Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gearing up for Kindergarten

Here’s the gear! 3 weeks from yesterday, the Tenster will head off to her first day of Kindergarten! I am actually very happy about this. While a part of me thinks “Kindergarten?? Are you kidding?? She’s only a baby!!” because I’m sure that this is what she looked like yesterday,

another part knows that she’s smart and social and ready for the next challenge. I have fond memories of the excitement that came with each new school year: the joy of picking out that years lunch box, folders, notebooks & pens (this might be where my obsession with office supplies began); wanting to meet my new teacher and see my friends; getting new clothes; and the all important selection of my desk… I hope Ten will come to feel that way about it too.
I’m also happy because 2+ years of personal angst is at an end. The “Where Will Tenley Go To School” question has been a big ulcer inducer for at least that long. See, Jeff & I both went to private school and had very superior educations when we compared with kids that were our age. So initially we planned that for Ten too. But only 1 private school in our town is secular (and we were not happy with the curriculum or the school’s policies), and all the religious ones held issues too: freaky cult-like Christian, conservative proselytizing Baptist, ruler wielding nuns at the Catholics, Episcopalian that only went to 4th grade, etc . etc. etc.

That left us with public school…and a problem. The area that we live in was a nice middle class area when my parents bought the house almost 30 years ago. Now it’s a lower (way lower) middle class area. Here are some of the stats on the school that we’re districted for:
124 in Kindergarten
1022 in the school total
70.65% Latino, 19.28% White, 5.48% African American, 1.96% Asian
75% Socioeconomically disadvantaged
48% English Learners
% of Students performing at “proficient” or “advanced” on the CA Standards Test: English 39%, Math 44%, Science 28%
Only 21.2% of students in grade 5 meet the Physical Fitness Standard for the state
The school has been in PI status (requiring state and federal intervention) for 6 years.
You can see why I was having apoplexy over sending my kid there. Moving was (sadly) out of the question, so that left us with the hope of securing an inter-district transfer. 2 years of research led me to this: anyone can apply, and if a school has fewer applicants than openings in a particular grade- then all of those applicants get in. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of openings, then it goes to a computer generated lottery. Here’s the kicker: you can only pick one school and one alternate. So on May 1st I trotted over to the District offices and applied for Tenley’s transfer. Then I twiddled my thumbs and prayed until June 24th when I got the letter that we had been approved for a transfer to our 1st choice school! I was so excited I almost cried, and did jump up and down while screaming like I’d won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. As a comparison, here are the stats of the school that Ten starts in 20 days:
86 in Kindergarten (which is full day K as opposed to ½ day!)
826 in the school total
50.48% White, 29.6% Latino, 8.6% African American, 8.5% Asian
17% Socioeconomically disadvantaged
7% English Learners
% of Students performing at “proficient” or “advanced” on the CA Standards Test: English 64%, Math 68%, Science 65%
31.1% of students in grade 5 meet the Physical Fitness Standard for the state
The school is not in PI. It is ranked 8th out of all schools (elementary, middle, high) in our district.
I have now breathed a sigh of relief. As a bonus, one of Ten’s friends at her pre-school also got a transfer to the same school- so now I’m praying that they’re in the same class, but we won’t find out until the 21st.
Let the learning begin!!


WA said...

My youngest son Jack starts kinder in two weeks, too. He's handling it better than me.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'll be over for that margarita on your back porch later.


Deborah said...

A friend of mine's grandaughter is from China. Miss Mia's mother use to have a blog and from there I began to follow other adoption blogs. Your daughter is so beautiful, I have never come across another child with similar facial features. I bet she is a pistol. Earlier today, I was reading another blog that I came across http://www.lilahgrace.blogspot.com/ and this child reminded me of yours. I could see some similar features. Who knows maybe they are cousins (smile). Good luck with kindergarten! God Bless - Deborah