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Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing, and she works full time in digital media with a large cable network. When she isn't at work, blogging, or washing someone's socks, Katie enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large and totally impractical, 113-year-old Victorian house.

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It’s Kindergarten Round-Up Time in Tennessee!

By Katie Allison Granju |

As I’ve mentioned again and again and AGAIN over the past year (I bet y’all are getting sick of reading about our kindergarten angst, and guess what? It’s over!), after much research and gnashing of teeth and scouring of budgets for extra $$$, Jon and I finally came to the conclusion a few months back the only reasonable option for us when it came to C starting kindergarten in the fall of 2012 would be a public elementary school.

My three oldest children have all mostly attended private schools through the years, although J has now been very happily enrolled as a student at a public high school for the past three years, and E will likely attend the same public high school as his big sister next year as a freshman in the fall, after having spent spent the previous 8 years as a student at the same awesome Episcopal k-8 school that Henry and J were also lucky enough to attend.

Because C’s three older siblings have primarily attended private school, my own knowledge about our local public school options was pretty poor when I began researching where C might start kindergarten in the fall. Despite having been a parent living in the same community  for 20 years now, with three kids having already been in school for all those years, I was  really kind of starting from scratch, just like any new parent would be in learning about our local public school system before her child started elementary school.

What I learned is that our school system offers two elementary school options to parents:

  • Option #1 — your child can attend the elementary school for which he or she is zoned by street address. Some of the public elementary schools in our large, mixed urban/suburban school district are true neighborhood schools, with zones that are geographically distinct and defined by actual neighborhood boundaries, while other elementary schools serve a larger and less well defined geographic zone, so kids from many different” neighborhoods ” end up in the same school. This latter kind of school seems to be more prevalent in the faster growing suburban areas, where lots of different subdivisions feed into the same new, modern looking elementary school with a largish student population. The smaller, more traditional looking “neighborhood” schools are mostly found inside the city, where we happen to live. But there are exceptions in both directions.
  • Option #2 – Parents can apply for a transfer into one of the county’s two public elementary magnet schools. One of these two schools has a specialized curriculum focused on technology, and the other has a curriculum focused on fine arts and museum studies. Both of the magnet schools are located in what most folks in town would consider very sketchy, rough neighborhoods that are far more racially diverse than our community as a whole (which by the numbers, is not very racially diverse at all).  In addition to allowing transfers in from kids who live outside the magnet’s zone, the schools also serve as the primary zone schools for their own neighborhoods. All the kids who go to these magnet schools – whether they are zoned for them or they choose to transfer in from outside the neighborhood – get the benefits of the specialized curricula and “extras;” for example the technology-focused magnet school has very advanced tech labs, and the fine arts school offers high quality dance and music classes every week, which other local public schools are not able to offer.  Friends of mine in other areas around the country tell me that the public magnet schools in their own districts are often so popular with parents that getting a classroom slot isn’t easy or guaranteed. But the few magnet schools in our school district really haven’t caught on in that way. In fact, I suspect that many parents in our county aren’t even aware that magnet schools exist, or if they are aware, they don’t have any clear idea what they are, where they are, or what benefits they offer. I certainly didn’t before I began looking at options for C. Because of this lack of awareness, demand for the schools isn’t as high as it could be, and that means that pretty much anyone who wants to request a transfer from their own zoned school into one of the two elementary magnet schools will get that transfer approved.

Our transfer options do also include being able to request a transfer out of your zoned school if it’s not meeting certain, very specific performance standards per the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). However, as I understand it (and I freely admit that I don’t understand this piece of the puzzle all that well), while you are guaranteed a  transfer out of a NCLB “failing” school if you request it, there’s no guarantee that your child will then get a space at a specific NON-failing school.  In other words, your child might end up at a school that’s not that much better than the one you left, and it would be farther away from your house. So to me, the NCLB transfer option doesn’t seem like it’s really all that useful; getting out of a bad school ultimately doesn’t mean all that much if you can’t then get into a specific school where you actually want your child to be .

