Wednesday, February 1, 2012

second school: another kindergarten

          After the economy started getting bad, we lost our house.  We were forced to move to a much smaller house in a quite low income neighborhood. We spent the first night in our small house the last day in November. But I kept Jenna at her first school until after Christmas break.  Realistically it wasn’t a very practical commute.

If the economy hadn’t forced us to downsize – I don’t think I would have questioned Jenna’s opportunity for even just being considered for another school.  We were in the same district, but the boundaries were for another school.

          I had tried to transfer Jenna into the school nearest to our house – one we could actually walk to if we needed to.  But they were “filled up” and we lived “on the wrong side of the street”.  My main objective for wanting her over there was to keep her on year round.  There are four track systems for that particular school – and they were all full.  Or so I was told.

          I had made three attempts to get her in.  The faculty had always been unpleasant.  I had talked to three different people and each had responded as though she had used too much starch in her underwear and wasn’t allowed to smile. As I exited the building for the last time, I wondered why I would want to have my Jenna around all these uptight people anyway.

          So after four months of full day kindergarten and homework packets, Jenna started another kindergarten class going only half day and bringing home three assignments to be turned in at the end of the week.  We could seriously complete all three assignments in less than 10 minutes. 

          When the school called to let me know that a full day had opened, I jumped at the opportunity assuming the program would be the same as in her first school.  Not even close.  She was put in a class in which most of her classmates couldn't tell their elbows from their knees. Her homework dropped from three sheets a week to just one.  It was pathetic!

          Jenna no longer got up on her own.  She would ask if she could stay home.  Often she would fake illness.  I had lost my morning nightingale.  She had become a teenager shortly after our move in.  The saddest part was that she really did try to fit in, to be happy, and to present herself in a positive way.  It only backfired. 

          She had to be bused to the school that was part of the school boundaries where we currently live.  Same district.  But NOT a first rated school.  The faculty was really nice and friendly and welcoming.  But the academics were so far beneath us.

          I don’t mean to sound like a snob.  And I appreciate that there are schools that can cater to the educationally challenged – but Jenna is advanced.  She did circles around her classmates.  She had known things before preschool that her classmates still didn’t understand in kindergarten – such as rhymes, letters, shapes and so forth.

          If it wasn’t for the backpack program that her teacher had created for her more “gifted” students, her last four months of kindergarten would have been a total waste.  Roland and I were teaching her and creating homework sometimes on a first or second grade level.

Jenna would cry in the morning each time she boarded the bus, and I would cry as the bus drove away.  I just couldn’t have her continue at that school.  It wasn’t fair to mess up her education because our finances didn’t allow us to live near a more prestige upper class school.  But she just wasn’t learning anything.  And I didn’t foresee that education would become any better if she were to remain at that school.

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