Friday, June 8, 2007

And so, the adventure begins

My five-year-old just got the official letter in the mail: they ran a lottery and we now have the privilege of forking over $1800 to the public school system to send him to full-day kindergarten.

Is it worth it? I'm very ambivalent. Check out my post here to get some idea of why. But you know, I still thought it would be a good idea to get some sort of a dialog going. Now, I didn't have huge expectations of what the school web site would be like; as a matter of fact it might even have been a little better than I was expecting. So I dropped a note to the webmaster, a librarian at the school, and gave him a couple of suggestions for what I'd like to see: first, user comments on the site, and second, teacher biographies. I still feel like I have no idea of what goes on in this big, mysterious building that I am expected to send my only child to for most of the next seven years of his life.

The webmaster wrote back a very nice letter, but firmly rejected both of my suggestions, giving the typical reasons I've come to expect anytime I ask for a dialog: no time to monitor the comments, teachers might not want that information published, that sort of thing. Certainly I wouldn't want anything published about the teachers that they wouldn't want published, but there's certainly no shortage of teachers out there that have bios, websites, and all sorts of ways to communicate better with parents. Why not ask them? It's not like I'm asking for a webcam in the classroom. Yet.

So, let's start a dialog right here. What do you think about your public school? What are they doing right? How could they do better? How's the communication? Do you really have a good parent-teacher relationship? I want to hear from you.


Kevin Makice said...

It's great that you are doing this blog. Our eldest just finished first grade with a teacher that was pretty ideal. Our experiences at UES, though, have been disappointing. Not because of the instruction, but because of this general atmosphere that parents aren't welcome. We felt it much stronger in kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to get involved, but only in prescribed ways that unfortunately do not easily accommodate grad school schedules and care for younger siblings. The lack of opportunities to socialize and play as a form of learning are noticeable, as well.

I'm a big proponent of public schools, but so far it hasn't met my expectations or needs.

Kevin Makice said...

KillerStartups just posted an early review of Schoopy, which is a sort of MySpace for schools. I'm wondering if there is some value in exploring this as a way to engage parents with each other around school activities.