As I researched all of this over the past year, I kept hearing about families whose child was  zoned for a less desirable school simply being granted a transfer into a more desirable school (not a magnet school – just a school with higher test scores or in a nicer neighborhood or whatever)  for some reason such as the preferred school had a special class or activity that the child needed for some reason. However,  I have come to believe that these kinds of, “the Millers’ kid was zoned for awful school X and they got him switched to Super Fancy School in Posh Neighborhood” transfers may actually be like the unicorns or the yeti of our local public school system. Everyone will INSIST to you that they know someone who knows someone whose child was able to transfer out of their zoned school and into one of the swankier public schools for no particular reason, or because “they knew somebody” or something like that, but after a year of trying to actually connect with one of these parents who somehow pulled off one of these magical transfers, I’ve yet to actually speak to one myself.

So my research determined that Jon and I really only had three elementary options for C – the school for which our house is zoned, or one of the two magnet schools. We decided to look at and consider our zone school, as well as the magnet elementary school with the fine arts and museum curriculum. We ruled out the tech-focused magnet school because it’s too far away from our house, and tech/science don’t seem to be C’s strong interests at this point.

Because our zoned neighborhood school has the not insignificant challenge of serving a large number of at-risk kids, there are some areas where the school struggles. But overall, we were really impressed with how this small school is performing, and we heard some really positive feedback from parents who have children there. So it was definitely a possibility.

However, the more we looked at the fine arts-focused magnet school, the more we felt like it was exactly the right place for C.  In addition to everything else we found appealing about the school, it happens to be located very close to our house, and a large number of our neighbors are also sending their kids there. This little magnet elementary school is actually just as close to our house as the school for which we are actually zoned. So that’s a fantastic “plus” because we really wanted C’s school friends to also be kids who live nearby. It’s also far more racially diverse than our zone school, which serves many low-income families, but has a much more homogenous student population overall.

Although we have two magnet elementary schools in our district, there’s one thing that the fine arts magnet elementary school offers that the tech magnet does not, and that’s  an “honors” classroom within each grade level at the school.  ”Honors” is kind of a ridiculous word to describe little kids in kindergarten or early elementary school, but leaving that aside, basically this is an accelerated/enriched learning track for kids who test as “gifted,” and it’s available within the magnet school community and curriculum we wanted for her anyway. In other words,we would have wanted C to attend the school even if she had not tested into the “honors” classroom for her grade, but she did test in.

My understanding is that the test scores for the “honors” program within this unassuming looking little brick school of only 350 kids, located on the edge of a public housing project in what is considered one of our city’s worst neighborhoods are among the highest in the entire school system. And while test scores aren’t the whole story, they offer one measure for parents to consider, and on top of that, C will get to participate in this incredible arts curriculum with dance and music classes, and special partnerships with all the museums in the area.

So basically, after worrying for the past two years about what we would do when it came time for C to start kindergarten, Jon and I are absolutely pleased as punch with where she gets to go to school in the fall. And C is REALLY excited about starting kindergarten! She’s been going to preschool (same class as her cousin NC, and same little school that her older brother E and NC’s older sibs attended) two full days a week for the past two years, but she thinks of kindergarten as real, big kid school, and she’s talking about it more and more.

This morning, C got to visit her new school for the first time for what our district calls kindergarten round-up day. Kindergarten round-up is held in the spring of the year before rising kindergarteners will begin, and parents come in with their preschoolers and get all the enrollment forms filled out at the school they will be attending, and the excited 4 and 5 year olds get a little tour, and get to meet the principal and all of that. C was so excited that morning before we went that I thought her head might explode. She was literally VIBRATING with excitement about kindergarten round-up. She was very anxious in selecting the right outfit to wear, and she consulted her 16 year old sister for advice, and went with J’s recommendation.

