Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14 of gratitude

I am so incredibly grateful for the great school Kaitlyn attends.  In a perfect world, she would go to a private school, but there isn't one all that close to us.  And it seems silly to drive 20+ minutes each way, twice a day to take her to school when there is a good public school near us.

Finding Kaitlyn's school was not easy.  Before she started school, I really wanted her to have what I had.  I went to the same elementary school, then the same middle school and the same high school.  The only time I switched schools was to graduate to the next level.  I really didn't want her hopping from school to school.

We loved her kindergarten school.  Her teacher was great, I loved how close it was, her principal was amazing and the school size was fantastic.  It was just really perfect.  Then, the school lost a lot of funding and was one of the schools in our district closed. 

We debated a lot about what school to send her to.  I was tempted to send her to school "O", but I had to get permission from the school she was assigned to, "DC."  After talking to the principal to get permission, he convinced us that the small school size and teaching abilities would be a good fit for us.  Her first grade teacher was awesome.  Dusty said she reminded him of an aunt that had previously passed away.  Kaitlyn loved her and she learned SOO much.  First grade was great.

But, we had some issues with the school.  Little things that I didn't like.  The support staff was not very supportive of the families, school communication to parents was really poor and there was a lot of disorganization.  We talked a lot to the principal about all of our concerns.  We assumed that a lot of our concerns were "growing" pains from staff and students being mixed together from the closed schools and the already established school. 

Second grade started and I was so disappointed.  Kaitlyn finished her work quickly and spent a lot of time with her head on the desk, the teacher's solution for bored kids.  By back to school night, about three weeks in, their spelling words included the words "I" and "and."  Kaitlyn was bored out of her mind.  I was frustrated like crazy and I approached the teacher about it.  She had no idea when the class would be finished with "review" words and moving on to second grade material.  She said she wanted to keep the year as easy as possible for the kids because third grade is so hard.  I argued that it may be a better idea to make a priority of the year to properly prepare the kids...

Needless to say, we started looking a lot at other schools.  I didn't want to waste another week there.  All of the schools were full.  None had room for a second grader, so I began researching home school options.  I knew I could do a better job with her education than what was happening with the school.  I mean, if all she was going to do was review two letter words and have her head on the desk in between 1+1 type math problems, I could so do that.  In less time.  And not have to drive her all the way over there and battle the parking situation.

Luckily, the last school I talked to had an amazing secretary.  I told her I was so close to home schooling, we could not handle the school anymore and it made me so sad to see how bored she was going to school.  She made room for Kaitlyn at their school.  With a teacher that was amazing.  Kaitlyn still goes and talks to her at recess.  She said she was a lot like Kaitlyn in school.  She wanted to help, but she also wanted time by herself to read when she was done with her work.  She helped the other students, she helped younger kids and she absolutely excelled.  She earned two medals this year because of her work last year.  And she loved every second of it. 

This year, she is thriving again.  Her second grade teacher made sure that she had the kids she worked the best with in her class and put her in a class where the teacher is really good at helping kids work at their level.  So, Kaitlyn gets enough free time when she's done with her work to work on higher level learning.

She goes to one of the best schools in the area.  Out of 5500 elementary schools, hers is 2000, moving up 500 spaces since last year, and I have no doubt that it will continue to move up. 

I am incredibly thankful that she is able to get such a great education so close.

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