How About Three?

When the Advanced Work season began in January, the Boston Public Schools decreed that parents needed to make their choices by late March, and that Court Street (BPS Central Office) would mail assignments to parents in late April. May is half gone and the Parent Imperfect and Liz have yet to receive formal notice of Connie’s assignment for next year.

The PI is not one of those parents who calls into the “system” very often, but he did just that in this case. This past Thursday, he called the Advanced Work office at BPS headquarters. His call went to the ever present voice mail of Ms. Judy Berkowitz. Then he called the number on the AWC brochure for “Testing and Assignments.” He got a message from a Ms. Viera there saying that there was, unfortunately, no voice mail at the number and that he would need to call back another time. At that point, he gave up on the AWC brochure numbers and called the West Zone Family Resource Center. To his surprise, a real person picked up the phone and said that she could look up Connie’s placement for him. He gave a bit of information and waited for a half minute before the answer came. “Your daughter is assigned to the Mary Curley School.”

Against what one would think were high odds, Connie had gotten her first choice. How could this happen? Current Curley students, siblings of Curley students and students living in the walk zone of the school (Jamaica Plain, basically) would all have preference over Connie in this lottery, but the child and her family seem to be charmed in these lotteries.

The PI really didn’t know how to react to the news. He was responsible for the family putting the Curley as a first choice, but he might have been secretly hoping that the “system” would make a decision that has been a very hard one for this family. No such luck. Now they very quickly need to decide what to do. If staying at the Hernández still exists as an option for them, that option will evaporate very quickly.

Ironically, tomorrow night’s meeting of the Parent Council at the Hernández will discuss the possibility of putting in place some sort of Advanced Work Class at the school. What the hell does that mean?  As we have seen, the RHS already says that its curriculum is advanced, even though they aren’t recognized as an AWC program. Two good friends contacted the PI today about the meeting and suggested that he come. This had to be designed by some higher power as a way to make this decision that much more complicated.

The PI and Liz simply think differently about this, but neither wants to feel as though they are forcing their choice on the family. Connie, herself, is truly torn. The school has been a better place for her, socially, over the past few months. She really likes what she saw in the fourth-grade classroom at the Curley, but has mixed feelings about leaving her friends for a place she doesn’t know. This afternoon, Liz pulled out the heavy artillery. “I was talking to M. today and said to her that twenty years ago this wouldn’t have even been an issue for the PI.”

Twenty years ago??? How about three?

Can you feel it? The PI’s resolve is weakening…


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