Past Posts

April 20, 2011

Art's new school.

We found out a couple weeks ago which school Arthur is going to next year--Clara Barton Open School. In Minneapolis you can choose which school you want to go to, or at least request it. Some schools are very tough to get into and others, like your neighborhood school, are guaranteed. Unfortunatley our neighborhood school is not so good (I wish is was and hate to think about how some public schools are so bad and others so good).

Anyway, we visited many many schools and labored over our decision. Whichever school Arthur goes to is the one Lewis, Netta and Bailey will, too (siblings get priority enrollement). So it's a really big deal for our family. In fact, the child of our neighbor got on the waiting list for a couple schools so they're actually putting their house on the market and moving this summer. I hate to think of it but we may have considered the same had we not gotten into Barton. It's a lottery system, so it's total luck of the draw. And for some reason, we drew lucky!

Test score-wise Barton is really high, but it's the style of education (open education--which don't entirely understand) that seems like it'd be a good fit for our family. Jessica, a smarter person than I when it comes to child education (MASTERS IN EDUCATION FROM COLUMBIA) was especially impressed with Barton. They group two grades together at time and teach to each kid's level, not the entire class as a whole. Here's a little blurb from their website:

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Clara Barton Open School is a public K-8 magnet school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Barton Open School fosters a community of active learners centered on the following values:
  • Each Child is Unique
  • Personalized Teaching
  • Love of Learning
  • Multi-Faceted Curriculum
  • A Community of Mutual Respect
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The other especially cool thing about Barton is that it's Kindergarten through 8th grade--meaning there's no junior high! Neither Jessica or I have fond memories of our junior high experience so going straight to high school is fine by us. It also means Art will be in school with his sisters for three of four years and with Lewis for six years...Isn't that wonderful?!

Also, the school is close and entirely bikeable (and the bus picks up a block away). The one drawback to Barton--and something we originally considered a deal breaker--is the 7:30am start time. Ugh. That's early. It will be a hard transition for two parents who often stay up too late doing pointless stuff (Papa especially). But, as a Barton parent said during our tour in an attempt to dissipate our early-rising-fears, everyone in the family will adjust fine and the kids will be home early in the day with plenty of daylight left for after school activities and playing around the house. But still, 7:30....

One of my favorite things about the school is the building itself. It's one of those big old school buildings with beautiful wood floors and bright huge banks of windows. In the center of the school is a really big performance space that used to be the courtyard. Band, orchestra, dancing perhaps? I dunno, but it sure is lovely.

Just last week Art and I biked to the school and played on the playground and talked about kindergarten a bit (May 5th is orientation). After a little convincing Art went into the school with me and peered into a kindergarten room (it was after hours). He let our a tiny shriek of excitement and said, "Papa, they don't have alot of toys in there. Probably cause I will be older."

Unfortunately, Art's friend Si won't be going to the same school:( Art mentioned a few times how he wished he and Si were going to kindergarten together. I know we'll all be diligent about making sure they still get together and play.

But, Evva is! Yes, Art's friend since diapers is going to the same school (which will mean we'll be seeing more of her parents, too, our good friends). I'm especially happy for Art and Evva, who admittedly could likely care less right now about being at the same school. But as Evva's grandmother once said, "Art and Evva seem to have a special relationship." And it's true. They're constants in eachothers' lives. Wherever the go, there they are. Art and Evva. At ECFE, preschool, and now, kindergarten and beyond. I feel like it's a real gift our children are going to Barton, and an extra special gift that Evva and her family will be there, too.

Art and Evva at preschool today.
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