We’ve got great teachers, principals that are open and reactive and the chance to be powerful partners in our kids’s instruction. And I wager the same the same holds true for nearly all the schools in the San Diego Unified
Why would’t families select an area school that is good and prevent all the craziness which comes with losing hours of enjoyable and family time and long commutes?
A large part of the issue is understanding.
When my daughter was 2 years old, my family moved in 2003. I recall the Realtor warning us that although North Park is an excellent area we may prefer to contemplate choicing into another school and the neighborhood school, McKinley Elementary, didn’t have an excellent reputation.
We applied to all the high-performance schools.
But I observed the children and they looked so happy and well behaved. I kept thinking what’s wrong with this school?
She was amazing. I learned the school had an International Baccalaureate program, which brings together the finest teaching practices from all over the world. I began thinking: Wow, this can be awesome.
Why, then, was the school was getting this kind of bad rap? The principal was asked by me if it was OK to spend time. She said yes, and so I enjoyed what I saw and put myself.
The teachers had excellent classroom management. Most importantly if you ask me, the teachers did’t be passive students and let the children sit there.
We were torn between an among the language-immersion schools and the area school because we enjoyed the thought of having the capability to walk to the school and become familiar with the families in the area but we elected for the area school. I also knew I could really help out in the school because I worked at home.
McKinley has over 600 students, test scores have increased drastically, families are moving into the area on account of the schools and parent participation has burst.
The response is the school did’t actually shift. When we began searching the same great teachers who are there now were there.
What exactly did change? Parents stepped up and showed up. We became full partners with the school board and the principal to make important decisions.
We worked to keep the IB program when the budget cuts strike. We also worked to develop a combined-use park at the school so elementary school and middle school start times weren’t an hour and a half and to alter our school hours.
And working parents all did it.
It’s’t always simple to take some district conclusions, but we can understand why particular choices are made because we work in partnership.
Another matter we parents did was begin promoting the school.
We hosted a Realtors’ breakfast in order that they could see how great the school is and began advertising McKinley as a “area school with a global view”. In addition , we set up a parent-teacher club web site and newsletter. Our area contribution speed raised to about 70 percent from about half.
Our larger community has also actively employed. Local companies feel connected with their community school and they are repaid by the families . Our community is considerably more powerful today because of how involved we become in our local school.
Parents at Jefferson Elementary and Birney Elementary have had similar successes, which is now beginning to transfer up to Roosevelt Middle School.
My family is so thankful for the quality schooling my daughter received at McKinley (and now at Roosevelt). Because we stayed in the area, we became great friends with our neighbors and had more time. Those community links have significantly contributed to the North Park renaissance of the previous few years and have really made our lives much more affluent.
I say give your neighborhood school a try if parents are on the fence concerning where to send their children to school. Take the jump if the school provides a quality education for the child, even if it’s not everything you need. You will find always tradeoffs. But think about your family’s quality-of-life all that you are able to bring to make the school better and problems. What an excellent lesson to teach your kid: how to change the world one area at a time.