Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pre-K Registration Fun

Today was Pre-K registration for our local elementary school that Caroline attends and that we hope Bryce will get to attend for Pre-K in the fall.  Remember last year's kindergarten registration ordeal with Caroline?  Well, that was the opposite of how things went for Bryce.   That little boy went in and was so happy to back and color with some of the staff and then when he was taken to get quizzed by the Pre-K teacher, Ms. G, he was so animated and easygoing.  Typical social Bryce, I wouldn't have expected anything different - he's such a cute and happy little guy.  He just loves meeting new people and trying things out.  He was so excited to be in Caroline's school and is really hoping he will get to attend in the fall.

Unfortunately Pre-K is not a mandated program in the state of Maryland so spaces are reserved first for children with any kind of learning issue or delay - which I totally understand and agree with.  Then next qualification, I do not agree with.  The next spots go to children whose families are below a certain level of income.  So basically a child that has the same intelligence level as Bryce but comes from a lower socioeconomic status would get a spot.  I'm sure the argument would be that because we are from a higher socioeconomic level that we could afford to send him somewhere but the bottom line is, I pay my taxes and I feel as though my child should have a chance at going to public Pre-K as any other child of average (or above average) intelligence would, no matter their financial background - particularly since we already have a child that is attending the school.  The teachers/staff at the school agree with me though and the wonderful guidance counselor told me that if she had her way, she'd balance the class out because she knows how higher achieving kids can really help those that are struggling.  So basically at this point I'm on a wait list.    I'm not leaving it all to chance though because I've heard through the grapevine that if you contact your local representative and raise a little concern about the process that you might have a better chance at getting in.  I'm not above doing that.  Particularly since I've seen how that works at the college level.  I'm not saying I want Bryce to push out some kind that really needs to be there, I just want a level playing field.

However, the day was generally a very good day and I am further validated that our decision to send Caroline to our local elementary school has been a good one.  The staff at that school are truly wonderful.  When I walked in that morning, the secretary immediately remembered me and knew who my daughter was.  (I honestly didn't remember her!)  Then as I was sitting and chatting with the guidance counselor, school nurse, and Pre-K teacher, they all got to talking about Caroline and about what a nice girl she is.  Apparently she's known to many teachers as "Matilda" because of her cute haircut and how smart she is.  Talk about feeling proud as a mother to have staff that aren't her teachers to know about her!!!

And then, after we finished up there, I promised Bryce we could peek in on Caroline since I knew that she would be on her way to gym class at that time and sure enough, there they were in the hallway finishing up bathroom time and lining up for gym.  Caroline was thrilled to see us and her teacher, Ms. R, seemed happy to see us too.  She asked Bryce why he was there and he told her for Pre-K registration but then I added on that we were on the wait list because we don't automatically qualify so we were keeping our fingers crossed.  Ms. R got this serious look on her face and she said, "That just isn't right.  I've worked here for 17 years, I am going to make sure he gets in."  Then she leaned down to Bryce and smiled and said, "You couldn't have just sat there and not said anything, huh?"  Of course then he told her that he hoped when he went to kindergarten that he would be in her class - and who could resist that????  So we'll see if Ms. R's help does anything - I'm not going to bank on it, but just her comment was certainly appreciated as I know she appreciates having students/families committed to learning since she deals with lot of apathy given the makeup of a large part of the population of the school.

I left the school feeling very proud of my 2 older children and very hopeful for their years to come there.


Viv said...

We are in the same boat with Makenzie's PreK for next year (although I also have her signed up for a private 4-year-old class just in case she doesn't "get in") I think it's very funny that the lower income families have a higher shot at getting in - I mean we're a 1 income family over here since I've been a SAHM for almost 5 years now and we we aren't wealthy by any means but we're over the income line by LOTS! I mean, really? (say that in your best SNL Seth & Amy voices to get the full effect :) )I've been told that since our school has 2 PreK classes that they haven't had to turn anyone away the past 5 years, so that's good but I'm not banking on it (hence why I've paid a non-refundable deposit to get her into a co-op if she is "rejected") We were told we'd know something by end of June, so we'll see - Good luck Bryce - our county school sustem is ready for you & Makenzie!

And Wow E - I can only imagine how you feel having Caroline getting such love - how wonderful! :)

Katie said...

you sound like a republican!

Erika said...

Ha ha, K, I don't label myself as either anymore. I tend to take a little from each side these days....or in many cases NEITHER side.

V - yeah, C&B's school only has 1 Pre-K (with an AM and PM class) so it's limited. You'd think in the area we're in with so many kids meeting the standards that we'd have 2 as well. Bryce wants to go there so badly!

Lauren said...

As a public school teacher, I have to agree with you that the income level standard is ridiculous. I don't care how "Un-PC" this sounds, but you know that some of the moms that fall below the income line are just looking for free baby-sitting. I've experienced that in this county with the free summer school that we offer and it is true too much of the time. You should not be punished for being above a certain income! I hope Bryce gets in!

Erika said...

I'm not telling anyone you said that, Lauren! :)

C's school offers a free summer school program too and I'm sure people see it as free babysitting as well.