When we got there, she did not stop grinning from ear to ear for the entire time we were there. When we got there, teachers staffing the sign up table basically made C as excited as I have ever seen her when they gifted her with a small backpack with things like crayons, math flashcards and – most exciting of all – REAL SCISSORS for her to keep and take home. While I filled out the enrollment forms at a cafeteria table, C happily did “homework with her new crayons and little notebook that came in the backpack.

After we were done with that, we met C’s new principal and assistant principal, and as it happened, the teacher who will have C’s class in the fall was standing right there, and she offered to take me, C and another little boy and his mom on a tour of the school. C got to see the kindergarten wing and classrooms, the instrumental music room, and her favorite part of the whole tour – the big, beautiful dance studio where the kids take their dance and movement classes, and put on performances. We met other teachers and parents, she acted like I’d taken her on a tour of Disneyworld. That’s how thrilling she found the whole thing.

All in all, kindergarten round up day was a huge success, and I am feeling great about where C will get to go to school this fall. I was not, however, feeling great when after leaving the school, I realized that I’d toured the school, met faculty and chatted with other parents, all with my skirt very obviously inside out. Yes, that’s right. I left the house that morning with MY SKIRT ON INSIDE OUT and I wore it that way for kindergarten round up.

Sigh.

As you might imagine, I took photos of C’s kindergarten round-up experience, and I wanted to share because they’re so cute. I think her excitement about the whole thing just radiates right out of each of these pix, which is pretty cute. Jon didn’t get to come with us, so the photos were also for him to see how excited C was.

IT’S KINDERGARTEN ROUND-UP TIME IN TENNESSEE!

(just click the arrow to the right of each photo to view the next one in the series)

 

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It's Kindergarten Round-Up Time in Tennessee!!

C meets the faculty

C happily posing with her kindergarten teacher for next year (center), along with the principal and her assistant. They were all SO NICE.

 

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How do public school transfers work in your school district? Are they hard to get, or easy? Do you have public magnet or charter school options? How difficult is it to get a classroom spot at these magnet and charter schools? How did you pick your child’s elementary school, and have you been happy with your choice? Tell me in the comments below.

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About Katie Allison Granju

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Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “It’s Kindergarten Round-Up Time in Tennessee!

  1. geri a says:

    No comments about schools, etc., but did want to say I just find C to be an adorable, neat kid. And her smile just made me smile so much; it is so neat when kids want to go to school. (They had to pretty much pull Nick off me, while his little sister could not wait to go!). Glad it was such a great day for you and C, inside out skirt and all :)

  2. jzzy55 says:

    Two comments. And a best wishes for a great school year! And no, we don’t have this where I live, not in any formal way.

    Honors is fine, but gifted is a misused word. Very few people are gifted. Considerably more are talented. I very much dislike the misuse of the term gifted. I have a very high IQ. I am not gifted, though. Even my MIT-gradPhD college professor husband is probably not “technically” gifted. I say don’t use the term until you’re sure what it means, even if the school bandies it about (irresponsibly, in my opinion).
    What is gifted? Although there’s always controversy about IQ testing, the general understanding is that one child in about 2,000 has an IQ above 150 on the Stanford-Binet Form L-M; one child in a half-million has an IQ above 170. 150 and above counts as gifted. I do not believe there are enough entering kindergarten children in Knoxville to make up an entire gifted class. Are there 40,000 children entering Knoxville’s kindergartens next year, from which the 20 gifted children with 150+ IQs have been selected? See my point here?

    Secondly, I think it is just wrong for a child to meet his or her teacher for next year — in April. So many things can happen between April and September, in a person’s life and/or a school district. Most likely that friendly looking young woman will be C’s teacher, but what if she’s not because her husband got a new job somewhere else, she was offered a different position at another school or within her own school, or she decided to stay home with her own kids? All those things are possible.

