
Ann Bacchus – www.annforplano.com
Anthony Ricciardelli – www.anthonyforplano.com
Place 8
David Downs www.voteplano.com
Early voting has started and runs till June 6, 7pm. Times and locations are below.
Election Day will be June 10.  All the info you need is right here
We don’t present any candidate information here, but we encourage you to find out as much as you can to make an informed decision and most importantly, get out and vote!
Photos Credit: City Of Plano

My Top 10 Summer Fun List for Kids & Moms too!

Well, the countdown is on, summer holidays are rapidly approaching.  If you’re anything like me, I love to have a list of things up my sleeve for those days when the dreaded “I’m bored” words ring in my ears.  I try and balance out some at home days with some adventures out of the house.  And if it’s a free or cheap adventure, everyone is happy! My kids are 12, 9 and 6 so finding something that everyone enjoys can be a challenge to say the least.

Now, some of these we haven’t tried before and some are my family’s favorites.  I’ve limited my list to within Dallas but focusing on Plano, Frisco, Little Elm area.  

  1. Public libraries
    We are blessed with some of the best libraries around and all at our doorstep.  They offer amazing programs over the summer and at the very least, we go and borrow some books and dvd’s for those afternoons where it’s just too hot to play outside.  They offer summer camps and summer reading programs.  Look online for more details.

2. Movies

Both Cinemark and Studio Movie Grill are offering selected films at $1 over the summer.  See their website for details.  We also love the Coyote Drive In at Lewisville.  

3. Hawaiian Falls
I love Hawaiian Falls but with 3 kids, I usually save this for a weekend when I can get my husband or another adult to come with me so we keep our eyes on everyone at once.  We always take our own cooler in with lunch and drinks and might treat the kids to an ice-cream or snow cone on our way out. 

4. Pools 
Our favorite is the Frisco Athletic Center.  We love that you can take a cooler in (no glass or alcohol) and enjoy a free day out if you are a member or pay the small entry fee if you’re not.  There are two great little kid’s areas, a big slide for the bigger kids and an awesome lazy river.  We haven’t yet been but will definitely be checking out the Jack Carter pool this summer, it has a diving board, a lazy river and a flow rider!  There is also the Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center close by which has splash pad, diving board and a slide.  

5. Video Game Museum
If you haven’t been, you should check it out.  My kids loved it and at the end of the museum is an 80’s style arcade (not to mention the 80’s tunes!!) and your entry gets you 4 tokens which gets you 4 games.  You can buy extra tokens – 4 for $1.  We only went a few weeks ago and my kids are already asking to go back.  

6. Dallas Museum of Art and Klyde Warren Park

My kids love being downtown and eating at the food trucks and playing in the park at Klyde Warren.  It’s right across the road from the Dallas Museum of Art so makes for a great day out.  DMA offers free entry every day and has a great summer family fun program from June 13 to August 11.

7. Bowling

Most offer cheap deals over the summer like Strike and Pinstack, usually if you get there before 10am but if you register at www.kidsbowlfree.com  – you can bowl for free, you just pay for your shoes.  Registered kids get two free games of bowling every day of the summer for free! There is a one time payment of $5 per child to register and the closest is probably Plano Super Bowl.

8. Rollerskating

A similar program to the bowling, it’s at www.kidsskatefree.com and the closest to us is Interskate at Lewisville.  Ice-skating at Galleria is also lots of fun

9. Zoos
We love both the Dallas Zoo (especially feeding the giraffes) and the Fort Worth Zoo (love the walk in bird exhibit).  We’ll try and pick a cooler day and go early to avoid the heat, the animals aren’t overly active when it’s so hot

10. Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch
I have been meaning to take the kids here for ages, there’s always a groupon! It’s about 45 minutes away and is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays only from 10-5.  

Usually as summer approaches, I ask my kids to write down some things they’d really like to do on a piece of paper and we try and schedule all these things in too.  Try it out, you’ll be surprised what they ask to do – a trip to the library, or going out for ice-cream always make it on to our lists.

