Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kindergarten. . . Krazy

Sorry for the use of the double K's in the title. I was momentarily moved to see what my life would be like as a Kardashian, except without the buckets of makeup, the "upscale" Forever 21 wardrobe and the extreme over sharing. (What? I said extreme over sharing, you won't see any at home bikini waxes on this blog--although you might hear about them. . .) Not to worry though, I will still maintain the fat ass.

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with Reality TV mega stars (although reports say their image might be tarnishing) or alliteration.

It has to do with kindergarten, more specifically, the Lady going to kindergarten in the fall.

Last night I had to attend a kindergarten meeting. Now this wasn't any ordinary kindergarten meeting, this was a meeting at a magnet school to fill out some paperwork that would put you in a lottery, with the hopes of getting one of 100 open spots available at this particular school.

Wait there is more. . .

Students are selected based upon their lottery number and group membership according to the following order:
  1. Students residing on streets assigned to the magnet school.
  2. Students with a sibling who will be attendance in the magnet school.
  3. Students residing on streets with preferred admission status to the magnet school.
  4. Students assigned to non magnet schools that may be targeted for admission to the magnet schools.
  5. All other students. 
We are "all other students," despite living less than a mile from the school and being surrounded on all sides by streets assigned to the magnet school.

Confused yet? Me too, and yes, this is a public school.

The parking lot was packed. I had to park illegally behind the school and walk through the playground wood chips in my high heel boots in order to even get into this meeting. Then you had to wait on line to pick up the paperwork, go into the auditorium for the intro lecture from the principal, before finally breaking up into small groups to take a tour of the school. Phew.

I will say that this school is beautiful. It is a new facility only a couple of years old, it is certified "green" and is part of the International Baccalaureate school program. Everything is shiny and new and the Lady can take one of three languages starting in kindergarten. In my heart of hearts I hope she would choose Mandarin because I am such a fan of Ni Hao Kai-Lan and Chinese fire drills.

But alas, I am getting ahead of myself. It was hard not to be impressed with this school because of all the bells and whistles, and I certainly don't want to be seduced by those things again (hardwood floors! granite counter tops! stainless steel appliances!) but it is hard not to picture the Lady in an environment where she wouldn't go wanting. I mean don't we all want the best for our kids?

I will say that I would have applied to this school even when it was in its old location, which was a mere two blocks behind our house because that just seems to make sense. What doesn't make sense is why we aren't districted for the school now, even though we were just a few short years ago when I could see the kids on the field playing and I could hear the bell ringing through open windows on sunny days. I mean the school only moved about a 1/2 mile up the hill.


The worst part about it is that I think that their program has a lot of techniques that would benefit the Lady. This is a girl who had a bit of an adjustment moving from the 3's into the 4's this year and who still talks about her old classroom. At this school they loop the classes so she will go to first grade with the same kids and the same teacher. Yes, I realize that if the teacher sucks or there are some disruptive kids that might not be such a great thing, but for the Lady to take that unknown aspect out of the equation will go a long way to making sure she is comfortable and less shy.

I know that if she doesn't get in it won't be the worst thing. The school we are districted for is a good one (although it is a 15 minute car ride across town, not sure how long that will translate on a bus) and I know that I will try to be as involved in her education as I can.

I also know enough family and friends who are teachers, and who work everywhere from the NYC Public schools to an all girls private school (that costs upwards of $35,000 a year for elementary school), to know that regardless of what the building looks like or the amenities inside (amazing computer room! a separate cafeteria, gym and auditorium!) that it is really the people inside those schools who make the difference, and who will make a difference in the Lady's life.

Still . . . the playground was krazy kool.

After the quick tour we were herded back into the auditorium, I listened to the principal answer some questions then got on another long line to finally get the application stamped and submitted.

That stamp struck the paper, like a judges gavel, leaving its red mark behind and I walked out into the cold, dark night, my heels clicking on the sidewalk before sinking slowly into the dirt beneath my feet as I made my way past the smart classrooms and beneath the shadows of the playground equipment looming above, hoping that maybe tonight, maybe this year, maybe. . . it will all work out all right.  

So here's to hoping this lottery doesn't turn out like Shirley Jackson's and that the Lady will love to learn wherever she goes.

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