An Inside Look at 26 of Dallas’ Top Schools
from the September 1999 Issue
Photo by Jon Wasserman
Bending Oaks High School
11884 Greenville Avenue, Dallas (972-669-0000)
The first thing you’ll notice about Bending Oaks is that it’s in a
office complex. The second thing you’ll notice is that it’s tiny: 8,500 square feet houses 75 students—productive high schoolers who often haven’t been too successful elsewhere.
Bending Oaks is flexible, thus the name. You can chew gum and drink a Diet Coke in class if you want. Students call teachers by their first names. With only six kids in a class, sometimes as few as three, rules can be relaxed.
They pride themselves on the fact that students want to come to school—“Where the students choose us” is their motto. The school looks for students who can benefit from their amazing teacher-student ratio and have struggled academically in other schools. Forty to 50 percent of students have learning differences.
The school looks like an office, with students and teachers gathering in the kitchenette for a break. Bending Oaks uses computers for most subjects. (Biology students even do a computer simulation of a dissection, keeping smelly carcasses out of the building.)
Admission: The personal interview is the most important facet. Prospective students spend a day or two in the classrooms, and their skills must be at or near their grade level. Cost: $10,000 to $12,000 a year (current tuition $20K) .The payoff: Eighty-five percent of students go immediately to college (65 percent at four-year schools; 20 percent at two-year).
Lance Armstrong, winner of this year’s Tour de France, attended. Parents say: Most parents are grateful to have found Bending Oaks after struggling with their kids in other schools, often public. If team sports and pep rallies are your thing, this is not the place (although the school uses the local Y and has a membership at the gym down the street.