I wrote this to a parent of a prospective elementary school student. She didn't ask for this advice, but it is my prerogative to give advice where it isn't welcome. She loves a school that a few of her neighbors don't always like as well.
"I am so glad you like it! I have current families attending who are over the moon happy. I will also occasionally have prospective families who are lukewarm (who may never attend because of it - you will run into them from time to time and you will wonder what they see that you don't. Don't question your own gut). I think that it comes down to expectations and personal perception.
If we didn't have choice and a school like yours was the 'only choice' neighborhood school no one would think another thing about it, but choice makes everyone look over their shoulder to see if their neighbor is getting something 'better' (richer, higher scores, more enrichments, prettier building). When it comes down to it, your experience will be a factor of the luck of the teacher you happen to get and the conglomeration of kids in the classroom. Not every teacher, in even the most popular, sought after school, is going to be everyone's cup of tea. Your child's experience will be the average of his years in the school, his beloved friends, his ownership of his neighborhood, how easily and interestingly his progression to reading and writing mastery will be, as well as your excitement to be part of his school community, the beloved friends you make in the school, your engagement in his education, and your family's love of lifelong learning. In effect, it is life."
These are just my words of wisdom as a battle scarred optimist who loves how the bumps in the road made her own children more resilient, tolerate, ingenious, funny, and empathetic. My mother says that sometimes you can make your own good luck, and I believe her. Doing your due diligence is important. Trying to engineer perfection is a fool's errand and a misguided one. Life's twists and turns make us rich in spirit and in intellect far beyond our own simple and stupid plans (I feel like Shakespeare must have said something to that effect). Real life is much more interesting than that. Bon Chance.