Monday, January 14, 2008

Open Enrollment Showdown: School Choice part2

Well, the touring has ended. Being an educator with first hand knowledge of some schools in Boulder, I really had an eye opening experience through out this entire process. Officially it is not over until I receive my letter stating YES, you have a space in your first choice school!!!

I toured five schools in total. All of the schools look superb in print. Awards, achievements, high test scores, Boulder is the mecca of outstanding education. But then, after visiting the schools, I could see what sets them apart. How they are all so unique and diverse in their offerings.

The two neighborhood schools, which are not focus schools that I toured have a seal of approval from the school district to parents to kids. One of the tours was led by two fifth graders on the student council. Obviously their perspectives are very relative to being 10 years old, but the problem was could I relate to a 10 year old, is that the perspective I needed from a school tour? I am not sure if a tour by two kids was the best choice, although it did offer a bit of variety from the usual, "here's the music room, gymnasium, kindergarten". Even with their laundry list of accolades, I felt like the two neighborhood schools were missing a little bit of magic. They seemed way too down to business for my taste.

Now, if you know Boulder or have visited Boulder, you would agree Boulder marches to it's own rhythm. You would expect from Boulder, new, unique, innovative. That's exactly what I saw in the other three schools I visited. The "other" schools were focus schools, which means they have a particular focus for example Montessori or arts based, and one was a charter school. A charter school is an independently run school that uses BVSD funds, but they are not required to meet BVSD standards.

With all that said, these three schools in particular had it down in the passion and vision department. They recognize and visualize a different path for education. They don't see lines of desks, students quiet, and text books piled up. They see arts integration, outdoor education and caring for the earth as part of the curriculum, community service, and know educators can spear head change at the classroom level. Amazing.

Even though I am a bit overwhelmed by this entire process, I feel renewed in my love for education. Being in the company of such passion reminded me why I wanted to teach years ago. My last job before having Sj, made me disenchanted by education and it was all due to the path I had chosen. After leaving one school last week, I knew I would be back, touching student's lives once again.

Off goes our application today, off goes our 3 top choices. Sj's future is in the hands of a computerized lottery system. Now I wait patiently for the second week of February when the first round of letters go out. I promise to not stalk my mailman. I will be calm and let fate arrive in first class mail. Once again, to be continued.

2 comments:

  1. OK, do I know you for real? You commented on one of my bento posts and now you're talking about open enrollment in Boulder! Ted goes to Horizons, which it sounds like you've visited. I'd be happy to talk about it and they are open to visitors. Other friends of mine sent their kids to BCSIS, so I can hook you up with them too. You know, if you get in them all! :-) Good luck.
    And seriously, do I know you? for real?

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