Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why I Love Our Little Charter School

Little Man literally won the lottery...the lottery to get into his charter school. I had wanted him at this school since he was like 2 or 3 years old and they had an opening for a third grade teacher! Yes, I applied to teach with them, I wanted him in so badly. (Employees and siblings get dibs on open spots!)

So when lottery application time came around last year, I was turning them in the moment I could! I still remember the night we got the call. I was at Bible Study and the kids were with their dad. When we got home, there was a missed call on the phone, but no message. It was from the Charter School! I checked my cell phone and there was a voice mail. He had got in!

This school is small, one class per grade. His kindergarten class is maxed at 24 kids. (Which is 4 more than what they had initially drawn for! They opened up 4 more spots in the summer due to high enrollment in the public schools.) This is so great! Why? Here's a few reasons:

1. They know us!
Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but I like the fact that I can drop my son's lunch off in the office when he forgets, or donate disinfecting wipes, and the secretary already knows who I am. I've only been in the office a handful of times. And the teacher is always telling me things in the pick up or emailing. This is one of the great things about having him at a "small" school. Sure I could've put him the public school where they have more classes per grade and maybe this would've happened, but not likely. Little Man isn't going to be lost in the shuffle of the many classes of kindergartners.

2. My son is academically advanced!
One of the school's "goals" as a charter is to make sure each child is meeting individual academic goals. Going in, I knew my son had just about met all the kindergarten standards. I go to his first trimester conference, yeah, he's met them all. Kid passed kindergarten in the first trimester! But we're keeping him with his peers as he is still a bit behind his peers in the emotional and social aspect of things. But that means that the teacher has to do some quick thinking to keep him involved! Thank goodness for technology! But my kindergartner is telling me about "bossy R" and "bully E" and contractions. Things they don't teach until first grade! And because the school is small, his teacher is able to talk with the first grade teacher and find out what she would like to make sure he knows going into first grade, so she can make sure he hits those milestones.

It's important to me that Little Man continue to grow academically, but remain with his peers. And had I put him in the public school, this may not have happened. He may not have been challenged enough. He may have become a problem child. But that hasn't happened. We are working on his social skills while enhancing his academics. And EVERY break that is longer than a 3-day weekend, he gets homework! And his homework is first grade stuff. AND his teacher sends home the extra stuff! How great is that?!

3. Community Involvement!
Another one of the school's "goals" as a charter school is to get the kids involved in the community. So my son's class picked up trash at one of the parks in town. And now that we are looking at my son's 6th birthday party, we are asking his friends to bring donations for the local animal shelter instead of presents. And surprisingly, Little Man was okay with it! It just goes to show you that kids CAN be involved in their community. They are learning to be productive members of society NOW and learning that even as a five or six year old they can make an impact.

I'm SO glad I picked a charter school for Little Man. It was the best decision I made. And I'm SO glad we won the lottery! Hopefully when Princess gets there, they will be willing to work with her special needs as well as her intelligence. And hopefully by the time Little Man is done there, we'll be able to move him to a charter high school. (It's something that they're looking at now.)

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