  3. Danielle says:

    I know how you feel! We were very fortunate with our kindergarten experience this year. Our neighborhood public school started a magnet (International Baccalaureate) program this year for all students enrolled. It would have been more than great. But, we had our hearts set on a public charter school in our small city that specializes in bilingual immersion, with a big focus on arts as well. For example, the school has a partnership with the Napa Valley Symphony, and all students are provided with a violin and music lessons beginning in kindergarten! There are approximately 300 applicants for 110 spots in kindergarten…we were waitlisted until the week before school. Now, my daughter is close to the end of her kindergarten year, and her teacher has spoken only Spanish to them all year long. She has started reading and writing in Spanish at age 5. Imagine my surprise, they actually get addition and subtraction worksheets as homework in kindergarten! Best of all, the school maintains an equal ratio of native English speaking and native Spanish speaking kids, so there is truly an equal mix of race, class, and gender. I feel like she is getting the best education money can buy, largely funded by my tax dollars! Of course, parents do subsidize the school, but it is so much less than one would pay for private school. A good public magnet or charter school is truly a gift.

  4. Jen says:

    Excellent start for K! I think it’s a great idea for schools to have some sort of meet your teacher, see your school Open House so that kids do have a visual to go along with all their imaginings.

    That said…Jzzy55…most school districts (and professionals) consider “gifted” to be an IQ greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean. That’s a 130, not a 150 and is the top 2.5% of scores. (“By construction, approximately 95% of the population scores within two SDs of the mean, i.e., has an IQ between 70 and 130.”) If you want to use a different definition, that’s fine, but it doesn’t change the definition that other people, who are actually running these programs, use.

    I think it’s pretty easy to agree that many kids are talented in one or more areas (some more academic than others) and that should be nurtured. It’s also pretty evident that there are some children who learn far more quickly — one telling and a quick practice and they’ve gotten a concept and are ready to move on. Other children may require multiple re-teachings and anywhere from 20 – 100+ practices to get just one piece of the concept.

    It’s certainly easier on the children and the teacher if a child isn’t expected to learn something far faster than s/he can, or if a child who already knows something isn’t expected to sit through another week of “learning” a small piece of a concept they’ve already learned.

    Now, we can discuss the merits of IQ testing, especially at this young age, because basically if you live in a very verbal household and have been read to, encouraged to think and explain, and been exposed to educational opportunities, you’re going to score higher than a child who hasn’t had those same opportunities. A few years of school and you may look more like that other child (or vice versa). In my district parents coming into the public schools at the high school level were often unpleasantly surprised that their children didn’t score high enough at age 14 to get into restricted gifted programs. If they had tested in K or 1st grade of public school, they might have qualified.

    Our district has some leeway around the 130 — with in a couple of points below, if there are at least some number of subscales in the “very superior” range, you can be labeled and included, as long as your current school performance and teacher comments reflect high ability.

  5. Rosstwinmom says:

    I want to go to school! This so reminded me of one of my favorite parts of being a teacher-the fresh, exciting start of a new year. I can’t wait to get back in the classroom once my boys start school.

  6. victoria says:

    Is NC going to be in her class next year?

    So our district. The city itself has about 400K people, I believe, though there are more in the metro. There are neighborhood schools (very few that are JUST neighborhood schools), schools that are partly/mostly neighborhood schools but also have either regional or whole-city magnet programs (this is the majority), and whole-school magnets, some that draw from the whole city, some that draw from part of the city. The gifted program is at a separate school and qualifying students are bussed there from all over the city once a week. (The city has experimented with doing this at the school level but massive funding cuts have pretty much scrapped this.)

    There are a few charters at both the elementary and high school levels. Also lots of private and parochial schools. There seems to be a reasonably good chance of getting into the magnet programs for people who are interested. The charter in my neighborhood is ridiculously popular and has a huge waitlist; I can’t speak to the others.

