Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It is officially time to register. That means that it is officially time to choose our preferences for Tessa's school. In Seattle, there is a lot of parent choice for schools, but there is no guarantee that we will get our first choice.

Our choices are:
Alki Elementary (2.2 miles away)
Gatewood Elementary (1.1 miles away, and our reference school)
Pathfinder Elementary (about 1 mile away, an alternative school)
Lafayette Elementary (about 2 miles away)
Schmitz Park Elementary (about 1.5 miles away)

School choice is very personal, and we know many West Seattle parents, none of whom rank the schools the same way. It's a combination of values (some schools offer exemplary Spanish, or art, or special ed, or social-emotional development, or reading, or writing programs...not one school offers all of these things equally); educational philosophy (traditional, alternative, or in between - how do you believe children learn best?), and other factors like building amenities, love or dislike of particular individuals, proximity to home, bussing availability, etc. Academic rigor is, of course, always of concern and interest.

I believe that Alki is neither traditional nor alternative; I believe that they offer a very nice combination of social-emotional development with academic rigor.

My list shows my conflicting values....these schools are each very different, and some parents might love one school but hate the others.

But I have decided. I feel that we are very likely to get into one of our top two choices. I'm trying not to get my heart too set on Alki, as my first choice, because we are not a shoe-in. It's impossible to predict whether we'll get in, as it's based on who is ahead of us (students with siblings at Alki, then students in the Alki reference area, then students who live closer to Alki than we do), but we know others in our neighborhood who got into Alki in recent years, so that leads us to be hopeful about that choice.

Tomorrow, after Tessa's 5 year check up, we will take her to submit her paperwork for kindergarten at the South Enrollment Center. Maybe afterwards I'll treat her to something to mark the occassion - an ice cream or something. I'm actually relieved to get rid of this paperwork, and to have the process out of my hands. I've done tours, I've held countless conversations with others, I've researched, I've debated....and now it is done. What happens next is out of my hands, whether I've made the right decisions or not.

I look forward to hearing (in April, I believe) where Tessa has been placed. Until then, I hope not to think about it, and I'm glad to not have to fit in all this research into my life any more!

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