Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wait, wasn't this blog supposed to be about my kid with special needs?

I had mentioned that we thought we'd wind up homeschooling our daughters. And then I explained a little bit more about how we got to that decision. But I did not ever provide you with the ultimate resolution, and I thought that a few of you might have been sitting around saying, Hey, what the heck is going to happen with the WG children and school next year?

Well, it's never dull here, I'll tell you that. Mr. WG went in and met with the business manager and explained again that my blog doesn't have to be Fair and Balanced, that it is, by definition, MY PERSPECTIVE, and he handed over some financial papers and said, "Here's what I'm willing to pay." That figure, by the way, is $12,000 per year. We feel that $1000/month towards the education of our children -- the oldest of whom will be in the sixth grade -- is sufficient. I am sure that there are many people who disagree with me and those people can suck it. Whatever, that's how we feel.

Anyway, After much delay -- seriously, a lot of delay -- we were invited in to meet with the lower school principals to discuss our academic issues. I explained how the school has repeatedly failed my daughters, in particular S. I pointed out that I had contacted numerous people about my issues, repeatedly, over the last two years. Then, I tried to make it out like I am the crazy one with the unreasonable demands.

"I get it," I said. "I get that S's teacher has 12 students and therefore can't give personal attention to each one." I made this statement because it is what her teacher SAID TO US at our parent-teacher conference. I repeated it to ANYONE who would listen in the days afterward, because it blew me away. I made a special point of sharing that information with the very principal with whom I was now sitting.

So the principal says, "Well, I was not aware that she had said that."

And I said, "Well, that's a problem."

And the conversation kind of went downhill from there. Ultimately, her suggestion was that we enroll S. in the fall, try things out for a few weeks, and then see how we all feel.

Ultimately, it was all I could do to keep from laughing in her face or throwing things.

A few days later, I sent email to the head of school, informing him that we would not enroll our daughters. I did however, ask if we could enroll them part-time, for their Judaic studies. Several days after that, he replied that allowing us to do so would set "a dangerous precedent."

And this is when things got reeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllly interesting.

We wanted to privately hire one of the teachers from the day school to do Judaic studies with our girls -- a few hours a week, maybe one day a week, maybe two, but when we tried to do so, we discovered that the school had added a clause to teachers' contracts specifically prohibiting them from tutoring homeschooled students. Yes, that's right. They added a WG clause.

When I told Mr. WG, he actually started laughing. "Do they think they're punishing US?" he asked. "We can hire [redacted] or [redacted] or [redacted]! They're punishing THEIR OWN TEACHERS." Yes. Yes they are.

AND THEN. Oh, yes, there's more. Now, there's another Orthodox day school in town. It's a major thorn in the side of the school my kids were at. In fact, our school simply blames the new school for all their problems, rather than actually addressing issues. Anyway, we got a call from the Other School. They had heard that we were interested in Judaic studies for our daughters, and they were willing -- eager, even -- to help out. No pressure, just the one phone call, and an invitation to reach out if we were interested.

So, Mr. WG sent another email to the head of school. He stated the facts: We wanted to enroll our girls part time for Judaics. You said no. We wanted to hire someone from your school to tutor them privately. You put a clause in their contracts prohibiting that. The Other School offered us the option of enrolling part time. We would really like to work with you. Perhaps you would like to reconsider?

For the record, I did not feel the school deserved that second chance. Doesn't matter, because they turned it down, and the email doing so was addressed to "Mr. and Mrs.," whereas we had always been on a first-name basis with the head of school.

And so, we called the Other School, which is thrilled to welcome my daughters for Judaic studies. And, as their Head of School told Mr. WG, my daughters are OF COURSE invited to join the school for any trips, activities, parties, et cetera. AND, because simplicity is a beautiful thing, we are also enrolling J in their program. I have done the two-carpool life, and it is a pain. Although J. was very happy at the old school, we are pretty sure he will also be very happy at this one. In fact, two of the kids in his class at the new school live on our cul-de-sac, which will make for some lovely shabbas afternoon naps for mommy playdates.

I am fairly certain that:

  • there are some homes to which we will never be invited again
  • there are some homes to which we will specifically be invited for the first time
  • a significant part of the community will trash us
  • a different significant part of the community is already planning how to make us feel special
Should be fun.


ella said...

Wow. That's fabulous news, WG. Well, not about the head of old-school being lame. But new-school being awesome - that's fabulous news!

Teej said...

I cannot believe all of this drama. Ugh. If people stop inviting you to their homes because of something so stupid like this, screw 'em. They never were friends in the first place.

At least you arrived at a saner solution in the end. Sounds like it will work out much better.

Shosh said...

This sounds fun! Haha.
No..really..Im glad you found a different option. Sounds like you will get the best of both worlds! This is actually something I have considered...sending my kids to school for the morning, keeping them home in the afternoon. For now my kids are doing great in school but if at any point they weren't, what you're doing would be my number one choice.

moplans said...

sounds perfect.
(ok apart from the stupidity to get there)

sugar magnolia said...

I find that the Jewish schools don't really cater to special needs, at least by me. I wanted to send dd to the Jewish preschool where my son had gone, but they were wary about taking my daughter. So, she is at a Presbyterian church preschool, which has the most amazing inclusion program. Hard to have the Christian aspect, but they totally accept and cater to my child, which is more than my synagogue school would have done.

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