Another school year began this week. There are sounds of school buses outside my window, children at the bus stop out front, piles of papers to be signed and returned, $15 notebooks that will be destroyed in a month, the smell of new textbooks in the house, and all the ambiance of another summer left behind.
And of course, there is the usual plethora of issues to be worked out.
First up, Kayla’s much beloved high school principal retired at the end of last school year. He will be sorely missed by every person with whom I’ve spoken. Replacing him will be Dr. Doom (as she is (un)affectionately monikered), formerly the principal at James’ middle school.
I’ve always liked Dr. Doom. She seems friendly but stern (as a principal should), intelligent, and capable. I was delighted for her when I had heard she received her doctorate a year or two ago.
She’s also the person who threatened to have James arrested for disorderly conduct when he and a few friends were goofing off before class last year, but after I found out what the deal was I had chalked that up to Dr. Doom not having all the accurate facts in the incident. Given some of the new seemingly pointless rules being severely implemented at the high school already, I may be forced to reassess my evaluation of her.
As a fer instance, every day after school the kids getting picked up by parents wait out front. Kay is often late getting out of school because she stays and talks to teachers or participates in after school activities of various natures and time frames, so she almost never winds up on the bus. There is a large plaza type area where they wait, and there are low concrete walls specially constructed to serve as benches for them. The kids sit out there and socialize, not bothering anyone, not blocking the entrance, not causing problems. Since the district rescheduled the schools so that the middle schools let out ten or fifteen minutes before the high schools this year (rather than a half hour later than the high schools), that means those kids have to wait an extra ten or fifteen minutes for their rides. Apparently this is now unacceptable, and Dr. Doom had the staff actually go around and take names yesterday “to arrange for timely rides” for these students. I’m not sure what the point of that exercise was, but I doubt the school will care much for my response should they actually contact me about it. I’m not much for rules for their own sake, especially when they make my life more difficult. Control seems to be a recurring theme in the district. If they put half as much effort into educating students as they do in making up rules and regulations for no apparent reason, I suspect there’d be a drastic improvement in the quality of life in this county.
Given a choice between letting the high school kids sit and socialize while they wait an extra few minutes in an area reserved for the purpose, or letting the middle school kids stand out front playing grab-ass on a sidewalk much too small to accommodate them, and not safely away from the overcrowded and much too small pick up lane full of rude and impatient people who have no business behind the wheel of their 42 ton SUVs, I’m fairly certain which I’d choose. But unfortunately I’m not in charge. Yet.
Kay had some scheduling issues, which after all was said and done led her to turning down the job as editor of the school newspaper. To be on staff, she has to be in the journalism class. The problem was that journalism is only offered one period of the day, the same period when A.P. Chemistry is exclusively offered. Given the choice, she chose Chemistry and I think that was the correct move considering the information we had at the time.
Unfortunately, AP Chem has a Chemistry prerequisite which she had not yet taken. Leaving a hole in her schedule, she was assigned SAT Prep without notice or consultation. That doesn’t sound so bad on paper, but the reality is that the class “is an easy A for the stoners”, in her words. She’s pissed, and she’s got good reason to be. I remember those kinds of classes, designed to help the school’s GPA rather than to educate students. What’s especially grating about it is that her guidance counselor specifically hand wrote on her schedule that when an adjustment was made, she was NOT to be assigned to that class. Apparently the counselor knows what’s up with that.
I really wouldn’t mess with her. She’s intent on going to Duke or U Penn, and getting in her way is liable to get someone a very sore shin, possibly accompanied by nasty bite marks. Assigning her to B.S. classes would qualify as getting in her way. Just so y’know.
J.P. seems to like all his classes except Chorus. His old teacher left to tend to her pregnancy, and he’s not keen on the new one already. He asked to be removed to a Phys Ed class, but his Homeroom/Science teacher convinced him to give the new teacher a chance. After two days, he again wants out. My wife went down and asked for him to be moved, and was told she had to request it in writing, so I typed up a quicky letter this morning to that effect.
I met his new Science teacher a few nights ago at an Open House shin dig at the school. She’s rather pleasant, very experienced, and we shared a bit of unspoken smirk at Creationist nonsense. She seemed to be well-prepared and anxious to get the ball rolling for the year, and we chatted a little bit about what the year ahead held. I really expect her to be a better match for J.P.’s … exuberant… personality. I like her already, and I think she’ll have more success at channeling his energy into an appreciation for Science than the extremely inexperienced young lady did last year.
And so it begins…