It came today. The folded white self-mailer from the Boston Public Schools with the news that Connie had been assigned to the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale for sixth grade. You’re probably laughing if you read the earlier post about me running around like crazy to change the school choice form so that we wouldn’t have the Irving as our first choice. Ha, ha!
It was really no big surprise. The other schools we chose each have their own fifth grade Advanced Work Class feeding the sixth grade, so getting into either of those was a very long shot. I’ll call tomorrow to try to find out where we are on the waiting list for those schools. I expect that the BPS phones will be well-used tomorrow.
We have heard a lot of good things about the Irving School. The principal who arrived about three years ago seems to have created an environment of positive changes at the school. The place has very quickly gone from a school that people didn’t even want their kids to walk past, to one that has been winning a variety of educational awards. We were actually looking forward to Connie going to school a little closer to home next year, UNTIL we heard about one of those awards. Last year, the school won a competition for grant money to extend the school day to NINE HOURS, from 7:30AM to 4:30PM. While I’m sure that is a great coup for the school, it is hard to imagine that sort of schedule working out with all of the other things C. likes to do. She was not at all happy when she heard the news.
And so now we get to spend a few more weeks chewing on another school-related decision. Decision? There aren’t a lot of options. We got ourselves into this by moving Connie out of the Hernández and into the Advanced Work stream after fourth grade. Going to the Hennigan for fifth grade meant that C would have to go to another new school for sixth. Truth be told, Connie would go back to the Hernández for sixth grade in a minute, but that would seem like the strangest of all decisions.
A reality check helps, too. Connie has an assignment in a school that is two blocks from our house and seems to be moving in the right direction. So what if she’ll be spending more time there than her Nurse Practitioner mom spends at work? At just the time we were opening up our assignment mailer, many families were getting the official word that there was no K-1 placement for their child. Too many others got the even worse news that there was no K-2 placement for their child in the zone (a geographic area in which they can choose from 16-18 schools) where they live. If their child is going to be in the BPS at all, s/he is going to have to travel a long way to kindergarten. By comparison, our assignment problems are pretty minor.
More and more people are blaming their school problems on the way the BPS assigns students to seats. Always aware of which way the wind is blowing, the Mayor has gotten into the act this year, saying very clearly that he wants to change the system so that more kids go to school close to their homes. In truth, the current assignment system has worked pretty well for us, but is it the measure of a system that it works for me?