Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Elementary my Dear...

Ok. I'm not over it. I'm not over what an awful experience we had at Keoneula Elementary. Here's how I know.

 Case example #1. Whilst walking home from the post office with my husband we take a detour so I can finish my in depth analysis of how wonderful Iroquois Point is compared to the "old school"  detailing everything from the carpool lane to the parent participation, to extra curriculars to having soap in the bathrooms. An hour later I notice my patient walking buddy keeps steering me towards home and I realize that he hasn't said 2 words for the entire time.

Case Example #2. Whilst walking one morning a month ago, a woman stops me and asks if I am from Colorado.  It seemed like a bizarre coincidence until I realized I had a ginormous ralphie on my shirt. Case closed, right- no she asks me if it ever goes away? Missing Colorado you mean? Yes she says- and I dang near burst like the dam road and I tell her the honest answer- no, no it doesn't. She's got a little boy and he's wearing a Keoneula shirt- but it's school time, he should be in school. She tells me she has a daughter in Kindergarten there, he likes to pretend. She doubles back and starts walking with me. I ask her how it's going. Not good she says, but she doesn't know what to expect since it's her first child in school. Did I know she couldn't even go have lunch with her daughter? Yep. I knew that.  She said she checked in on her child and that she is not real happy that the class spends an hour sitting and reading, an hour sitting and writing and very little instruction. Yeah I know- they call that "workshop". The kids who do well are bored, the kids who struggle get help- the kids in the middle stay in the middle. She likes her house in the neighborhood but says she is considering moving on base because the school seems so much friendlier and more well rounded. Do it- I tell her. Don't think twice about it, don't look back- you will be a lot happier for the next 3 years if you do. I tell her our story and the battles I fought just to be allowed to volunteer. About how I felt unwelcome on campus- that parents had tried repeatedly to get involved only to be turned away.  Then I told her the piece de resistance- my fun interactions with the principal. She must have taken my advice because our paths haven't crossed again.

Case Example #3. I volunteer on Wednesdays. The school has these cool red folders that only go home on Wednesdays with all the relevant communications, fundraisings, events, whatever in one place on one day. It's awesome for those of us who can't keep track of things anymore. I take care of  stuffing the red folders for the first grade. The teachers say Thank you every single time. Today I planned ahead and picked up Subway on the way to school so I can have lunch with the girls.  I check in with the office and I get called in to the school counselor's office to sign some additional paperwork on Lily's 504 plan. We spend and entire hour chatting about schools, kids, life. An entire hour. Most of which I relived our negative experiences at Keoneula and Ewa Beach and cancer and diabetes. She tells me specific things she has noticed about my kids. She knows them by name. I question again why I didn't move my kids to this school sooner. But the important thing is they are flourishing now she tells me. And that is true. I don't know if I feel good or bad that I just spent an hour in therapy with a school counselor. I need to get a life. But then I think about it and these kids are my life. I shouldn't feel bad about wanting the best for them and checking to make sure they get it. I won't feel bad about regretting letting someone treat them less than what they deserve. At some point I have to let it go but I also wish that there had been a parent who had been there to warn me. I don't want anyone else to suffer if I could prevent it.  Because right now we are doing better and the school is great and the kids look forward to going and are learning so much. That's how it should be, it's elementary my dear.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Wonderful,, just wonderful for all your little monkeys:))