Thursday, August 9, 2012

School Days

My kids have been attending our local public schools and doing quite well.  We live in the 5th largest school district in the country.  I have loved our school which is literally around the corner from us.  The huge majority of our teachers are amazing and doing their very best to educate and love the children they have been entrusted with.   We have been so fortunate and feel so blessed to have had the interaction with the teachers we have over the years.  Please know my frustrations with our educational system have very little to do with teachers.  I think teachers are amazing and do so much for our kids with all the restrictions put on them.

However, the majority of the policies and procedures that our humongous district has put in place I do not agree with.  We now have bureaucrats and politicians making decisions for my children instead of educators.  Most of the fine arts are being cut in middle schools.  My son has participated in drama the past 2 years of middle school and has loved it, but it is gone this year.  My older children have lived with ONE 10-15 minute lunch recess for most of their elementary school careers.  The teachers are being forced to teach to the test which seriously limits their ability to teach in an  interactive and hands on way.

 It eats me up and I have felt like I have absolutely no voice to make any changes.  Last year I had an experience (rememberthis?) with our administrator that left a bad taste in my mouth and I knew  when that happened we would be looking into other educational options for my children after that.  When you limit the decisions a parent can make for their child when they know best because of policies and it making your numbers look bad there is something wrong.

So after much thought we applied to go to a local charter school which I have heard nothing but great things about.  Unfortunately we didn’t get into the one which is around the corner, but we did get into a school that is in the same charter system, but we will be driving 25 minutes (one way).  It is worth it to me.  I have been to a couple of parent meetings and it is amazing to really have a voice and feel like what I say makes a difference.  There are only 350 students going to this school.  Our principal is phenomenal and is willing to take input and suggestions from the parents.  She is the authority, she doesn’t have to go to the district for permission to implement a policy. 

She was going to implement the one recess rule as well until a few parents spoke up.  Maybe I spoke up too much because she put me in charge of a committee to come up with a solution for it.  But honestly I am so excited because the lack of recess has been a thorn in my side for almost 10 years. I feel quite passionately about it, which is due to my early childhood ed. Background, but also I have a boy who will not do well in school with only 10 minutes of down time.  I have written letters to legislators, school board members etc, but yet I knew nothing I said made a difference. 

But guess what??  I can make a difference here because the principal is listening and not constrained by the district, she said she is willing to look into another 15 minute recess if we can figure out a way to do so with the limited time and space we have. 

We will meet with her next week and talk about it.  In the meantime I am researching about the benefits of recess and plan to share my research in the meeting.  I will keep you all (all 5 of you) posted!

What's your opinion about recess, school policies etc??


Ber said...

When I was growing up here, I remember having 3 recesses. A morning, lunch and afternoon recess. So much has changed in this school district and it really needs to get back to a good place. I'm happy you got into the school you wanted, and am excited for the work you are already doing there! You rock Cheryl!

Christensen's said...

We are in our third year at a charter. Night and day differemnce. Best decision for my kids' education. The student is the priority PERIOD. My daughters teacher last year was so negative, often critical and ornery, I let my voice be heard (and apparently so did many others) and she didn't have a job there this year. She wouldve taught through retirement in our public school district. It's so nice knowing politics don't apply and your voice for your child means something.

Heather and Billy said...

Maybe someday we'll get in.....
You already know my opinion on this one. :)

Cheryl said...

with the northwest campus opening next year there will be more openings Heather, I hope you get in! Lots of prayers got us in I am sure of it :)

Sarah said...

Good for you for speaking up! One of my favorite things about Somerset is the multiple recesses. I have heard really great things about your principal. I hope you all have a great year.

Rebecca said...

Way to fight for what is best for your kids! I wish you didn't have to drive so far to get there, but it sounds like you've found a good solution.

Rachael said...

Why does our campus have so many recesses and Oakey can't figure out how to make it work at theirs? I don't get it...why not make it the same or extend the school hours by 15 minutes?
Good job stepping in to make a difference!!!!