Saturday, August 25, 2012

A New School Year

So, we spent 6 out of 8 weeks of summer break out-of-town.  It was so nice to get back into town...  Unfortunately, there were some pertinent issues we had to deal with that took place in our absence (I'll save that for another post), but I gave myself permission to relax for one week and not do anything related to school.  Obviously, that's not true- I still worked every day, but I didn't go into work.  My last week before school started, I went to school almost every day to set up my classroom.  There's something about starting a new school year- I am always filled with hope!  This year, we are all facing a new beginning of some sort.

After teaching 6th grade at a middle school for the last 2 years, changes at Jason's school gave him no choice but to move to 8th grade.  Jason has been a part of the International Baccalaureate program for quite a number of years, but the program got moved to its own campus this year.  It was decided that the new campus would do a block schedule, and since Jason only has a history single subject credential, it wasn't possible for him to move with the program.  This year, he'll be teaching U.S. History to 8th graders.

While at the Penner reunion, I found out that my principal resigned out-of-the-blue.  A lot of things happened rather quickly, and our new principal started only a few weeks ago.  Despite the stress of beginning a new school year with new (unfamiliar) leadership, it has been great- there is a positive vibe and a wonderful energy that I haven't felt at our school for a number of years.  I'm really excited about what is to come!  I enjoy my new students and based on the few weeks that I've had them, I can already predict that this year will be so much more enjoyable than last year.  I'll revisit that in Jan., ha ha ha! 

Grace has been at Kratt School since kindergarten and we've been ok with it.  Her 2nd grade year was amazing and she grew in so many ways.  Last year, she tested and qualified for Gifted and Talented Education (GATE).  In Fresno, there is a magnet school specifically for GATE students.  When we received the news that she was invited to attend, we were very unsure about what to do.  It has been a difficult decision to make.  It pretty much came down to her, and we were absolutely shocked when she said she wanted to try it out.  There was a moment last spring when she broke down and said she no longer wanted to go to Manchester.  She cried about how much she'd miss her teacher. We reminded her that even if she stayed at Kratt, she wouldn't be in his class again.  Since then, there hasn't been any talk about staying at Kratt.  She has had an incredible disposition about starting a new school.  Leading up to the first day of school though, Grace shared that she was very nervous about making new friends.  We would certainly appreciate prayers for Grace as she transitions to being at a new school! Here's our 3rd grader:
 Grace with her teacher, Mrs. Workman

(I was thrilled to get to take Grace to class on her first day.  Our new principal says he believes that family comes first, so he approved for my grade level partners to take my class until I could get to school. It was such a relief for me to help her get settled.)

So not only were we agonizing about moving Grace to a new school this year, we were also agonizing about what Jeremy should do this year.  With his October birthday, we had three options for this year: 1) start kindergarten, 2) start transitional kindergarten, 3) go to private preschool. 

We started Grace in kindergarten when she was 4, and we've had our regrets.  Grace was so academically ready that we just couldn't see holding her out for another year for her to start kindergarten.  Looking back, she has struggled socially.  This past year was the first year in which she seemed to actually "fit in" with her peers.  She had always seemed immature compared to her classmates, and that was due to her being the youngest one in her class.  With Jeremy being a boy, most people would say that for maturity's sake, it'd be better to start him next year. 

Our second option was transitional kindergarten (TK).  It's a new program that is geared towards kids whose birthdays fall between August and November.  Those are all of the "would-be" young kinders. These kids would still enter kindergarten next year, but will have some school experience.  The issue for us here was that Kratt only offers half day school, which would mean Jeremy would have to take the bus to a daycare for the afternoon.  Most likely, he'd end up at the same daycare he was at this past year, and we had major issues with them regarding his health and administering of his inhaler during allergy season. 

The third option was for private preschool, the same one Grace went to years ago.  We were really drawn to this option for several reasons.  Shining Star is a Christian preschool, and we love that every day, he'd get to learn about God and our Christian values.  The preschool is nurturing and isn't completely focused on academics alone.  There is an emphasis on learning through play, a notion that is phasing out in public schools.  Basically, we embrace that he gets one more year to just be a kid!

Obviously, there were many other factors to consider, but after going back and forth (and back and forth), we decided to enroll Jeremy at Shining Star for this upcoming year.  Here's our preschooler:

Jeremy with his teacher, Mrs. Debbie.

I was so nervous for Jeremy and his first day of school! Jason dropped him off and says that Jeremy walked right in with no hesitation.  He has loved school!  After a week, his teacher told us that she wishes that all her students could be more like Jeremy.  Apparently, he's very well-mannered, respectful, and does everything he's supposed to at school.  Thank goodness! 

Our entire family is off to a great start to the new school year.  It's going to get pretty busy here really quickly and I am sure that it'll pass before we know it! 

No comments: