Photo: One of the more adorable things I saw in the kindergarten classrooms last night. I meant to ask if this is a school that does phonics or not (some of the schools don’t). Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that the incorrect spellings are up on the board… but it’s adorable anyway.
Another Tuesday night, another school to visit, and there were significantly less parents this time around. I don’t know if it’s the snow or the protracted process, but last night was pretty low-energy… even grumpy. One woman who was wondering the halls with me leaned into my ear and said, “this whole thing is starting to get old.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
Where as the principals from the last three schools gave full-on presentations and speeches, with school choirs singing or students performing, last night’s principal put on a video, had three 6th graders speak and then sent us out into the school. “We’re going to be closing up shop promptly at 8. But you can see whatever you want until then.”
I don’t know how I feel about the lack of welcome… this school has the most open seats available and I think there is a feeling of inevitability about it. Like hey, you aren’t going to put us at the top of your list, but you’ll probably end up here anyway so… do what you gotta do to get cool with it.
I will note that the three 6th graders who were at the meeting were wonderful. They read from stories they’d written about a major event during their time at the school. All three were eloquent and vivid writers who presented beautifully. They weren’t as out-going as that crazy school from week two, but they still made a big impact. This feels like a school that has cultivated a culture of understated excellence. Something I totally dig.
The thing that stands out about this school as opposed to the others is that this one is the first one where teachers actually engaged me. Two stood in their classrooms and invited me in, showed me around their rooms, answered my questions and asked me a few of their own. One in particular, a 1st grade teacher, was awesome. She’d been doing this for a while, was enthusiastic and witty, and she clearly had a sharp eye for what kids need and what parents are looking for. I wandered into her classroom twice just to spend more time with her. I could see Major (or Minor) really learning a lot in her classroom.
One of the kindergarten teachers did the same thing. Shook my hand, showed me around, gave a bit of her insights into the school and the curriculum. I told her about my boys and she seemed sincerely excited about the prospect of having them in her classroom. It was refreshing, frankly. It’s the first school so far where I’ve felt fully welcomed. And yeah, the student body was incredibly diverse again judging by all the pictures in the classrooms and in the hallway. If told me that this was the second-most diverse school in the district, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
There are a few men on staff, even one of color! There was a pretty good range of ages on the staff, too. I did meet one 5th grade teacher who was delighted to throw her “class instagram” page on the smartboard. Me and this other mom sorta looked at each other like, oh… thanks. Hilariously, if I were still a teacher, I would have been like ooooh, yes! Tell me all about how you’re using instagram as a pedagogical tool! But as a mother, I was like, “eww. So you’re spending all your time playing with your smartboard and posting pictures on the interwebs?”
I’m a snot. I know I’m a snot!
In all seriousness, though, I’d say that this would be a pretty solid second-choice school. It has the most open “seats,” so there is a high likelyhood that this is the school we’ll get. I wouldn’t cry if we got it. It’s still not my first choice (which I haven’t visited yet) but it’s a great choice. A solid “second place” choice. Why? This is a solid elementary school without a lot of bells and whistles. It’s not project-based, there isn’t an emphasis on art or music or exhibition… it’s not a school that specializes in anything. If you want a solid school that gives your kids a firm foundation, this is it. I think that’s great.
But there are two other schools to look at and they are offering everything that this school is offering plus some. There is an art emphasis at one and public speaking/leadership emphasis at the other. I’d really like to at least see them before I start my final ranking.
but next week is school vacation week, so no visit! What am I gonna do with my post next Wednesday!?
Seriously… February break is the dumbest thing ever. Ever!
Quiet Thoughts on Friday? I’ll probably have some. I have some already. A preview: one of the preschool moms asked me how I was doing today during pick-up and I answered her honestly: I’m exhausted. I’ve been cooped up with my boys for seven days and they drove me crazy and I’m exhausted. Next week is vacation week and I’m utterly dreading it and it’s making me exhausted just to think about it.
What a moron I was to do so. Why does one ever answer anything truthfully?
More on Friday. What are you going to accomplish between now and then, Dear Reader?