Monday, January 26, 2009

1/26/09 Baby, I was born to run

Today was it. Kindergarten Registration Packet Pickup Day.

I tossed and turned all night, and then anxiously drove to school just after 7am. Would I find a mob? Would I find I'd squandered a lot of brown hair? The answer was something inbetween. This was the line at 7:15am.

(This is just to pick up a numbered registration packet, which establishes your priority for a spot at this school.)

By 8:30, the line had moved, and was much longer. This photo doesn't show it, but the line U's around behind the building. There were about 60 people by then.

More arrived by the time the office opened, for about 80 total. With at least 120 spots for kindergarten at the school, I probably could have arrived at 9am and still been assured a spot. Even if not, people move, so we still probably could have gotten in eventually. But while the risk was low, the consequence was drastic, so it was well worth the peace of mind to arrive early enough. Julian is #13.

I was especially surprised to see that the line was mostly Dads! They explained that this was easier than being at home taking care of the kids.

I chatted with six Dads at various times on the line, and all six planned to enter the lottery for the alternative school Faria, which heavily emphasizes academics. I assured them that first-graders here get plenty of homework, and offered my opinion that the difference between this school's test scores versus Faria's test scores made little difference in the child's ultimate outcome. The biggest factor in their success now is that the teacher has a high standard of pupils -- most come from highly educated, stable two-parent families, all have access to top health care, arrive at school well-fed and clothed, all were well-prepared in preschool, none have emotional or discipline issues (Gabriel notwithstanding). I was surprised that they all readily agreed. Not that that dissuaded them. Those test scores are some powerful Kool-Aid.

My Mom friends report that one other school had a major line-wait situation, two others had some lines; most had none at all.

Still, the district deserves at least a letter to complain about putting parents through this more than once. There is no priority for families with siblings enrolled at the "regular" schools, but clearly they get the concept since they do offer sibling priority for the alternative schools (including Faria). So I get to do this again in two years. Springsteen tickets, anyone?


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