 

We are blessed to live in an amazing part of the world with so many kid friendly things to do and amazing weather to enjoy it in.  Don’t forget all the wonderful aquariums, museums, LEGOLAND (it has a small splash pad too!), splash pads, the list is endless…

It’s worth checking out the great deal with Plano Moms and Pogo Pass – for $39.98. You get access to quite a lot of these activities mentioned above and a whole lot more.  And the best part is that you have a year to use it.  Get yours now: https://dallastx.pogopass.com/

Enjoy your summer vacation!

What’s your favorite thing to do with kids over the long hot summer? I would love to hear of any I may not know about.

Melissa, Guest Blogger for Plano Moms

Best (non-chain) Pizza Places in Plano

Everyone loves a good pizza place. Whether you are new to town or just looking for a new place, here are some of the most suggested (non-traditional) pizza places around Plano. Most of these places serve other things besides pizzas and a few are BYOB when you dine in. Check them out and let us know your favorite from the list!

Eddies (BYOB if you dine in!) SE corner 15th and Custer

Joe’s (BYOB if you dine in!!) NW corner Custer and Spring Creek

Ferrari’s Coit and Legacy

Campisi’s New location at Parker/Preston (great Italian food!)

Napoli’s  Park Road in Plano

Angelo and Vito’s  Independence

Palio’s Pizza Cafe Preston Road (BYOB if you dine in!)

Urban Crust  In downtown Plano, a fun place to eat!

Zalat: 2 locations in Plano

Covino’s (BYOB if you dine in!) Parker/Independence (SE corner by Dog’s Play doggie daycare)

 

Did we leave your favorite pizza place off the list? Let us know!

 

 

Birthday Party Places in Plano

One thing kids love are having a big birthday party with all of their friends. Finding the best location can be stressful for Moms!  Plano and the surrounding areas have tons of great birthday party locations! Here’s a list of just some of the best kid’s birthday party places in Plano.

Safari Run: Safari Run opened in the summer of 2016 and is a great party location! There is room to run, climb, and slide and is fun for a variety of ages.  There are several party packages with the option to even rent out the facility.  Visit their website for more birthday party information and how to book a party.

Thunderbird Rolling Skating: Thunderbird has been in Plano for years and still makes for a great party! They have some very reasonable party packages that make for lots of birthday fun for everyone!

Kid Mania: Kid Mania is fun for a variety of ages and kids have a great time playing! They have food and arcade games too. The party packages say that Moms and Dads get to enjoy the day while the crew of Kid Mania does all the work!

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Texas Pool: Have a summer birthday? Plan a pool party at the Texas pool!

Carefree Colors: This is a new painting place in Plano that kids 5 and up will love! They do amazing work at Carefree colors and kids will come home with a beautiful painting that is a great party favor.

Plano Superbowl: Bowling is a great birthday party idea! Kids will have a blast and they have some great party packages. Adults are able to bowl next to the kids during the party too!

Heritage Farmstead: Have a birthday party on the farm! The kids will have a blast and adults too. Check out this post I wrote all about the Heritage Farmstead.

Playstreet Museum Plano Moms say they have great options and the place is already decorated so cute for a party!

Plano Pools: There are several pools in Plano that you can rent for a party. A swimming party in the winter is just as fun as the summer time! Check out the Pools in Plano you can swim from and have parties at.

WOGA: This makes a fun birthday party for ages 4 and up and boys or girls. Activities are centered around the age of the child. WOGA will even provide all the paper goods for the party!

What are your favorite places for a kid birthday party?

 

Find the Best School in Plano for Your Kids

Plano is named for being one of the best cities to live in. Not only is the cost of living reasonable, but the schools are rated some of the best in the state. Starting school is a huge milestone for kids. You want to find the right school to serve your child’s needs. Here are some ideas on how to find the best school in Plano for your kids.

If you are just starting your search or new in town it’s important to give yourself some time do some research. Think about your children and what might be best for them individually.  If you are just moving into the city then take some time to learn about the schools zoned in the neighborhoods you are most interested in.

Plano has 72 schools across the town that include early childhood, elementary, middle, high school, and senior high schools. So where to begin?  A good place to start your search is by looking at the district’s website. Here you can find out more information about all the schools. You can also do the school finder to help you find the schools that you are zoned for according to your address.

