Thursday, March 24, 2011

Plan C?

As I have probably talked about before, Ava is starting real Kindergarten in the fall. She’s currently in a half-day Kindergarten program, and could technically go on to first grade. However, she only makes the cutoff by two weeks, and I think in the long run, no matter how smart she is, she’ll benefit from being one of the older kids in her class.

In Wake County, we have great schools. Unfortunately, our neighborhood is not assigned to a great school. It’s a fairly horrible school, in fact. One that I just can’t, in good faith, send my child to. Besides the fact that the school has bad test scores, they are also riddled with discipline problems and low staff morale. Of course, we have not attended school there, so I can only go by what I hear. But the things I hear are from people who had the nerve to try it out. And, for the last couple of years, the school performed so poorly that parents were given the option to go to another nearby elementary school instead.

Knowing that we would not be going to our base school, we applied to a private school, a charter school, and three magnet schools. We got into the private, didn’t get into the charter, and have been waiting to hear about magnets. I won’t bore you with all of the details of what a magnet school is, but suffice it to say, we would have been psyched for Ava to get a spot at any of the magnet schools we wanted. They were all so impressive. More impressive, in fact, than the private school.

So, for the last month, March 24 has been circled in bold on my calendar. That was the Magnet Notification Date. Months of hoping, praying, and making small sacrifices to minor gods would come to an end.

My alarm was set for 5am. I wasn’t really sleeping well, so when a friend texted me a few minutes after midnight, I checked my phone. The notifications were online. My friend had not gotten in.

I got out of bed, and made my way to my computer. With shaking hands, I entered our name, address, and finally, confirmation number. And I could hardly look when the results popped up on screen. This is the message I received:

The Wake County Public School System appreciates your interest in the magnet programs offered by our school district. Unfortunately, we were unable to place your student in the options for which you applied. Every attempt was made to enroll as many students as possible within the guidelines established by the Wake County Board of Education.

Your student's name will remain in the applicant pool for consideration and you will be contacted if we can select your student to fill any additional vacancies.

Please accept our best wishes for a successful 2011-12 school year.

The Staff of the Growth and Planning Department

I was beyond disappointed. I mean, I thought I had prepared myself for the worst. I really did. I think what was most surprising was hw ANGRY I felt. Here I was, having waited months for what I hoped would be what we wanted, only to find that I had wasted my time worrying, touring schools, researching, and worrying some more.

That was really only the tip of the iceberg for my anger. I was mostly mad for my little girl. The one who deserves to be in a great public school. The one who loves school so much, who loves to learn, and who I just know would thrive in one of those magnet schools. I cried for her. I cried for me. I cried because now I have seen the best of what public school has to offer, and I know we won’t have that.

That’s not to say that Ava won’t do great wherever she ends up. And I’ll make the most of whatever school she goes to. I’ll be involved, make sure she’s challenged, and do whatever I can to improve our circumstances. Next year, we may try this again.

For now, I don’t know where she’ll end up. We may try to transfer out of our base into a more desirable public school. I suppose private school isn’t completely off the table. It’s just not the best option for us. Then again, Ava would look pretty cute in one of those uniforms.

Stay tuned, though. The saga continues, and hopefully ends well.




  1. just found your blog after your comment :) sorry you are dealing with all of this, the stress of sending them is enough, nevermind having to decided where to send them, Im sure whatever decision you make will be the perfect fit. Happy Tuesday!