Choices, decisions, deep contemplation

April 30, 2009 Uncategorized 15

Sure, you think these are all one thing, but they are instead a process. My husband and are in the midst of perhaps a major change for our son, Nick. His school.
Background:
We live in a relatively small city of @ 45,000 residents. We are in a fairly good size county, just along the Space Coast in Florida. My husband grew up here, a resident since @ 2 years of age. He has deep roots and traditions in both is faith and his education. He attended our Parish school and we too have chosen to send our children to this school. All three began in PreK and our girls completed 8th grade two years ago. Our school has a rich history of challenging curriculum and strong moral character. We made the sacrifice to send them here wanting the best for them. We felt they would be taught with a compassionate Christian heart and that our children would blossom and love learning and be given a fantastic base to go on to high school and college etc.
We truly believed this nearly 12 years ago when we first enrolled the girls. Over the years things change. We noticed the curriculum did not appear to be that much more rigorous than the public school. We found in a small school most of it is taught at the middle level, somewhat advanced, but leaving little room for students struggling or those soaring. We found that discipline and tolerance were very firm and rigid, too rigid at times. We found that parental input was not welcomed, it often felt like a “our way or the highway” mentality. We found that it appeared no fun was to be had, it was all work work work, but at minimum more work, very little creative learning or fun.
Let me say, no school is perfect, and I know that. I love many things that my kids have experienced in our Parish school, things that a public school can’t replicate. But I’ve also seen things that I shake my head and wonder why I’m paying tuition to feel this way.
This is not the first time we have questioned where Nick should be in school. Nick is a very bright boy, and he’s had opportunities at some accelerated learning and done very well.
I’ve had the most awful year coming to terms with my feelings about the school, I had all but disappeared from volunteering and being at optional school functions. The most recent bit of news is the results of the new principal search. Our current principal is stepping down this summer, and we were told an extensive search was being conducted by the diocese. We knew our current assistant P was in the running, but many people, us included communicated to the committee that we felt an outside candidate would be a better choice for the school, new ideas, new leadership etc. Naturally rumors are everywhere and I worried this would not go well.
Today it was announced and the current Assistant will be the new Principal. I do not respect this woman. I have seen her belittle kids and behavior that is not kind and caring. She also has been teaching middle school math and when she leaves that post it leaves a huge gape in our math department. Our school has not been known for hiring the best outside teachers. More often than not we shuffle teachers and this is also due to a declining enrollment.
So if I seem off……….I am. I’ve been praying about this for weeks, and now I’m praying for more guidance. I’m going to set up a meeting with the local public elementary school principle next week. I want to know more about the school, the teachers, the curriculum, the opportunities for Nick. We want to make a balanced judgment.
Nick, my sweet funny Nick, he will not know what he wants to do. His friends are at his current school, but he’s outgoing and he will make new friends. He knows a few from sports and our neighborhood.
Pray for me………….this is so hard.
I’m sorry this is such a sad negative post.
I am blessed in many ways, and I’m thankful for:

Tonight I do get to see Nick in a little skit for his schools’ Evening of the Arts.
I was informed yesterday at the high school that Caitie is going to be receiving another award in May for athletics and academics…..she doesn’t know it yet.
School is down to the last month……….can I get a hip hip hooray!
I had a pedicure today and my toes look cute.
I talked to my dad nearly every day this week, my mom on most days, and I love them and miss them……..but they are there for me.
Thanks to blogging friends who can give me support and a laugh when I need it.

15 Responses to “Choices, decisions, deep contemplation”

  1. Mnmom

    That’s not sad, it’s life. Life constantly changes and leaning on friends helps you survive those decisions.

    I always look at it this way: plenty of really great achieving adults came out of my small town of 8,000 where there was NO school choice. Most of his direction will come from you, not his school. I’d put him where he can enjoy learning.

    A good pedicure is a balm for the soul.

  2. Brittany

    That is tough stuff.

    I’ll be praying for you and you son.
    Keep following the will of God, and you will make the correct decision.

    Thank you for visiting my blog last week. Your thoughtful comments made my day! I hope to see you back soon. šŸ™‚

  3. LaRae

    My past experience has taught me that when I feel uneasy feelings, I am being told to make a change. Follow the route that brings you peace and it will all work out for the best!

