Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Ups and Downs of Getting INVOLVED

You'll have to excuse my lack of fun and exciting stuff here. And, I warn you, it might be this way for a few days.

I blame it all on the School Board. A big issue has suddenly arisen regarding our district's elementary schools: whether our two schools should each be Kindergarten through 5th grade, or whether we should have one Kinder through 2nd grade school and another third through 5th grade school. The decision impacts virtually every elementary school kid in the district and their families, not to mention the city over all has it has implications for traffic issues and real estate values and such.

I've been hovering on the edge of the issue, trying to avoid jumping into it. But it's hard to resist. It's an important issue. And partly it's out of frustration with the Board, because the district actually had a huge review process and vote on this VERY SAME ISSUE just 18 months ago. So it's dismaying and confusing to have it all brought up again...and for no clear reason.

So, I finally decided that I need to get more information and find out what is REALLY driving this. Is it money? Is it some view of educational benefit that I'm missing? Is it just the personal preference of the board members who voted the other way on the issue last time, and don't want to let it rest?

Well, suffice it to say that I'm going to be having a lot of meetings in the coming week. I've already gotten my dander up, when I asked a secretary if I could have a copy of a particular report (which a school board member had referred to in a conversation) and the secretary replied, suspiciously, "How did YOU find out about that report?" Like it's a state secret, and not a public record. Sheesh.

You can bet I'm gonna get that report come hell or high water, now.

Anyway. That's what I'm doing right now. So if you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know why.

And by the way, if any of you reading this have experience with either elementary school configuration (K-5 or K-6, or the "grade span" thing where your child changes school every few years), I'd love to hear from you about your experiences.

I guess I can't sit back and do nothing, as much as I'd rather, some times.


  1. Mia is enrolled in a school that goes through 8th grade and I think it is good because she won't have to change so often. Of course, where I grew up we went to the same school for K - 12 and they still do!!

  2. I don't have much experience, but Claire goes to a K-5 school and I like the idea of her going to one place for several years. (If we weren't moving, of course.) I think it develops a great deal of identity and pride in the school. Plus, I like the opportunity to mix with other grades. The fifth graders can act as bus monitors. The third graders can be "reading buddies" with the first graders. I also think that having the kids all in one place bodes well for building community within neighborhoods. If all the kids are spread out all over the district, you don't have a neighborhood feeling. Good for you for getting involved. I'll be eager to hear what the real issues are.

  3. Growing up I went to a different school every year until 7th and 8th grades. It was awful starting a new school each year and not knowing my way around, who the teachers were, the school rules, etc. I think K-5 is great (although I'm in favor of the kindergarteners being somewhat segregated from the older kids). Just my opinion.

  4. My kids went to k-6,7-9 junior high school, and 10-12 high school. Why are they making it so complicated? They all walked to school and the only ones bused were too far to walk to either of the jr. highs or h.s.
    Everybody went to a neighborhood elementary school. Dark ages,I suppose.

  5. In our town - all the kindergartners go to one school - just kindergarten. All 425 in one school! Then they go to neighborhood grade schools for 1st through fifth. Then everyone comes back together for middle school, junior high, and high school. The way our town is growing I have a feeling they are going to have to add more schools for the upper grades.

  6. Go Diane! This is what school's and school boards need to keep them on track. Parents to be involved and ask those questions, to seek information, etc. It makes a difference. And you're certainly asking the right questions. Can you tell I'm one of those parents! :>)

  7. In D.C., elementary school is Pre-K-6, jr. high is 6-9, and high school is 9-12, with you having the option to finish jr high or go on to high in the 9th. With more charter schools beign established, this is becoming more fluid. My godddaughter did Pre-K and K in one school and started 1st grade at another elementary school.

  8. Oops! Jr. High is grades 7-9!

  9. Anonymous2:22 PM

    My children go to school in a community where there are four different campuses, K-3, 4,5&6, 7&8, 9-12. I'm glad they did it that way rather than have two seperate elementary schools and two seperate jr highs. That way they go through school knowing or at least being exposed to all the children in their grade rather than ending up in high school not knowing half the children they are in class with. We live in a small community (pop.3K-4K) and my children are in Kindergarten, 8th and 9th grade.
    I know when I was in school it was harder on me going into Jr.High not knowing very many people since there were 10 different elementary school going into 7th grade.