    I moved here fully intending to send my kid to public school, but we ended up sending her to a non-chichi private school, despite its being a financial stretch, for several reasons. We couldn’t be happier with her actual school situation; it’s ideal in pretty much every way imaginable. My guess is that if we’re still here when she’s done with 8th grade she’ll end up in public, assuming our governor hasn’t *completely* succeeded in gutting the public schools by that point.

  7. jzzy55 says:

    Oh, wow! According to Jen, I’m GIFTED. Let me call me mother and tell her. I’M GIFTED!!!!

    That and a few bucks get you on the subway.

  8. Jen says:

    Victoria,

    Interesting — your city sounds nearly like mine. Is it in PA perchance?!

  9. Jen says:

    Oh dear, JZZY55, I promise, *I* didn’t call you gifted!

    My school district (and most others around the country) would call you that if you were 6 though. Are you?

    You’ll notice that I didn’t promise you or anyone else anything beyond a definition that is in common usage all across the country. Certainly, there is no guarantee that you’ll use your great gifts for good or for getting a few bucks for the subway.

  10. jzzy55 says:

    By this new, looser definition, I am seriously gifted. Whatevs. Maybe it would have been helpful when I was a girl to know that the reason I felt different was because, statistically, I WAS different. But I doubt it. Being gifted, I figured it out for myself anyway. (JOKE, sort of).
    What the IQ thing doesn’t acknowledge at all is that, as you say, high IQ has nothing to do with other equally (and sometimes more) important skills (social, emotional, physical being big ones).
    But seriously, I can’t imagine anything worse than being stuck in a room full of other equally IQ gifted wee ones. Or teaching them. That latter thing is the sticking point for me as an educator. Today I was telling a friend about this gifted HONORS kindergarten thing. She was a career kindergarten teacher in an upscale suburb of Boston where the children were offspring of captains of industry, famous lawyers, Harvard profs, etc. She was horrified by the idea of an Honors kindergarten.
    “How will they learn to get along, and by the way, a lot of gifted kids are kind of…awkward and difficult. They all need each others’ skills to learn from, as models,” was her comment. I learned a LOT from kids who were different from me. I barely remember the kids who were like me, in fact. I remember the ones who couldn’t read very well but loved stories, the ones who were so nice and kind, the ones who could do Double-Dutch when I could barely skip one rope held in my own hands.

    That’s what I don’t like about the sound of this school. Sorry, Katie, I realize you are a private school product and you are trying to bring that advantage to your little ones’ table, but I don’t like the sound of Honors kindergarten. I have no problem with the arts magnet school idea in general. Just the Honors thing. You seem so…intense about it. Why.

    I thin it’s important to think about why we are so invested in an opportunity. Who is this for? C? You? Are you working out something else here?

  11. Jen says:

    Well, as you pointed out — the numbers say that not all the kids in there are even gifted at the 130 level — the testing that she described doesn’t sound like a real IQ testing, but more of an extended readiness test. I don’t think it sounds like this classroom is some sort of districtwide “top” kids thing at all.
    I bet that there is likely to still be a HUGE range of ability in that room, especially in the areas you mention — physical skills, social, etc.

    I read Katie’s excitement as excitement about getting into this school with so many enriching activities — and believe me, magnet parents jump through lots of hoops in some places!

  12. Ruth says:

    Wow, @JZZY55 … judgmental, much? The school and program that Katie and Jon have selected – after what sounds like a lot of discussion and research – sound fabulous, in my opinion. It is precisely because Katie has had other kids go through elementary school that I’d imagine she has a pretty good idea of what attributes she is seeking in a kindergarten program for C. Not to mention that Katie and Jon know their child better than anyone – including, presumably, you – so I would imagine that they have reasons for wanting her in the honors program that are based on much more than Katie’s ego or desire to live vicariously through C. Katie is a pretty damn accomplished person on her own, and I doubt she needs the added perk of bragging rights about her five year-old daughter’s classroom placement.

