First off, thanks for all of the cool connections for a public backer of a UPromise account. It looks like I have the ideal person and I’ll be posting about it soon! Also, a shout-out to Franscesca who recommended UPromise quite a while ago. I don’t know why I didn’t pick-up on it sooner.
Second, I have officially released myself of any moral or other pathological guilt related to where Jacket goes to Kindergarten. Private school application time has essentially passed and I’m not going to mention charter schools to Jacket’s mom again. Jacket’s mom knows I’m invested and interested in helping her get Jacket registered for school. I’ve given her all the info she needs. I’m just going to sit back and watch Swamp People now (I’m OBSESSED these days). I assume Jacket will attend the local public school, that is, if her mom gets her registered.
But, I have to admit, I DO have a plan for when Jacket arrives in public school next year. It’s my current dream to be able to say to her teacher “Tell me what supplies and materials you need. Name everything you want for this classroom. The sky’s the limit. I will work to make it happen”. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I know that this essentially happens in the Brooklyn Heights public schools…but definitely not in Jacket’s neighborhood.
Who would have ever guessed that showing Jacket’s mom an episode of “Kendra on Top” would be my most successful move yet? Aside from constantly calling Kendra “Kristen”, Jacket’s mom ABSORBED information, parenting ideas and goal planning. She ABSORBED, people. I started transcribing quotes because Jacket kicked me out of my room for “some privacy” (I don’t ask). Here they are:
“There’s a waiting list!? Kristen can’t get her kid in school!?”
“Her boy is ready but she’s not. Did you hear that mom? She’s not ready for him to go but he should go.”
“She needs help!”
“She doesn’t know what to wear. Look, she’s looking for clothes to wear.”
“That teacher is talking too fast for her, she needs to tell him to slow down.”
“He is telling her so much and she doesn’t know what’s going on.”
“Every 6 months a child changes. Did you know that?”
I just sent Jacket’s mom a text saying that if she wants us to start applying for schools on Sunday, she’ll need to bring Jacket’s birth certificate.
Let’s see if we ever get that far…
1. why not aim high?
2. exposing Jacket’s mom to all of her schooling options can only help
3. getting Jacket’s mom in school mode early, via private school applications, can only help prepare her for public school registration
4. Touring private, charter and (if it’s an option) public schools can only give Jacket’s mom more perspective- an opportunity she’s never had
5. a local, private school admissions counselor, and teachers who have met Jacket’s mom, think that they wouldn’t be the most impossible family Brooklyn has ever experienced
6. the right school, with the right mission and balanced SES ratios will see the value in extending their educational opportunity to a child like Jacket despite her mom’s behavior
7. Jacket’s mom can ALWAYS pull her out of private (or charter) school and put her in public school (and of course the private school can kick her out)
8. I don’t envision a private school having parental demands for Jacket’s mom that exceed public school. Additionally, I’ll be plugged in from day one to fill in the gaps
9. No decisions will be made until next summer
10. With the recent ACS case, I’m reminded that Jacket could be back in my care at any moment. I’ll be making the school decisions then, but right now there’s the possibility for her mom to be completely involved
11. Jacket’s mom likely won’t even be able to register Jacket for public school without significant support- private school is no different. I could just sit back and wait for her to crash and burn, or I could actually step-up
12. She’s asked me to help- there’s no way in hell I can refuse that, even if I know she’s bound to sabotage it
Jacket’s public school is in the lowest graduation zone of the city. Who knew the South Bronx was doing so well in comparison? I think the national average is around 75%?
Has anyone ever looked at the list of Universal Pre-K program names in Brooklyn? How is “Ring Around The Rosie” the name of a school? “Happyland”, maybe. “Kids ECT”- uhm, please fill me in on the etcetera part. Is it okay to send a boy to “Cinderella Day Care”? And to be honest, my first thought when reading “Little Sun People” was of a cult- a friendly cult though.
My favorite has to be “Chick Peas Day care”. Hands down the most awesome Pre-K name. My kid better know how to make hummus when he or she comes out of there!
Now, before you start, yes- I did take a full day’s rest in the sun yesterday. I stayed off the internet and only read magazines and listened to RadioLab. And, yes- I do get out. I had drinks with friends last night and will again tonight. And unlike you folks who check my blog every 10 seconds (kidding, totally kidding), I do have other things going on in my life. It’s just, if I posted about concerts, carnivals and food coops it wouldn’t be fosterhood anymore.
Also, I did read all of your comments and am absorbing them (except for the birth mom bashing one, but it’s best to just ignore those marginal rants unless I want to start censoring and if I do that then I really wouldn’t have a life).
Now back to the “Seriously?” part. This. My problem? It requires BEING ABLE TO READ. I was hit with another wave of how-much-would-it-suck-to-be-illiterate?! The closest I’ve ever come was when I lived in Japan for 18 months and had no interest in learning to read or write Japanese. I mean, like my brain took one look at kanji and said NOPE. That led to things like accidentally slopping a can of dog food on top of my rice (what country doesn’t put a photo of a DOG on that shit?), registering for a bicycle permit when I thought I filled out a form to pay my phone bill, ignoring “We’re shutting-off-your-water-for-a-month-due-to-repairs-letters from the government and other shenanigans that were endearing when I was 19 years old. It wouldn’t be cute if I was trying to enroll my child in school.
But what if I had lived in Tokyo in a neighborhood where less than half of the kids graduate from high school? And there were a bazillion better options other than walking across the street to the elementary school, but even doing that- being told to bring some more forms into the elementary school before dropping off my kid- is just asking too, too much.
