School choices

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Rollergiraffe, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It's time to pick a school. Well, it was time a few months ago, but we procrastinated for various reasons and now here we are. We have three school options:
     
    1) Regular public school - it's walking distance to our house (across a busy road though), and we know quite a few families who go there. It's close to parks, and has a nice school yard, it's well kept. Unfortunately it's rated about the middle of the pack provincially for academics. (Which I am actually surprised about; the power of the sanctimommies is strong in our neighborhood, but I think many of the go-getters send their kids to private school and sneer down at the plebian public school for lazy people like myself who aren't willing to get up at the crack of dawn in February to register their children in the best private kindergarten in Calgary, figuring public school is what I pay taxes for).
     
    2) Spanish bilingual school - the boys are already in a Spanish bilingual Montessori so I was really hoping to continue with it. However, the school is kind of run down and very industrial looking. It's not rated like the other schools because it doesn't cover the same grades, so I don't know how it compares. I like the idea of Spanish though because Kris works in S. America and I speak Spanish kind of, so we're already kind of geared to that. Plus, at this school, half their education is also in English which is appealing too.
     
    3) French immersion - it is the second official language of Canada, opens up lots of opportunities to work in government jobs. Of the 3, this school is rated the best academically, it's K-6, and it's a nice school with nice yards and next to a huge nature park with toboggan hills and such, so it would be very easy to get the boys outside for a while after school, even in winter. I guess immersion kind of freaks me out because I have a feeling for me to get involved I am going to have to learn French too, but what the hey? I can improve on that "Saskatchewan French" I learned in grade 7-9 before my teacher had a nervous breakdown from all of us jerks and that was that.
     
    I realize it's kinder, and we can change later, but it would be nice if we could find a school they could go to for a number of years. A second language is also important to us. The latter two schools would either be bus or drive, but less than 10 minutes from our house. What do you think?
     
  2. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I'm all about public school, so that would likely be my choice. I wouldn't say I'm anti-Montessori, but I do think it can be either really good or really bad and a lot of really bad is covered up with a Montessori label. The lack of ratings would also concern me. The French immersion sounds nice, but again all about public school.
     
  3. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'd go with the French Immersion school, considering how strong the language is in Canada and it could help with future jobs.  Aimee T's girls go to a French Immersion school and she seems really happy with it.
     
  4. TD

    TD Well-Known Member

    Most French immersion schools do not require the parents to know french.  The programs and the homework are designed for the kids to be fairly independant, though if you follow what they do, you will pick up on it.  If you know spanish already, that will help with the french as well.  You will want to get a besherelle (it is a book that shows the conjugation of all the verbs) as the kids get older (start with the blue one, as it has english definitions in it), plus dictionaries. 
     
    Where I live, french is a necessity to work in the government, so I am learning it as an adult.  My kids started it at grade 4 (considered middle french immersion;  early also exists here)  Both are good programs.
     
    I am biased, but I think the French will be more useful, living in Canada, than the spanish will be.
     
    Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I should have clarified; all of these are public schools. My comment about the first school was related to the $20k/ year academies that all the rich kids get sent to. I ain't doing that! We also have a few public alternative options; an arts academy, a science school, I think there's also a German bilingual and mandarin bilingual. With so many options, I can't see why anyone would, but the academies are the best rated schools.

    And the Spanish school isn't Montessori, just public school that is Spanish bilingual. We are definitely not considering Montessori after our experience this year. I agree that it sometimes is great, but when It is bad, it's terrible.
     
  6. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Since they're all public schools, I'd probably go with the French immersion - especially since it will help help them career-wise when they're adults!

    Good luck!!
     
  7. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    And I don't know about the school rating system in Canada, but I don't take much stock in the US rating system.

    For example, the school I teach at (and where our boys go) has been a 4 star school (highest rating), our passing rate on the ISTEP (our state's standardized test) was 96%. Only 4% of our students weren't passing. Then last year it fell to 95% and since the passing rate decreased instead of growing, we lost our 4 star rating. Stupidity right there.
     
  8. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I'm all about public school.  Sounds like the one close by is a good one... (appearance etc)  I'd be very tempted to do the French immersion school though, as long as you are able.  I think knowing a different language is HUGE, especially since there is French in Canada!  Good luck!
     
  9. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    That is stupid, Jori. Very stupid. Our comparison system is based on standardized test scores in grades 3 & 6, which has been the system since time immemorial here. It's not a perfect system, just something to consider. I weight other parents opinions of the schools more heavily. People seem satisfied with the French and English school, but I haven't found anyone who has done the Spanish program yet, so that's an unknown quantity. We discussed it last night and given that a second language is important to us I think we're leaning toward the French school. I need to contact them and read up on what immersion programs are like for non-French parents though.. but I think the school is what we're looking for generally.
     
  10. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Augh! Another wrinkle.. the boys would be in the same kinder class at the French school. I was REALLY hoping to avoid that. However, they would be separated in grade 1, and she said that they have a second aide in the class and make a point to split twins up into separate groups. She sounded pretty confident that it wasn't a big deal and that they do this all the time with twins, and it's only a couple of hours a day, so I am not that worked up about it, I guess?
     
    Anyway, talking to her was such a different experience than dealing with our daycare that I already feel so much better about the impending change! We're going in to tour it later this week.
     
  11. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Good luck.  I think in your situation I would go with the french school. 
    I know you were trying to sell your house and move, if that happens would it change any of the school choices?
     
  12. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It would probably change our school options, but we're considering taking it off the market as it's been on for a while, and we're not happy with our realtor and we're just plain out of steam at this point. If we did, we'd put it back on in the spring, and if we were happy with the school, we'd probably focus our house hunting efforts in neighborhoods in the catchment area.
     
  13. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I apparently need to work on reading comprehension. I went to public school. :)
     
    2 people like this.
  14. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I think I could have written that more clearly. I just write technical reports for a living, no big deal.
     
    2 people like this.
  15. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I was in early French Immersion throughout school and neither of my parents spoke a lick of French (although my mom knew some Spanish). I don't remember help with homework being a problem. :)
     
  16. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

     
    I was just talking about this at lunch and realized what my fear is; at the boys current school the teachers all speak Spanish. They're friendlier with the parents who also speak Spanish, and I have heard the director deliberately switch to Spanish so she can talk about people/parents/kids in front of them without them knowing. This has obviously scarred me :p .
     
  17. mommymauro

    mommymauro Well-Known Member

    that's gonna bite them one of these days... DH wont speak Spanish BUT understands it 100%... if someone asks me if i speak Spanish i reply "emm.. un poquito " but DH who spent the summer between 11th and 12th grade in Spain will say "No"... sooo... ya... someones gonna get in trouble :acute:
     
    Good luck... i'm sure it will all work out... and if it doesn't... you move on.... ya... not very helpful advice  :pardon: i should go now  :escape: 
     
  18. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Yep! In fact, it has bitten them. I don't speak Spanish very well, but I do understand well enough to know when they're complaining about me... and not to mention that in teaching my children Spanish they now have a bunch of little informers. Idiots. They're idiots.
     
  19. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm so so so so so glad you'll be out of there soon! They're so crazy... :(

    And if you ever need an "undercover" French speaker, I'm your gal. ;)
     
  20. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am glad you feel better about the change, that daycare sounded like a nightmare!  Just a little experience since my two were in the same kinder class this year---their teacher was terrific at keeping them apart, they never sat at the same table once this year for instance and she kept them separate as possible.  I was worried about it because I wanted my two in separate classes but the school only had one kindergarten class.   This upcoming year, it seems to be official that there will be two first grades, their teacher did recommend they be separated which is what I wanted.  
     
  21. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    So we went and toured the French Immersion school today with the boys. The school itself is a little older, but it is a great atmosphere. The principal knew every kid's name, and remembered our friends who were at the school several years ago already. The kindergarten teacher and classroom both seem really great and the kids in the classroom all swarmed Austin and Miles to show them their projects and stuff. They have a naturalized area there where they go out and garden and learn science. They seem to have a really good art program and the kinder teacher says she makes it a point to get the kids outside as much as possible. Then sent us home with a big package of information on immersion programs. It seems like a really good fit for us. So we registered!
     
    Thanks for all your input! Imma just cry in my office for a while at how big my kids are.
     
    5 people like this.
  22. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    Aw! I'm so glad you were able to make a decision that you're happy with. And kindergarten?? Crazy!! Didn't we just start this whole parenting thing a minute ago??
     
  23. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    That sounds awesome!! So happy for you guys!
    And just wait...you think the first five years went by fast? Once they start school, I swear it goes even faster!!
     
  24. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Yay Jen! 
     
    I'm happy you've found a place you feel comfortable. This school sounds really nice, too.
     
  25. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It sounds like a great fit Jen!  And time flies way too fast!
     
  26. AimeeThomp

    AimeeThomp Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My girls are in French immersion and we love it!  Have you seen any of the videos I post on FB with them speaking/singing in French? When they started there in Pre-K they had never heard any french before and now they are fluent!
     
    As a parent you do NOT need to know how to speak the language. Yes, their main teacher is from Belgium and the assistant is from France and their English is not very good. But at parent/teacher conferences the ELA teacher is also in attendance so any questions or concerns I have I can always tell that teacher who gets the message across to their teacher. Honestly the only problem I ever had was trying to email with their teacher because her English writing.....we lost a lot in translation.
     
    My two will always be in the same class because their school has 1 French and 1 Spanish immersion class for each grade. So unless I wanted them to learn different languages they'll always be together. However, their teacher always treated them as individuals so like at the beginning of the year when everyone was seated alphabetically they were next to each other, but later on when everyone moved tables they were separated and never next to each other again. It is not a problem for them at all.
     
    I can't say enough good things about foreign language immersion - we love it and all 3 of our kids will be in immersion until high school.
     
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