I know, I know... every year I do a tirade on the public school system. Because I think for the most part it stinks and is hugely (is that even a word) flawed. However, not this year...
Spencer came home from school on Friday happy. Really happy. And that has not happened since Kindergarten. He LOVED Kindergarten, he had a fantastic teacher who he thought, thought that he was just the greatest smartest kid ever. And I am sure that all of her students thought that. She was just THAT kind of teacher. She's battling cancer right now (for the second time) and I hope she beats it. The school would greatly suffer if she didn't. However, first grade hit and that was the end of loving school. He started getting teased more and more, and his teacher let it happen. How do I know? I saw it. I helped out in the class and I watched it happen and her do nothing about it. And it wasn't just Spencer, there were other kids getting teased as well, but if the teacher says nothing, then as a kid being teased you are screwed. She was completely unorganized and well, we really struggled with her. Especially considering that Spencer tends to be kind of OCD about things. He NEEDS structure to feel safe and happy. And he didn't have that.
Second grade got better. He had a more organized teacher who actually did a fantastic job. She was well structured and even got to the point where at the end of the year she started teaching them the 3rd grade curriculum. Knowing full well that they would forget some of it over the summer, but also knowing that at least when they relearned it in 3rd grade it would seem familiar. However, the teasing continued. Teasing about everything, his ears being big, the things he was interested in, the fact he doesn't play sports, the kind of underwear he wore (he was pantsed in the 1st grade - yea that was NOT a good year) you name it and he was probably teased about it. Add on top of that some bullying on the bus and we needed a change.
So, at the end of the last school year, I put my name in the lottery for the charter school near us. It opened a year ago, and I heard good reviews about it from two families that are in our neighborhood and I figured it was worth a shot. I was told from the beginning that there was a chance Spencer would get in, but not Jenna because 1st grade was full and there was a waiting list of kids whose siblings got in to other grades. So we waited. Spencer finally got in on the third lottery and so Jenna went on the sibling wait list. That was on a Monday, by Wednesday Jenna was in. It was a small miracle. And really I felt like it was going to be a really good thing for the kids, especially Spencer.
On the Sunday before school started, we got an email from the Principal, who wanted to send out an email reminding the families of the "charter" that the school was founded on. The goal of the school or main focus is Constitutional History. And the charter had a ton of excerpts from Pres. Reagan's farewell address. Seriously! Steve could not have been happier.
On the first day, I worried. All day long. And Jenna of course came home COMPLETELY happy. But I didn't expect anything less. She LOVES to meat new people (I know, whose child is she?). She had a fantastic day. Spencer on the other hand said he had a good day and that things went good, but he wasn't over the top excited like Jenna was. And this went on for a week. Until Friday. Friday he came home from school just beaming. He said that he had the best day ever! And I may or may not have gone into my room and cried...
The test was Monday. Was it just a one day thing or was he finally glad to be in school? So yesterday when I go to pick him and Jenna from school, he gets in the car and was just chatting away. He loved it again. And then this morning when I was dropping the kids off at school, a boy saw Spencer get out of the car, and yelled, "Hey Spencer!" and they went walking into the school just talking away... That hasn't happened in a long time, I just hope that it keeps up... just sayin'.