One of the most important things though is to consider the needs of your child.  When my daughter was about to start her elementary years in Plano,  I wanted small class size. Maybe you have a special needs child or a high achieving student. Every school in Plano has their own page that will give stats and list additional resources and classes offered at that particular campus.

If you are looking to get more into school rankings then consider  School Digger,  Great Schools, and Neighborhood Scout.  Though it’s good to get a variety of input from the community, these sites may not be able to tell you everything that you are looking for. They might not give you real Mom advice, so it’s a good idea to join in on the school talk on Plano Moms Talk!

With over 4000 members, these real Plano Moms will give helpful advice and they love to offer suggestions. Moms on the school hunt or moving into the area are always asking and seeking tips and suggestions. Don’t be afraid to ask.  Plano Moms are so helpful!

The Heritage Farmstead

If you’ve been in Plano for awhile you have probably heard of a local farm we have called the Heritage Farmstead. It’s located in the middle of Plano and a perfect place to take the family or even have a birthday party! Come check out the Heritage Farmstead.

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 photo credit: plano.gov

Built in 1891, the Heritage Farmstead is an active farm and house that has been preserved very nicely so you can really experience what life was like back in the day.  It’s located on a 4.5-acre farm complex off of 15th street and serves over 4,000 visitors annually.

The Heritage Farmstead has a house you can walk through and see replicas of what life was like in each room from clothing to dishes and baths. A crowd favorite is the one room school house you can look in and sit at a desk to get a good picture of what school was like back then!

This makes a fun birthday party location as well as a fun family day out.  The farm can be rented out for a private party or even a wedding!

Taken from the website: 

General Admission and Self-Guided Tours

Mondays: Closed
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00am-4:30pm

Price
$3.00 per person
Children 2 and under are free.

General admission includes a self-guided tour of the grounds, animal viewing, and outside of buildings.  Self-guided tours do not include access to the Farrell-Wilson House, the Young House, or the School House.  A printed guide is available.

 If you’re looking for a fun family day and want to learn more about Plano History then the Heritage Farmstead is the perfect place!

Have some Summer Fun at the Farm!

Have fun this summer at the Heritage Farmstead Museum summer events! Experience hands-on activities like chicken feeding, school house demonstrations, tractor driven wagon rides, games of the past, and more! Tickets are $5.00 per person. Preregister and receive one free chaperone admission for every ten kids.

Let’s Get Mooving: Get Mooving this summer with our featured hands-on dairy activities. Milk Buttermilk the incredible milking cow and visit the Southwest Dairy exhibit. Tuesday, June 20, 2017 10:00am — 1:00pm
A Day at the Farm: Take a step back in time for A Day at the Farm. Help with old-fashioned chores such as plowing and planting, washing clothes the old fashioned way, and washing dishes. Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:00am — 12:00pm

Visit www.heritagefarmstead.org or call 972-881-0140 for more information. Heritage Farmstead Museum · 1900 West 15th Street · Plano, TX 75075

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the Heritage Farmstead in Plano. All opinions are ours. Please see our disclosure statement and private policy for more information.

Best Bluebonnets in Plano {and Surrounding Areas}

Spring is here and that means the beautiful bluebonnets are starting to pop up all over town. They don’t last very long so time is limited. Here are some of the best places to find bluebonnets in Plano and surrounding areas.

 

  • JC Penney Headquarters:   Address:  6501 Legacy Dr, Plano, TX 75024                                                                      Know before you go: This is a high traffic area during the work week. It’s best to go after 5 or on the weekends. Many local photographers also take photos here so know that there will be lots of people around! (Update: There have been some changes to the land and some of the bluebonnet fields are now gone. You can still go here but there aren’t as many as there usually are!) 
  • NE intersection of Custer and Spring Creek: (Behind the 7-11) on Bluebonnet Trail       The field behind the 7-11 has had some great patches of bluebonnets for the last several years now.  Know Before you Go: There are power lines in the background. It’s a safe place to park but the area might not be covered in bluebonnets, just some patches here and there.
  • Highway 78/Country Club (Near Firewheel)
  • Panther Creek Area (Zion Cemetary in Frisco) Does get crowded with people and it’s on a hill!
  • Fujitsu Field (George Bush/Renner in Richardson) 
  • Allen- Bethany/Alma (in the median) Know Before you Go: These can be great bluebonnets but they are in the median of a very busy road! Please be careful!!
  • Ennis Texas This would be a fun day trip. Every year they have a bluebonnet festival and have been known to have the BEST place to take pictures!

