Open season has been declared for all five year old children within Anchorage School District boundaries. During next month or so Yukon and I must decide which Kindergarten our little smarty pants will attend. It's crazy, it's fun, but it's also another final step from my all-too-short tenure as a "stay at home mommy" towards the path of unknown accomplishments. What I will manage to do with my 6 hours per day is another blog post entirely...
Yukon and I hear gripes from other parents who are not satisfied with the quality of ASD schools, teachers, and administration. We are somewhat confused by this, even though our own experiences thus far have not exactly been overwhelmingly positive (although given the status of our oldest child, we cannot solely blame the school district). I attended public school only for K-2, after which I was enrolled in a private, Catholic school system where my brother and sister and I remained until after High School, so my public education experiences are rather limited.
When we lived our 18 months in South Carolina purgatory (sorry, my SC friends...) we had but one choice each for elementary, middle, and high school. One. No charters, no alternative programs except for the middle school of the arts that we would endorse save for their verbal lashing of Wolf every other day. Point is, there were few options for parents who wanted/needed options. I also must mention that South Carolina schools ranked near the bottom for educational quality and funding. My newspaper editor at the Summerville Journal Scene, a caustic sort of gal, used to say "We always thank God for Mississippi, because without them we'd be number 50 in everything...". And she was so right on.
Anchorage has at least five language immersion programs, numerous charter and alternative schools, and a plethora of homeschool options. It is dizzying to read through it all, and yet this is what we must do to determine where our child will attend Kindergarten (a year he doesn't even have to attend, btw). And, oh, yes, there's the neighborhood school.
Our neighborhood school is actually fine. Better than, fine, really. With a passing grade on its "Report Card", meaning it met the silly No Child Left Behind criteria, Scenic Park is close by, diverse, and quite active with respect to parent involvement. They also teach Chinese to all the students twice a week. Hmmm.
Yukon and I have narrowed down our choices to two: German Immersion program at Rilke Schule, a charter school we must lottery into and probably will succeed; or Scenic Park neighborhood school, where our Bear's friends will be neighborhood children and we would be active participants in making our 'hood a better place. We can also ride our bikes there Fall/Spring.
Oh, the choices.