People who don’t have children will roll their eyeballs at this post thinking: “Just another obssessed parent worrying about getting Johnny into Harvard at age 6.” But those of you with young children will understand the anxiety induced by the prospect of getting your child into a good kindergarten.
Jonah just turned 5 and will enter kindergarten next year. He’s now at the Secret Garden preschool in Capitol Hill in a program we adore. We’ve agonized over what to do next year. Many parents we know are sending their children to private schools like Seattle Country Day School or St. Joseph’s. But Janis and I are products of public school education and we want our son to have the experience of learning with children of wide-ranging ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Not to mention the extraordinary expense of private schools these days. So we resolved if at all possible to send him to public school.
We spent weeks visiting those schools we wanted him to attend. Our final list included (in order of preference) TOPS, Montlake, Stevens, Orca and John Hay. Our catchment school was Madrona. But after a horrible run-in with the principal we resolved that we’d send Jonah to private school before we sent him there.
When we ranked the schools we did so with great trepidation. TOPS is a fine school, but enrollment is based on a lottery and the number of children who get in is very small. Montlake is also very good, but it is in danger of closing in the next year or so and it didn’t have many open slots. Stevens is also a good school (though we didn’t like it quite as much as the first two) and had plenty of open slots. So we ranked it third and used it as our wait list school (in case you don’t get into your first choice school you get wait-listed).
Notices are sent out the first week of April letting parents know which school their child will attend. Two days ago, one of Jonah’s preschool classmate’s moms called us to say she’d heard from Montlake that Ava had gotten in there. We realized that all the schools might know who got in and so called TOPS first thing this morning. With baited breath, Janis waited as the secretary got the “list.” She asked our child’s name. “Jonah Silverstein,” Janis repled. “Oh sure, he’s here,” she replied. And with that we discovered that we’d secured our heart’s desire: getting Jonah into a very fine school. What’s more, TOPS is K-8, so we don’t have to go through this for another nine years! Furthermore, Seattle guarantees that siblings can attend the same school as the eldest child so Miriam and Adin can attend TOPS too. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
All this was terribly welcome news for us. You see, lady luck has not been shining on us lately. Janis was fired from her law firm two months ago. Yes, it was horrible and the managing partner was shall we say, a less than stellar human being about the whole thing. Last weekend, during the celebrations of Jonah’s birthday, Janis got a detached retina. And yes, it IS as terrifying as it sounds because you really don’t know whether you’re losing your eyesight. Dr. David Saperstein, a retina specialist at the UW Medical Center, did a superb job performing laser surgery and reattaching the retina and Janis is on the mend. Now if we could only get that call from the major downtown law firm which we’re hoping will hire her!
Dan Sniderman says
Mazel Tov Richard – I must say I’m not looking forward to this process – at this point Lisa and I aren’t sure exactly where we will live (we need a bigger space than the two bedroom condo I’ve owned since 1989). My sister lives in the city of Chicago proper and her husband and her are also dedicated to public schooling… They went through quite a bit before finding an elementary school they feel happy with.
We may end up in Chicago as well – real estate will be a big project for us this summer. Obviously we COULD move again before Joella (8 weeks this coming Monday) – but it would be nice to at least be some place we feel confident about the schools…
Sorry to hear about your wife’s travails – glad to hear the eye is on the mend and hopefully end up at an even better job – which is exactly what happened to me in 2004. I had a job I didn’t like at a major engineering firm (Household name – look for a little symbol on the back of any electronic device) was offshored to India. It took a while but I found a job with a small consulting firm that actually treats me like a human being.