Tuesday, August 30, 2011

new year, new school

School started nearly two weeks ago and I haven't posted anything about it sooner because I felt like I didn't have any good pictures to show here. I've even brought my camera to school on two or three other days, attempting to get photos of the girls in line for class or coming out of class or something, but what I took didn't turn out well and most opportunities were missed because as I stood waiting for the moment I wanted to capture someone always came up to me and started a conversation. Ah well.

The new school is in the neighborhood of our new house. It's about the same size as their old school and has a similar-ish academic reputation, generally, meaning both schools have "really good" test scores. Their old school tests higher, but then only two other schools in the state ever manage to test as high as their old school and there's more to life than that. This school has a great reputation also, academically and otherwise. But this school doesn't sevral things that the kids are used to: grade combo classes, classes grouped into villages, or team teaching. Kate and Allison are in totally separate classes and can see each other at recess and lunch, but that's about it.

The girls picked their first day of school outfits, but they didn't choose anything particularly special, or new to wear. Allison wasn't looking forward to this next adventure. Kate wasn't either, though it wasn't so outwardly apparent. Of all of them, I would have expected Erin to be the most upset because she is really getting gypped in this move. The 4/5 classes at the old school get all kinds of special privileges. They are in their own section of the school, they do more extensive, even overnight field trips, they visit Washington DC during spring break in 5th grade, they have various mentoring and leadership opportunities with the younger kids.
4/5 grade here doesn't stand out so much.

Unlike their last school, everyone lives nearby and biking or walking to school is common. Their old school didn't even have bike racks. They've asked repeatedly to be able to bike to school once we move. I think that's a great idea.

My observations are that the parents are VERY organized about...everything. And they are serious about fundraising for their school. And everyone knows everyone, as I discovered at the parent social after the kids were off to class that first day, which meant everyone knew right away that they didn't know me. Many of them set out to change that right away. This was all an entirely different experience for me.

I've met a lot of nice parents so far, and many of them are neighbors on our street or our cross-street or the next block or two over. They not only know the street where our house is, they know OUR house.
"Oh yes, the construction across from Jill, next to Marion."
Those families don't even have kids at the school, by the way, but they know them anyway.
"We live not even two minutes away, you'll have to have the girls come by to play when you move."
I don't know how many times I've heard that, again, totally different from the experience at our old school and our old neighborhood.

The lower grades get out a half hour earlier than the upper two grades, so I picked up K&A and we discussed their first day while we waited for Erin. They took a school tour and seemed to know their way around just fine already. They each liked their teacher, and I asked them, "You see, this will be a great school for you, won't it?"

"NO!!!" they answered in unison.

No comments: