Acting Out

The Parent Imperfect was doing his best drowned rat imitation when he came in out of the latest spring monsoon yesterday afternoon. The blinking red light on the phone indicated new messages, and he dropped everything to listen before Connie or Vincent beat him to it and the message was gone forever. The familiar voice of the Parent Coordinator from the Hernández was reminding the parents of the house to get their school assignment form in by Thursday. Since today is now Wednesday, this means that the parents must make a decision on Connie’s invitation to attend an Advanced Work Class….TONIGHT! The temporary reprieve offered by the system’s endless administrative problems comes to an end.

Liz and the PI have long been so perfectly “in sync” that they agree on most things without discussion 😉 . This one, however, is a little different. They have now discussed it several times and they are probably further apart than when they began.

Why not look at the fifth and final “reason to stay” offered by the principal in her January 24 letter to parents?

We do not teach to the “test’ but to the whole child. In the long run this approach to learning is more conducive to developing a student who is well rounded in many disciplines and will adapt to academic challenges in the years ahead.

This is interesting point to consider during the MCAS “season.” Vince spent all day yesterday taking the standardized  test at the nation’s oldest public school, and Ms. Connie will have three days of testing next week. She wanted to visit one more of the AWC schools this week, but that was impossible because they are in complete lockdown as they take the MCAS. The philosophy stated above makes all the sense in the world, but the curriculum at every school in the BPS system is now fully slanted toward MCAS preparation. Last night, a big part of Connie’s homework involved doing an MCAS reading comprehension preparation test. It was the second time she had brought home the exact same assignment, so someone must think that this one will really help them with the test.

The Hernández has certainly adjusted its approach to prepare children better for the MCAS. In weaker moments, the teachers freely acknowledge this evident fact. But the AWC schools certainly do the same thing, so this is not a factor differentiating the two.

And so Liz and the PI face yet one more issue in parenting for which there is no clear cut answer. Tonight they will come together, acknowledge as much, and then stumble forward to some sort of decision. Connie, herself, is as mixed about the whole thing as her parents are.

Connie is not, however, mixed about the Wheelock Family Theater’s rendition of, The Little Mermaid. Her father left the house in plenty of time to get to the first rehersal last night, but then spent 35 minutes trying to find a place to park near the theater. Imagine what it will be when they start playing baseball around there in a couple of weeks! After finding a meter on his third pass along Brookline Ave., he bustled into a theater pulsating with excitement. The Queen Bee (QB) brought the room to order. At least 150 cast members and parents were anxious for any news.

To the PI’s surprise, he learned that people come from all over the Boston area to be in these productions. The Sea King is from Ayer, MA and one of Connie’s fellow Crabs comes all the way from Pelham, NH. How do people do this? The PI and Liz will struggle mightily to get C. from one end of the Jamaicaway to the other.

The high octane young people in the room make the Boston AWC crew seem pretty low key. One little girl already found time to tell Connie that there are two swimming pools at her school. Another not yet 10, by all appearances, stood confidently when the QB asked if there were any questions, and said, “Can you please tell me what the Water Puppeteers are going to do in this play?” The Director dutifully responded.

While all of C’s fellow Crabs are youngsters that seem to be as new to the stage as she is, the cast also includes several accomplished adult actors. With spring coming, the PI’s secret desires for time on the field pop out like crocuses, but a Crab is clearly what this girl wants to be…for at least the next few weeks.

Tickets…need tickets…who’s selling?

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