Thursday, August 6, 2009
Avery's Big Day
Some of you know this but most of you probably don't. We have been interested in a charter school that is 5 minutes away from our house for the past 2 years. Jeff found out about this school while looking at schools on the internet before he was in CRNA school!! (to us that seems like an eternity ago if it's before he began school) It had these great ratings on the website he was looking at, but so did the neighborhood school that we are zoned for. Then wouldn't you know that a patient of mine had her children there and they loved it. They had previously had their girls in the private, catholic school system and enjoyed it but didn't enjoy the check they paid for it so much.
So, you are probably like Jeff and I were when we first started looking into this. What the heck is a charter school? I remembered Laura Bush bringing them about....at least that's who I think it was. Basically they are public, private schools. Meaning you don't have to pay for the education there and they get more freedom to choose their curriculum. In other words, they don't center their curriculum around the TAKS test!!! Our school is called Arlington Classics Academy. Their vision and mission statement is on their website.
Once you are interested in going to one of these you have to fill out an application. The way that they determine the students that get in is by a lottery. So they had over 200 applicants just for kindergarten alone. See, once you're in you are always in and siblings get in also. So out of the 80 possible seats for kindergarten only 21 of them were available after the siblings got counted in. Yeah, you can see that the odds were stacked against us. But I just kept saying, "Someone has to fill those seats. Why not Avery?" So they did the lottery back in April and we found out that we were #18 on the list. WOO HOO!!! I was ecstatic with that. It's amazing how many people change their minds about this too...not that I'm complaining about it or anything. ;) But they do testing before the child starts to give the parents a good idea what the child is struggling with before they start. They are only on kindergarten-level material for the first 6 weeks and then move onto first grade for the rest of the year. So, you can see that it isn't for everybody. They don't fail the test, like at magnet schools where you take a test and have to make a certain grade to get into the school. They do the testing during the summer so I decided to call and check in every now and then to see if we had moved up the list. In the beginning of July I called and found out that we had moved to 11. They were beginning to test later that week so she told me to call back at the end of the month to see if we moved up more. So last week I called on Thursday and found out that we were #5! Yes, I was jumping up and down and screamed in the lady's ear. Then on Monday I found out we were #2. When I called yesterday morning I found out we moved to #1 and then an hour later they were calling me to let me know that we were in!!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!! The next thing we had to do is get her tested. We asked for anytime yesterday since we were both at home.
Let me preface this with ~ Avery has been so excited to start kindergarten. She has been counting the months down since May. She's been telling everybody how long she has. It's been so great to watch her fervor. So I'm quite elated when I tell her that she has to go to her new school to meet a teacher and have a test. She begins laughing with excitement and then I see her eyes start to change then her demeanor. I physically saw her get overwhelmed and feel anxiety. She started bawling in less than 2 minutes. She was saying that she was shy and scared to meet the teacher, she didn't want us to drop her off and leave her there. Jeff and I were picking our jaws up off the floor. Is this the same child that I was just describing to you?? Again, God is good. Praise the Lord that we got in just in the nick of time so we could do the testing. Otherwise, I think we would have dealt with this and had more trauma the first day of school. So of course we resorted to bribery...a sucker to start off with and frozen yogurt from Pure Bliss at the end if she got it together. Guys, that didn't even stop her crying ~ which is shocking since that is a HUGE treat for us since we rarely eat that. My poor baby.
We asked the teacher if we could just walk back with her. We got a first grade teacher since none of the K teachers were there that day. She showed Avery a K room then her room and was just wonderful. Avery finally settled down and went in the room with the teacher by herself. Jeff and I entertained Kendall who kept going down the hall asking, "This my room?" She has never gone to a different "school" than Avery. After they were done, she asked us to leave the girls in the office while she went over the results with us. Apparently the principal usually does this, but he had a meeting. She said that Avery did great and had no problems. They did numbers, shapes, reading sight words, reading comprehension, letters, counting and a few things more. There wasn't a single concept that didn't have a check beside it to show that she got it. We were so excited with that news...and a little proud too. As we were leaving she told us that she didn't want to go and wanted to start kindergarten then. WOO HOO. We had our daughter back.
So now we're on to buying the uniforms. We start school on the 19th. So it's going to be here quicker than I'm ready for. I know the first day is going to be bad when I started crying in the parking lot of Target as we left from buying her school supplies! Yes, I did. That morning of the first day they have a Boo Hoo/Woo Hoo breakfast for all the new parents at the school where they provide the food ~ and Kleenex for those who need it.