It looks like the illiteracy rate in Brooklyn is between 29%-47%.
I know this is yet another can of worms, but why aren’t there economic desegration laws? When I was a kid I was bused far away to create better schools with more diversity- couldn’t it work again?
My friend teaches at a public school in Brooklyn Heights and she used to teach in Washington Heights. The difference in quality is insane and the key factor is one is full of poor kids and absent parents (most of the time because they’re just trying to survive and provide for their families) and one full of rich kids with overinvolved parents. Go ahead, tell me why this is a bad idea… I can take it. :)
Just in case you’re new, here’s all of the previously hashed issues over where Jacket should go to school (assuming that I even have any influence in the end). Public vs. Private (“rich”) schools, Gifted & Talented programs vs. Charter Schools, there’s another but I’m not finding it now.
The only option I’m set on ruling out is the public school in Jacket’s district. All other options are fair game and a TON of work in NYC. I’m lucky to know a lot of public school and private school counselors and teachers (and IEP evaluators and psychologists with kids in school in nyc) and every single one of them say without hesitation to AVOID PUBLIC SCHOOL AT ALL COST and that where Jacket attends will make or break her future. My older, wiser, mother-of-3, clinical supervisor at work is more concerned about keeping Jacket out of public schools than I even am.
It sounds like there are a lot more choices in public school when it comes to middle and high school, and I almost forgot (!) I once had a stint directing a scholarship competition (if it still exists, I highly recommend it) for public high schools in nyc and I was impressed with a lot of the teachers and students. It’s just elementary school that I’m stressed about. I’m not sure if avoiding private schools will mitigate the class/race issues that she will inevitably face, or if that’s even the solution. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I’m going back through all of your comments from my previous post on private schools for Jacket while trying to be leisurely about exploring her educational options. But of course, that’s a joke. I don’t function in a casual or laid back mode. Just obsessive, ultra obsessive and sleeping.
Tonight I’ve become familiar with the required acronyms such as the ERB/ECAA (assessments to get into private school), the RFT (forms that need to be filled out to request…), the OLSAT and the BSRA (evaluations for the public schools’…) and the G&T (Gifted and Talented programs).
I’ve looked up my “district” and Jacket’s mom’s district to find out what public and charter schools are around. Then there’s busing. I no longer believe that Jacket’s mom will be motivated/capable of transporting Jacket to and from a school which might be across the borough so I’m planning on a need for the “yellow buses” until 6th grade at which time NYC will give Jacket a metrocard for the public bus.
Yellow buses will apparently take Jacket across Brooklyn to almost any charter school, but for the G&T schools (if she even qualifies) the bus will only transport her within her district. Based on what I’ve read, I would prefer most charter schools compared to the G&T school in Jacket’s district.
I’m also thinking of Pre-K which would be in 6 months; however, the only free options at this point (private schools don’t start financial aid until kindergarten) are the low-performing schools in Jacket’s district and I fear her mom becoming too comfortable with the routine and relationships to the extent that she wouldn’t be motivated to send Jacket to a better school (better hopefully being something Jacket’s mom and I define together).
That’s enough for one night.
Anyone want to home school Jacket for Pre-K? I’m only half-kidding.
I googled nyc private schools. I went to some of their websites. I clicked admissions. I downloaded applications. I read the essays they want parents to write. And the financial aid forms… I almost started filling them out for Jacket, but if I did, I wouldn’t stop until I completed applications for all 10,001 private schools in the city.
Now I’m WIDE awake totally obsessing about getting Jacket into an excellent private school. Mind you, I went to public school- in fact, I was bussed across the railroad tracks to so-called “bad schools” but I think I got a pretty decent education - a love for learning was instilled in me. I want my own kids to go to public schools, but Jacket- she needs every extra boost she can get to help her break out of the cycles of poverty, violence and substance abuse in her family.
I’m figuring that Jacket’s mom would make the extra effort for a private school (I’ll fill out the applications but there will inevitably be some extra work for her) if the detective’s daughter goes too (they are the same age). The detective is already planning on sending her daughter to a private school so if I could help her get her daughter into a top-tier one, she wouldn’t mind one iota. I think Jacket having a buddy from a similar background (the ‘hood- although their family backgrounds are obviously different) at a ‘rich school’ would be really important. Not to mention, I doubt I’d be able to handle Jacket’s mom myself at a parent-teacher meeting….the detective is going with (whether she knows it or not) so she might as well have her daughter at the same school…and so my scheme continues….
Oh wondrous internet, you know where this is going. I know you have connections. And I know it’s all about connections. Jacket is bright. The detective’s daughter is very bright. They epitomize the diversity such schools seek. Yes, Jacket’s family is going to be a major pain in the ass (not to mention spectacle)- but I’ll be an even more skilled mediator by then.
Oh, glorious, magnificent internet..have I told you how the beige in those flannel pajamas brings out the youthful glow of your cheeks? Mind you, I don’t come completely empty handed. I can do a pretty good trade with some area college contacts… maybe you have a high school senior with a 1.5 and you’re hoping he’ll get in somewhere? Talk to me… in the meantime, start chatting up the powers that be, this HAS to happen.
At least I’m not asking for someone to rig the charter school lottery, yet. ;) And if you can, cause Lord knows you’re probably out there reading this, don’t tell me yet. It would be way, way to tempting to know.
FALL 2013- KINDERGARTEN
Jacket - full financial aid
the daughter of two NYPD detective’s - partial financial aid