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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

Last night was meet your teacher night. And, once again, I fell in love with my son's school. Hard to believe that this is our last year there as next year, he heads to middle school. This is a crazy busy time for us. For the first time since kindergarten, Young One is thrilled to get back to school. He's ready to see his gang of friends every day again. Not that he hasn't this summer, he's been with friends almost every day, but he's ready for more time with the whole gang.

Somehow, in the silliness of being young boys of this particular age, they all have adapted meat nicknames. But, all are spelled uniquely, like Turky, Hamm, Bbeeff, Bakon, etc. Many parents only know Young One as Hamm. It's pretty funny. This young gang of overachieving, really smart, nice kids in a gang of carnivores. It's been a really fun chuckle to see what new friends will be added to the gang, although it already makes up most of the meat department of the market. I've suggested they branch out into poultry products.

This year already feels like a success. Young One hit the lottery with his teacher. She's actually a high school classmate of my husband and she's amazing. She's the teacher who stays late and is always trying new things. This year, she's one of a few teachers in the state with a Smart Board, which is basically an electronic chalkboard. It's so cool. Touch the screen and you can move text and pictures around, it links to her laptop, so she can add and control from her desk, you can write on it with electronic "markers"--it's like a Jetson's classroom. She's also the pioneer of having kids sit on Exerballs and has been doing that for years--was featured in national press for doing so. It helps them stay focused and gets the wiggles out (plus, I can imagine they're all going to have six packs by the end of their time in the district!). The Exerballs have spread through the school, so it's not Young One's first year with them, but nice to be with the teacher who's a trend setter, not just marking time until retirement!

We moved to this neighborhood just to attend these schools. This district tests consistently in the highest national rankings. I know , it sounds like I'm bragging, but we've sacrificed a lot so our son can get a great education. We love our neighborhood, but perhaps would have chosen somewhere a little less beige than the burb to live in. Maybe something with a little more of the cool factor built in--you know, great shopping and eating within walking distance, along with more mass transit. Anyway, I've had family members teach in this district and my mom's best high school friend was curriculum director for years. It has all day long high performance classes which are great for Young One, but also the support that those high performance kids need to thrive, which is rare.

I thank God every day for the schools we have, but mostly, I'm thankful for the teachers we have in this district. They truly are educators, which is rare. Imagine actually having English teachers that can write and spell! Math teachers that have Pi day and serve pie. Reading teachers that host book clubs OUTSIDE of school hours just for fun. Music teachers that pursue grants for African Drums and for Sowah Mensah (ethnomusicologist, composer and a "Master Drummer" from Ghana, West Africa) to teach it. A PTA that raises money for children's authors to come and teach. A supportive community of helping hands. The list is endless and we are so thankful.

I hope that if you have children in school you are just as lucky as we are. I go through this falling in love phase every year at this time. I realize that our district is not the only one in the country that provides such things and I realize that a child's education should be as unique as that child. We have it so very easy here just to be able to send our child to public school. I wish that it was that simple for everyone.

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