    As the product of a dreaded “gifted ed” program myself, I knew that I wanted the same for my son when he tested into a similar program. It has nothing to do with being exclusionary and elitist, and everything to do with wanting your child to be stimulated and challenged and remain excited about learning … which can be difficult to do if the teacher can only teach at the speed at which the slowest learners learn. There’s also an amazing sense of energy within most gifted ed classes – kids have the latitude to think outside the box and opportunities to learn in ways that just don’t seem to happen within a regular ed classroom.

    In my school district – which is one of the top-rated districts in my state – there is a “pull-out” program for a gifted ed class (“Humanities”) that the kids attend in place of their regular ed social studies class in elementary school, rather than a full day gifted program , so we had an opportunity to experience both sides of the classroom “coin”. And I can tell you that my son felt much more at home in his skin in the Humanities class than he did in any of his regular ed classes, even though he had friends and good relationships with his teachers in both venues. In addition to covering some very cool subject matter, his Humanities teacher (he had the same teacher for Humanities all through elementary school) emphasized critical thinking, building good organizational habits, and collaboration between the students; they did a ton of writing and performing and discussing and imagining, and the program was just a great experience for him overall. I wish that it had been expanded to cover more subjects (although he was also in a math enrichment program that was amazing.)

    With regard to one of your stated concerns, JZZY55: If your kids are involved in any extracurricular activities (sports, scouting, music, arts, etc), and if their school has recess for multiple classrooms at a time, then they have a lot of opportunities to interact and build friendships with kids across a diversity of educational talents; they definitely don’t miss out in that regard just because they are in an Honors classroom. I would imagine that C. won’t be bubblewrapped or handcuffed during her non-school hours – she’ll most likely be outside playing and involved in activities that allow her to hang out with a wide range of kids. Just like her older siblings. So no worries about her social development (or Katie’s, for that matter!)

    Anyhow … the public schools in our district do have Kindergarten Adventure Night the spring before the kids start kindergarten. We wound up sending our son to the kindergarten program at our synagogue because – among other reasons – it was a full-day program, while public school kindergarten was – and still is today, 11 years later – a 1/2 day program. The synagogue program wound up being a wonderful choice for our son; it offered a very good mix of secular academics, arts, and Judaic studies, and I can’t imagine that he’d have been nearly as well-served by a 1/2 day program. We were obviously far from the only parents who felt that way: When my son attended, there were five (!) full kindergarten classes at the synagogue, with about 15 kids in each class.

    @Katie, what a terrific photo capture of what looks like a wonderful day! Is NC going to be going to this school as well? And am I totally insane, or was there a post with pix of NC and C on your blog that doesn’t seem to be there anymore? (And – wait – one with pix of G as well??) I could swear that I saw those posts in passing at one point, but now not so much. :-/

    Anyhow … sane or not ;-) I’m sending your rising kindergarten kiddo wishes for a fabulous year; may she always be as thrilled about school as she is right now!

  13. Ruth says:

    I tried to put in paragraph breaks, but they didn’t “take” – I’m really sorry for the huge, crazy-hard-to-read chunk o’ text in my post above!

  14. geri a says:

    “However, the more we looked at the fine arts- focused magnet school, the more we felt like it was exactly the right place for C.”

    And there it is. Parents doing their “due diligence” and deciding on what they think is best for their child.

    Again, thanks for sharing the pics and little video of C, they just make me smile. Very happy that you and Jon were able to find a school that you feel is best for C, and that C is so excited about going to.

    Oh, and our schools here in Michigan do kindergarten round up too, where the soon to be “big school kids” get to go see the classroom, meet the teacher, etc. Of course things might change before the fall, that is possible, anything is possible. If change occurs, we adapt to that, but most of the time, by the spring, things are pretty well set up for the fall semester, before summer break starts.