  4. Denise K.

    I feel your pain Anita…we had to make this decision once before and it was very difficult! I went and observed at schools to make the best decision possible. Go into this as informed as possible..observe at several local schools and ask to observe in classrooms Nick may be in next year. Do you like their philosophy of education? The curriculum? How about the teachers and the feel of the school? Do the kids seem engaged,and on task? What is hanging on the walls? Take inventory of everything, and then when you have a choice narrowed down, take Nick for a few hours where he can shadow a student for a morning. This experience will be eye opening and then you will know first hand if what the alternatives are beat where he is attending currently. We ultimately made the decision to switch and I’ll be honest. There were bumps in the road, and it took awhile for our son to adjust to a new culture, and new kids, etc…but in the long run, the decision was wise and I didn’t regret it. Then we moved…but that is another story! Best of luck in this VERY big decision…I was consumed by it at the time and felt overwhelmed…but again, if you educate yourself wisely, the decision will become clear. I will be praying for you my friend!

  5. Terra

    Anita – I am going to email you tonight – I have a lot to say about this issue as we struggle with similar decisions for our girls.

    Terra

  6. My name is PJ.

    Anita, Your post wasn’t negative at all, rather justifiably contemplative. It is a lot to think about. I’ll put you on my prayer list. Keep us posted.

  7. Pam

    Oh Anita, this is so hard. I can tell you are so conflicted about this. Not sure if you want advice or not, but one thing I noticed as I read your post is that you had much more negative things to say about your current school, than positive. Something to think about. Good luck!

  8. Crazy Mom of Three

    Anita, you know our story well. But I totally do not regret our move to public school in any way. In fact, I am sort of kicking myself now for not sending my Nicholas two years sooner. I hope your decision-making process leads you to some pleasant surprises as well. (((Hugs!!!))

  9. Texas Mom

    Of course, this is coming from a public school teacher, but I have taught in a private school. Nick will be fine in public school. Just do your homework on finding the best public school in your area. Look them up on your state’s education agency website. Look at their annual report card.

    It sounds like your mom instinct is leaning this way also in reference to the current and future administration choices. I will say this….. I wish I was able to afford to put my children in private school for the first 2-3 grade levels to build a good foundation, but absolutely I would transition them over to public school after those 2-3 years. I have seen many students transfer in to me from previous well known private schools. It was the best thing the parents could have done and most of the students agreed.

    I pray for you to have peace in making this decision. The bottom line in a child’s education is parental involvement. Nick has great parents that will do what is best for him.

  10. Ali

    1–you can get a hip hip hooray that there’s one more month of school!

    2–you can also get a prayer and hug sent your way:) It’s a tough decision.

  11. linda

    Anita,
    This post was neither sad nor a downer…you’re just being a good parent. It’s very tramatic when making decisions that involve our children as we just want what’s best for them. It can become all-consuming but you truly are doing all the right things, especially praying about it. As hard as it is, try not to worry too much about all of it, God has it all worked out already anyway! He knows what’s best for Nick and loves him even more than you do (although that seems impossible to us as parents!)

  12. Kristen

    Anita, I’ll be praying for your decision to come with peace for you. It is a tough decision, and though you’ve been so dedicated to the school for so long, you have to make the decision that will be best for Nick.

  13. sheila

    Id say you are very wise to consider a change. Good for you! And better for your son! Good luck to you…I’m sure the right school will find you!

  14. Elizabeth

    It sounds like you’re going with the right instinct to look at other schools. If the principal they’re hiring is someone you don’t trust or like around children, you and more importantly, your son will be miserable staying there. Good luck finding a better school!

    I wanted to let you know that the public school system (at least here) is actually quite wonderful. Zack has extra needs and we haven’t had one problem with the public system yet. xoxo!

  15. Paige

    Oh, I feel your pain. We are going thru the same thing here and we thought we had a plan in place until Thur evening brought a phone call inviting us to attend a charter school. Well, we sort of had a plan in place. we had a plan for our youngest and we were making due with what was being offerered to our oldest and still hoping for one more school to come thru for our 6th grader. Well like I said a phone call came Thur and now that is our school of choice. The hard part here is I don’t know a lot about it, and that is odd, becasue I’ve done lots of research on schools here. Somehow I just sent in a form to be placed in the lottery last Aug, then I forgot about it, and what a reminder when the voice onthe other end of the phone offered us a place. We only had 24 hours to respond. I called back with a yes for our oldest but a plea to let my youngest come see the school on MOn, tomoorrow. My husband and I believe somethign higher than us made this all fall into place and we are putting our faith toward it. It is scary but exciting too. Good luck with your adventure too.

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