Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It begins...

Have you ever heard about the rat race that is education for your child in Manhattan? I hear stories and rumors about children being put on waiting lists for elite schools while they are still in utero. Public Schools are shunned, private schools lauded.

Since I live in Queens, I have ignored this situation. I know there has GOT to be a way to get your child educated without doing backflips, and spending a large fortune. So far, I have decided to go the private route. Reasons include: location of the school (7 minutes walking distance from my house), the tuition is the same as what I was paying for 2 days of daycare for my child, so no change to my budget, and the public schools do not guarentee spots for pre-K students. The last reason is the main reason that I signed up...I wanted to be sure she had a place to go this past fall.

I really like the school she attends. She always leaves in the morning with enthusiasm, and she is energized after school. She likes her classmates, and she loves learning. Starting with kindergarten, however, I am not interested in continuing with private education. I want to support the public schools.

However, not all public schools are created equal, so there is some manipulation that must occur in order to get my daughter in a school that is just right for her. My first plan of action started today. I found out about this really cool public school that has music lessons within the curriculum. They "audition" kids in the fall by having them attend a music class with 8 other kids, and then having a 10 minute individual assesment. The school advised the parents to tell their child they are attending a music class.

I told her about the class just a few days before it occurred, and she had little reaction to this news. This morning I was nervous...mostly because I wanted to be on time. I was 20 minutes early (they told us to be 15 minutes early). I signed in and asked: 2nd floor right? The front desk said yes.

I wondered why the other mom and child in the elevator did not get off on the same floor as us, but noticed there was a lot going on in the school, so they were probably on their way to something different. After sitting on a pretty abandoned floor for about 15 minutes, I made the phone call and found I was on the wrong floor. I raced up two flights of stairs (the elevator was slow), and walked into what was OBVIOUSLY the assesment registration. I explained I had been waiting on the wrong floor and they were really nice and just switched around a few kids, and got her into the NEXT class.

Since I wasn't the one auditioning today, I realized that when I am nervous/anxious/etc.... that I talk. I struck up a conversation with another mom, and learned a lot about her son in college, her job etc. It helped me to expell my nervous energy, and made the time pass quickly. After their 25 minute class we went downstairs to wait for the individual assesment. This time, I read books outloud for a few kids to help pass the time.

When it was all over I had to jet to New Jersey for a quick wrangling job, so it wasn't until tonight that I got to talk to my daughter. It took some nudging, but finally she told us in detail much of what happened in both the class and the individual assesment.

Based on what she reported, and what I experienced, I know she did her best. That is all I wanted. She was well-rested, healthy and courageous, and I am proud of her, no matter the result. Tonight was an open house to learn all about the school, but since we will know in 2 weeks whether or not she is progressing, I decided I will go to the NEXT open house, so that if she doesn't continue, I won't dwell on what I am missing...

I don't know how my mom handled the many auditions that I attended over the span of my life....I am certainly feeling crazy right now, wondering what the letter will say............

4 comments:

Kage's Mom said...

How did I handle it? It was completely NERVEWRACKING!!!!

trimama said...

There is a great website-www.greatschools.net that gives test scores and reviews about the schools in your area. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

There was a big article on NPR yesterday about education in NYC. Way to be proactive - your daughter can only benefit.

Natasha said...

i know that D did her best! She is an amazing kid and you should be a very proud mama!