Monday, March 24, 2008

Countdown

- 9 hours and counting. As of early tomorrow, when we leave for the airport, I need to have my school choice made, insofar as I have to hold or lose my daughter's place at Private School C. I just visited choices A and B, and feel, if anything, less able to make a decision.

School A: I loved the teachers I met tonight. They were energetic, enthusiastic, and experienced (th three Es!). Their classrooms had lots of books, tons of child-produced art, and different "stations." Kids rotate through 3 arts-focused programs in a year: music, dance, and visual arts. There are hands-on science projects. I liked the other parents in attendance at this information session; they seemed funky and interesting and committed but not pushy. The buidling is old, but has a great "loft" space for the supplemental arts program. The most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse of my current options.

The downsides: 24 students to each teacher, although under-enrollment may bring that number down to 19:1 or so. No budget for regular aides. All those great dance, art, and music programs get only 30-60 minutes per week, although there are additional after-school programs on site. Teachers can/do integrate arts into their class activities, but a lot of the work is worksheets like my daughter is already doing: put an "X" on the object; trace the letter; trace the number; copy the word; color in the maps. Oh, and some guy informed us that there are 61 registered sex offenders within a .5 mile radius: "at least a third of those are level III." (Thanks, buddy. What a happy guy.)

School B: instead of an "open house," this was a methodical presentation. I like the principal--he's very informed and obviously loves his job. The kindergarten teachers were there, and were enthusiastic and informative. There's a great community feel at the school, although these parents were whiter and more...well, uptight. Several spoke up about being denied entry into the "best" (i.e., whitest, highest test-scores and income bracket) school--this appears to be second choice for the achiever families; it's in a "better" neighborhood than A.

The downsides: 24:1 ratio unlikely to get better. She might not even be accepted since we are not in one of the priority groups for this school. Same curriculum as above, but without the artistic elements. Minimal music, recess, art, etc. Parents seem a bit more status-conscious and competitive; the room was packed, and many of the questions had to do with test scores and with ways to "work the system" to ensure a place.

School C update: no new information, per se, but the newsletter this month talks about how the kindergartners are working on writing paragraphs with topic sentences, how they have finished their unit on geology, and how they are now working on the various systems of the human body. Spanish, music, art multiple times per week. An actual PE teacher.

It's still too white, too expensive, and too far away.

We leave tomorrow for a week-long trip to someplace warm. When I get back, I'll end the suspense of school roulette; in the meantime, feel free to guess which choice you think I made....

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13 Comments:

At 12:02 AM , Blogger k said...

A! For sure, it simply sounds the best our of the three of them :)

 
At 1:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

delurking...

i too am in quite a school quandry for my daughter.

i'm guessing A, although for some reason it seems like your heart is with C.

good luck! (and for what it's worth, i didn't go to preschool, went to the worst elementary school available and still made it to an ivy league college...although, i wouldn't exactly call me a sucess...heheh...)

 
At 6:33 AM , Blogger Snickollet said...

Based on your descriptions, I would totally choose A, hands down, no contest. As for what *you* will choose . . . I look forward to finding out!

So jealous that you're getting away for a week. I keep waiting for spring to arrive here and it keeps not doing so. It was 30°F when I got up this morning! Brrrr.

Bon voyage.

 
At 7:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm totally feeling A from you, and it sounds great. If A, then predict your only real frustration will be the lack of math and science, and that is easily solved.

 
At 8:39 AM , Blogger Julia said...

I feel like definitely not B. It seems like A is a good choice, but because of everything I told you before, I am still rooting for you to pick C. I would so not be saying that only 18 months ago.

 
At 9:48 AM , Blogger bg's Little Sis said...

I'm guessing C, A is a close second, B is out...have a wonderful time away in the warmth, you deserve a respite from the daily grind and the school roulette:)

 
At 11:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Probably too late for you to read this, but) wishing you a great vacation.

 
At 2:38 PM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

I like economic and socioeconomic diversity, so A!

 
At 4:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your heart is with C as anon said, but A seems the logical choice. Also, it sounds like a wonderful school. I would've done A, I think. Either way, I am sure you made the best decision for you and your daughter. I'm just a random lurker, but I think you're a great mom.

- A

 
At 10:51 AM , Blogger Jenny F. Scientist said...

Delurking to add that it's entirely possible C would negotiate on tuition with you, if you do decide on that one. And also, I live in a really crappy city, but there are 150 registered sex offenders within 1 mile of my house. Except the listings are rarely updated so one never really knows anyways.

Where I went to school- in a very good public school district- 24:1 would have been a *good* ratio. I think it's frequently typical of public schools.

I was once hired as a science tutor for kids going to a religious private school that neglected science. Maybe that would help?

Happy vacationing!

 
At 5:18 PM , Blogger Steph said...

So, you must be back by now...what did you choose?
Did the warm week sufficiently recharge you?

 
At 6:09 AM , Anonymous bostongirl said...

I am also wondering what you chose. Enlighten us, please. Hope you had a great vacation!

 
At 5:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

CURIOUS! A, B or C? :-)

 

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