Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Overjoyed

Many of you don't know that I had some intitial bumps in the road with the school that Cady is currently attending. I wasn't sure about the choice. It's a low performing school but it is in the neighborhood so I was willing to check it out. I wasn't impressed by the way the initial communication went and decided that I wouldn't be sending Cady to the school after all. I decided to write the Principal a pretty long email about how I believe in neigborhood schools and was thrilled that Cady was accepted into the program and then outlined the reasons that I wouldn't be sending her. I wasn't hoping for or expecting a response but felt a responsiblity to let her know. The Principal responded immediately (she even had to go a step further and do some research to find my phone number). She gave me her personal cell number and asked me to call her anytime to discuss. I called her and we had a great conversation. I was impressed with her response and agreed to at least go check the program out. I have to admit that at this point I visited the program with a pretty closed mind which lasted all of about the first 30 seconds. I really liked what I saw when we visited from the academics to the play to the social interactions. And for this reason I decided to send Cady to Colfax Elementary.
It's been a unique experience having her attend her home school. For starters, the school is comprised almost primarily of Hispanic students and many of them are monolingual Spanish speaking. There are a few African-American students and maybe a couple of Caucasian students in the whole school. I love this because it reminds me of home. I grew up in a ethnically and racially diverse neighborhood and I want Cady to have the same exposure and Rob feels the same way. It's interesting to see how well Cady has adapted to being with other children that do not necessarily look like her. She doesn't even question it. The other day I asked her, "which kid is Ivy? What color is her hair?" and I swear that she just about did a little eye roll when she responded, "Mom, everyone has black hair." And when describing to me who her new friend was a couple of weeks back she said, "She has black hair, black all over her skin and marbles in her hair." Color is just another way of describing someone the same as if she were to describe someone as having a big nose or small feet. The school is also comprised of families in the lower-income bracket and it's highly transient. But if you look past the low test scores and understand the reason behind them, there are some good things going on behind the doors of Colfax Elementary.

Cady is thriving in her new school. It's a mixed room 3 and 4 year old class. The other day there was a parent meeting before school. The teacher went over what she would like us to be working on with them at home. Three year olds were to practice holding a pencil and cutting with scissors and four years olds were to practice writing their names on the dotted line stencils. The teacher asked me to stay after the other parents left and she told me, "I know that Cady is only three but would you like to do the four year old assignment with her? She is smart and I think she is ready." Go Cady!
Today I walked her to school as usual on my day off. I am OVERJOYED to be able to walk her to and from school. It's a time to talk and connect without distractions. We arrived at school about 10 minutes early today and it was beautiful outside so there were many of her classmates playing on the playground before class. I loved that when Cady walked up the kids started saying, "Hi Cady! Cady, come play with me! Cady, chase me!" She seems to have made friends with everyone in her class! YAY!! I had a blast watching her play with all of her little friends. She plays in a very Cady way and her classmates seem to go right along with it. Picture Cady at the top of the stairs to the slide standing in front of it and telling each kid, "You have to give me a ticket. Where's your ticket?" And the kids good-naturedly hand Cady a pretend ticket as their admission (or is it PERmission, lol) to slide.
Maybe the next time you visit you will have a chance to go for the walk to Cady's school and see what I am talking about.

3 comments:

Great Aunt Sophie said...

Beautiful! What a great report. Cady is so lucky to have open minded parents, parents who are willing to give things a chance, and not make snap judgements about things. And how cool thing to do the old fashioned walk to school thing. (Chris and Carm often join a neighbor girl & her mom on the way to the school 2 blocks away).So wonderful that it is clicking for her too, given that tough 1st experience w/ the mean teacher. And the fact that she is super smart and advanced is no news to those of us who have the privilage of knowing Cady! Kudos to all of you.

KMK said...

Sounds wonderful!

MiMi said...

Well, Great Aunt Sophie (G.A.S.) said everything I was going to say. Thank you so much for taking the time to bring us up to date. I love the image of Cady the ticket taker - I think I see elected office in her future. I can't wait to come visit and join in the school walk - and maybe boot camp if I'm really brave.