Changing Schools? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 12-29-2007, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Fairly long background story:

We live in a city with a pretty open public school system. The parents essentially get to choose which school they want their kids to go to and there are TONS of specialized programs which are part of the public system.

Last year, when we were deciding about kindergarten for DD1, we applied for the school of visual and performing arts, as she is THE most dramatic child I've ever known in my entire life. She was accepted and we were all set for her. The only downside was that the school was about an hour busride from my house, but even that, DD1 would've considered an opportunity to be social with friends for an hour!

Well, at the last possible minute, the school called and said they wouldn't offer noon-hour bussing for DD1 (we live 3 blocks outside their boundry). I had to scramble to find a different school, because driving to the school, 30+ minutes each way, every day was unaffordable, unwise in the long winter, and just downright cruel to her brother and sister stuck along for the ride.

She's been going to a fantastic public school about a 10 minute drive from home. Our neighborhood school isn't an option for us, as the focus programs aren't suitable for her style of learning (Cogito) or needs (Punjabi immersion).

Well, now we're nearing decision time for next year. This year, we dealt with the issue by enrolling her in an acting class since the other school wasn't an option. She has declared that her acting class is her favorite activity. For 1st grade, they would be willing to bus her both ways. I have hopes that by the time DS would be ready for kindergarten, they will extend the bussing boundry by the 3 blocks, but if not, he could always go local for K, IF an arts school would even be in his best interest.

I don't feel that leaving the decision entirely up to her is really a good idea. She's quite shortsighted (as I think all 5 year olds are!) and if I explain that she'd leave behind the new friends she's made, that alone would decide it for her. Yet, she makes friends very, very easily. I'm positive that she'd love the idea of going to a school with more of an emphasis on arts. I mean, the school she's in is great, and their kindergarten is really a learning through play focus, but it goes to desks in rows in 1st grade. OTOH, the current school has some of the best academic performance in the city. The arts school is quite good, but not the same.

Are there other factors you'd consider that I'm completely forgetting? Home schooling isn't a viable option for the next 3 years. I like the idea of enrichment activities if she stays in the closer school, but those add up in expense and time, which will be less once she's in full-day school.

Busy, hectic, HAPPY single mom to 3 awesome kiddos jumpers.gif DD1 (10) DS (8) DD2 (6)

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#2 of 5 Old 12-29-2007, 06:11 PM
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This is purely your decision as a parent. No 5 year old is fit to make schooling decisions for him or her self... they have tendencies that lead us certainly, and present their needs, but the parent makes the choice and you must feel confident about it. Keep in mind that your child's interests in kindergarten may change as he or she grows. They are developing people, it is not all determined now. Give him the space and opportunity to try different things for the next several years.

That said, I have a friend with a son who thrives in theater. It greatly relieves his stress and gives him that stage to air his personality and use it to his best potential, he loves it. As an old lady parent of 3 (high school, middle school, and elementary, I have 'em all) I would choose the closer school that is stronger academically rather than a specialized arts school. Enrichment is part of life with kids, we all find a way to do it and it is not so hard (friends, carpools, etc).
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#3 of 5 Old 12-30-2007, 02:01 AM
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Agreed with Hippiemom.
My daughter is very active in sports (soccer, softball, track) and the school district had open enrollment; we leaned towards schools with high athletic prestige. Her school would have been far (2 miles) but the athletic program was tops in the county. After looking into the school, we realized that their academic programs were basic and not really challenging to students.
We opted to a closer school with better academic standards and enroll her in seasonal sports through local associations. This shows her that her academics is #1, not athletics. At a young age it is an important issue that she will realize some day.
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#4 of 5 Old 12-30-2007, 05:37 AM
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We live in a school choice district and none of my kids ent to the neighborhood school for elementary. I chose a school I really like and i worked well for numbers 1 & 2. Number 3 came along and it was horrible so we applied to another school and he got in - he changed schools in 3rd grade. Very few issues with the change.
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#5 of 5 Old 12-30-2007, 10:48 PM
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Do you think her current school will be a place she'll thrive in first grade? It sounds like, if she's intensely social and the first grade is a desks in rows kinda place, that while she might do okay, it wouldn't be a place where she would thrive. So I would probably send her to the arts focus school, assuming the academics are good, even if they are not as highly ranked as the current school. I'd go with which school you think is best for her.
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