Wednesday, February 11, 2015

out of the box for high school

We got Chana's high school acceptance today.  I wasn't sure if I wrote up for this blog the parent interview I had with the principal.  I was looking for it, but I didn't see it.  I was afraid it was too good to be true.

When I sat down with the principal in December, she said that she had so many questions.  We talked a bit about Chana and her impressions of her.  She said that she just doesn't see that Chana is going to cope academically.  And I said I agreed.  Had Chana been motivated, I'm sure she'd be able to cope.  But I said that Chana had been planning to go to school until she sat in on the classes and realized that she didn't want to sit like that all day.  And she doesn't really do things she doesn't want to do.  I thought the principal got a pretty good sense of Chana from the interview. She sensed that Chana will be disrespectful if she's annoyed.  I agreed with that assessment, and explained that although I work hard to create an environment where we can discuss things respectfully, I'm aware that by nature she doesn't take to authority. 

The principal also said her skills were a 5.  A 6-8 goes to honors and a 1-4 can't be in honors, and a 5 has a choice.  But she thought that while Chana was adjusting to the work load of a 9-5 day, it's better for Chana to cruise rather than be overwhelmed with work.  (I personally think Chana's skills are better than 5.  But she ought to know since she evaluates 8th grade skills professionally.)

She asked me why I wanted to send Chana, and I said that Chana had expressed a desire for socialization and I want Jewish peers for her and girls struggling with Torah and passionate about Torah and voices other than mine teaching Torah.  And that we have Torah in the home but I feel a lot of it is superego and I want her to make it hers.  And I just felt that homeschooling isn't sufficient for her Torah growth and for her having a Jewish peer group. 

Then the interview took a wild and crazy turn.  The principal pulled up the schedule for the current 9th grade, said, "Hmm... when is Chumash and Nach...
Why doesn't Chana just come for Chumash, which is right before lunch, then lunch, then 2x a week after lunch is Nach, and 2x a week after lunch is history and then Nach, so she can have a free period during history.  And that's it."  
I said, "Really?  That sounds amazing."  
And she said, "I would really like her to come on the shabbatones and to the special programs."
And I said, "Me, too."  

She said that if Chana chooses to go full time, she can skip math (since she's doing algebra now) and she can skip Spanish and they can try to work out an extra free period in her schedule every day, but she really doesn't think that will be enough for Chana.

Bear in mind, I did have a couple of conversations with the principal about this.  Two years ago I asked if it would be possible for Chana to come part time.  And earlier this year she asked me how that would work, and I said Chana would officially be homeschooled and she'd just take some courses in the high school but the high school wouldn't be responsible for her academic requirements.  

I said I would LOVE for that to work, but Chana doesn't want to do that because she thinks it will be hard to integrate socially.  The principal said she does not agree.  She thinks that Chana will absolutely integrate socially in that situation, based on Chana's personality and the culture of the school.  

She has to clear it with the head of school, but if she thinks it's fine then he'll probably agree with her.  

I could not believe how open she was to the possibility of Chana coming part time, how she cared about Chana's future spiritual growth as a member of klal yisroel to the point of creating space like that and thinking creatively about what would be best for Chana.  

Practically, it's going to mean kind of a ton of me driving back and forth next year.  I'm having a lot of thoughts and feelings and worries about how this will play out.  But it is an extraordinary offer.

I haven't spoken to the principal about it since, to confirm.  I guess when it's time to register Chana we'll have a conversation.  

1 comment:

  1. I wish all principals were as open-minded and caring. Good luck, and sounds amazing!