 

Spring Creek/Custer location

As with any bluebonnet patches, please be careful as bees are usually very attracted to these flowers. Also, snakes love to burrow in the flower patches so be careful with your little ones! It’s best to pick a spot on the outside of the bluebonnets!

Here’s a tip! When my kids were younger I used to bring a stool or chair to sit on. I always had them wear rainboots too so they wouldn’t be too muddy. With boots on, we didn’t have to worry about them stepping on bees 🙂

What other places can we add to our list?

 

Top 5 Things to do in Plano with Kids

Top 5 Things to do in Plano with Kids

We asked our group of Plano Moms to pick the Top 5 Things to Do in Plano With Kids.  The consensus…..it’s hard to pick only five because Plano is such a family-friendly city.  Plano can boast about having one of the best school districts in Texas but it has also been voted as one of the safest places to live!

The great outdoors! Plano has over 60 parks, trails, and nature preserves. Whether you want to hit a playground, go on a walk, or experience nature on a hike Plano has it. Plano has at least a dozen walking trails where you can enjoy walking, riding bikes, or skating. There are also two nature preserves:  Arbor Hills and Oak Point. You can get lost in nature, enjoy the creeks and enjoy spotting critters.

Top 5 Things to do in Plano with Kids

Plano also has a variety of recreation centers for families to enjoy. Most of the recreation centers have outdoors pool areas or splash pads that are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The recreation centers that have indoor pools are open year-round.

Interurban railroad museum is great for those train loving kids and hosts a story time hour every Friday. Play Street museum the newest addition to Plano and is perfect for younger kids. It is not an actual museum but a camping themed creative play venue. Heritage Farmstead Museum is amazing for little ones to see what it was like before electronics and has several animals children can see and maybe even pet. Finally, there are about a half dozen bounce house businesses that typically have a separate toddler section to keep your little ones safe.

We also love that Plano has several kid-friendly restaurants!  Joes Crab Shack, Katy Trail,  and Central Market have areas where the kids can play while you enjoy your meal.  Kid mania is a climbing venue, which has a room for adults with free wi-fi but has viewing access to your kids.

Plano is also famous for its Hot air Balloon festival held in September at the Oak Point recreation area. Plano also holds a yearly International Festival, Asiafest, Dickens in Historic Downtown Plano, and several other smaller festivals throughout the year.

What about Tweens? Well, we have activities to keep them busy. Bowling, rock climbing, laser tag, movies theaters, ice-skating, trampolines, and roller-skating. The newest all in one entertainment venue is Pinstack, which has food, laser tag, rock climbing, bowling, and video games. Pinstack is one of many entertainment venues for families to enjoy.  We also had many moms mention the dollar theater as a go to for a cheap family outing!

When it comes to Plano you really can’t settle on just 5 Things to Do with Kids however here are our

Top 5 Things to do in Plano with Kids

  1.  Visit a park!  Plano has amazing parks, trails and nature preserves!

  2. Stop by one of the recreation centers for a class or swimming!  The recreation centers and city pools can’t be beat! Check out the all updated Jack Carter Park that opened in July of 2016.

  3.  Head over to the Interurban Railway Museum or the Farmstead Museum.  Plano has such a variety of activities to choose from, there is something for everyone!  From museums to farms to indoor bounce houses to bowling….a choice for everyone!

  4. Check out the city calendar for a festival!  Plano offers many exciting festivals throughout the year!

  5.  Henrys!! Nothing beats some homemade ice cream from Henrys!!  Catch a movie at the dollar theater then head to Henrys!