    I am actually excited to hear more C stories in the fall, and see more pics and videos of her if you choose to share them. As I said earlier, she is just a neat little girl, who really just touches my heart, even if I only know her through what you share about her. I just LOVED it, during the video, when you would ask a question like “do you think you’ll make new friends?” and her sweet little “of course”. Smiling again thinking of it :)

    Maybe I am feeling extra emotional this morning, but I want to say again katie, that it is obvious you are a loving, good momma. That all of your kids just mean everything to you. I know this is a hard time of the year, with lots of memories of unimaginably painful things happening in April and May, and I hope these exciting times with the other kids help ease the pain, a little.

  15. victoria says:

    @Jen — I am, in fact!

    When I moved here, I adopted the local NFL team out of self-preservation, but no one cares that I’ve kept my old baseball allegiances. Does that narrow it down sufficiently?

  16. jzzy55 says:

    Of course I’m judgmental. People put their stuff out there for us to think and about talk about. Everyone isn’t going to agree. Sometimes people have strong opinions.

  17. Jen says:

    Why Victoria, it certainly does! You wrote such an excellent, succinct description that I was really quite certain it had to be home.

    We moved here, well, it’ll be 22 years this summer! Oldest two children went all the way through the public schools. Oldest got a great education and experience (in general, of course, it had its moments of not great, LOL). Second oldest was just behind the first waves of change and had many of the same great experiences, but there were definitely things missed and things that changed for the worse. And the recent (last 5-6 years) of change have really accelerated the problems.

    And then there’s the youngest. In a magnet that is one of the last places I’d send a kid in the district under the current curriculum and administration. Not sure what to do at middle school. Obviously, we’ve been totally devoted to public education and willing to take some hits for it. But even we have a limit. Pondering what non chi-chi private you mean…and wondering if they’ll have openings when we need 6th grade!

    Also, we likely live within walking distance of each other — across the park.

  18. victoria says:

    That charter is technically one neighborhood over, across the park from me, so we probably do live very close to one another. Small world, eh? I know a few Jens here, but none of them have older kids…

    I think the whole situation here with the state funding is just unconscionable, and looking at the whole Chester Upland situation it’s scary to think it could get worse. Talking to friends who have kids around the system I really admire how the schools have been able to make do with very little support, but I wonder how much further they’ll be able to push it, especially hearing about the plan for the school libraries. Resourceful but really sad.

    My kiddo’s school generally does have openings for 6th grade, just from kids moving into the public 6-12s. (It generally runs under capacity, although the younger grades right now tend to be full.) It’s both teeny and secular, which I suspect narrows it down quite a bit…

  19. Louise says:

    @Jzzy55, I agree with you. I find the “special snowflake” syndrome wearying.

  20. Tara says:

    Yay! I’m glad you found such a great school for C to attend. I swear some of her excitement leapt through the screen! I know what a comfort it is to have a good school for your child that meets all of your various personal/family needs. Can’t wait to hear about her new adventures next year. :)

  21. Claire says:

    What a wonderful success story! As much as you must have been sad at first not to send C to the same lovely school your other children attended, this has a potential to be a fantastic adventure for your family. We also have the good fortune of a great public magnet school. Actually, here in Cincinnati there are quite a few of them, created by a court mandated desegregation plan. Like you, we are drawn to the magnet schools’ diversity and good ‘fit’ for our child. I’ve just been blown away by the diverse and committed community of families that all pitch in to make our school fantastic. While we have the same ‘bleh’ textbooks as the rest of the district (NCLB-testing oriented stuff) and parents and teachers provide such basics as toilet paper and soft scrub (the teachers and students help out the one custodian by cleaning the rooms themselves) the big difference is the community involvement. Any time I ever come to school I see parents, grandparents, neighbors in there volunteering, whether it’s planting a garden, tutoring, helping in the lunch room…. We have loved meeting the other families, and our son has been thriving.

  22. Kathryn says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time and loved this post! I wanted to tell you that I went to college with C’s teacher and recognized her in your first picture. She is a fabulous fabulous person and C will certainly thrive in her room!!

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