Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Which the Cloud Household Catches a Lucky Break

I was planning to write up my trip story post about San Antonio tonight, but we've got some news that I just have to share.

Pumpkin will be starting kindergarten in the fall. You may or may not remember, but back in January and February, I wrote a couple of posts about our choices for Pumpkin's school. We really want her to get the chance to learn a language in her early years, so after visiting several local public schools, we decided to try to get her into the Spanish language immersion magnet school- which happens to be two blocks from our house. Of course, that actually worked against us in terms of getting into this school, since our neighborhood is in the zone that gets the fewest kids into the school. (For the record, I have absolutely no problem with that: the priority goes to kids in zones where most people have less money and therefore less opportunity to buy their way to a good eduction. I think it is right and good that priority for programs like this go to those kids.)

Anyway, we filled out our form back in February, and then we waited. We'd been told that the decision would be made in April, so as May ticked by, I began to resign myself to our plan C, which was to go to our (really quite good) neighborhood school and arrange some sort of after school Spanish program. I didn't mind the extra expense this would entail. After all, when we looked at private schools that include language instruction, the cheapest was about $11,000 per year. That would buy a lot of after school enrichment! But setting up a new after school program would be a hassle, to put it mildly. I was going to have to research and choose a program, work with the school to set up, and then figure out how in the world to handle the money- we were planning to put up whatever was required to guarantee the program would happen, but would then want other parents to pay for the class, too, if they could afford it. To be honest, I have no idea how we were going to arrange that. Still, we figured we couldn't complain, since other than the lack of foreign language instruction, our local school is pretty good.

But tonight, we caught a break. The magnet officer from the Spanish immersion program called, and we have a spot! We weren't on the first list of people from our zone, but enough of those people decided to go elsewhere to open up a spot for us. We're in! No more worrying about setting up an afterschool program. The location could hardly be more convenient. Their start time is even good (one of the other schools on our list had a scarily early start time). I feel a bit like we've won the lottery. And that would be because we have. Spots are assigned by random drawing.

And yes, we do plan to give some of the money we're saving by not going to private school or paying for an after school Spanish program to our new school. As a Title 1 school, it won't have the rich PTA that our neighborhood school has. We may also find a way to donate more generally to local schools without rich PTAs. That is a much easier problem to solve, I think, than the Spanish class funding problem. I suspect I just need to call the school district and ask to whom I should write the check.

19 comments:

  1. How great to learn Spanish! 100% of the jobs I've had I got because I could speak Spanish. It's a great skill.

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  2. mom2boy3:15 AM

    Yay for Pumpkin!! I hope she loves her new school!

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  3. FABULOUS how exciting for you. Does Petunia get priority now when it is her turn at that school?

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    1. Yes, this essentially guarantees Petunia a spot in the program if we want it (and I'm pretty sure we will).

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  4. Congratulations! And it's nice to know before the summer is up too!

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  5. paola4:40 AM

    Congratulaciones!

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  6. great news! always nice when "Plan A" works out

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  7. YAY! I hope she loves it!

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  8. Congrats! Knowing a bit of what the future holds (even if it's just school placement) can make life so much less stressful.

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  9. Congratulations! It is so sad to me to see the kind of inequities that exist in the public schools.

    My public school story: When I lived in LA, I went so far as to move out of a house that I OWNED in order to live in a school district that my ex-husband would deem "acceptable." (Basically, there was too much melanin in my neighborhood for his tastes, and he was threatening to sue to get his way.) But when I went to the pre-K open house, the parent association was so incredibly snotty (threatening people with "bed checks" by the school district to make sure we "really" lived where we said we did) and demanding (they basically tried to make us feel like each parent had to give a four-figure yearly donation) that I ended up saying screw it, moving back to Hollywood, and just paying for a damned private school.

    Now we're in a rural area (in another country) where every kid in town goes to the same school, and it is such a relief to be off the school-choice merry-go-round.

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    1. Yikes! I don't think things are that bad in San Diego... but then, I'm not trying to send my kid to one of the schools in La Jolla or Del Mar. So I might just be clueless to the shenanigans that go on here.

      I did notice, though, that the school decision brought out a lot of code words for race. We have been repeatedly warned that the school we're choosing is "rough." From our look at the available statistics, it is no more "rough" than any of the other schools, but it does have more minority kids.

      My husband and I both thought that the diversity we saw in the magnet schools we looked at was a plus. We both went to schools that were more diverse than the neighborhood we live in now, and thought that was a good thing about our upbringing.

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  10. Lisa F.8:52 AM

    Nice! Glad it worked out & hope the kindergarten transition goes smoothly for you all. And now you can enjoy the summer!

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  11. I was thinking about you guys over weekend, wondering when you'd get your news. This is so awesome! Hooray!!! How exciting!

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  12. YAY! I want to go to Spanish immersion school myself :)

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    1. My sister did an immersion class down in Oaxaca at one point. She said that it didn't stick, because she didn't keep studying when she got bad. But it was good at the time!

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    2. That sounds awesome. A doctor friend of mine did one in Guatemala to help with her patient care stuff and she really liked it. But she actually gets to use it for work which probably helps.

      The Spanish immersion program near us is actually not in our school district, and I'm very sad about that :( We do have Mandarin immersion, though.

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  13. I'm excited for you. You may have to do more than just write a check to get your way. Schools are pretty shorthanded and they rely on parents for a whole number of things these days...especially the above and beyond stuff.

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    1. Oh, no- the money's not to get my way. At least not yet. We're just planning to donate to our school, and because I feel bad about the fact that a lot of schools in our district don't have rich parents to donate to the PTA, we'll do something to alleviate that. I'm not sure what yet. Possibly just pick a school without rich parents and give them some money.

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  14. the milliner7:24 PM

    Yay!! Great news Cloud!

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