Although Tobin doesn't start first grade until August, we've got first grade on our minds in February. Yesterday, Matt and I submitted our magnet school application to the local public school district. We selected our first and second choices of schools and spots will be awarded by lottery. We should know some time next month if we got into one of these two schools. Our first choice is a public Montessori school. Generally speaking, we like that model for learning and would love for Tobin to be part of its flexible, creative program. Classes are divided into three multi-age groupings: (1) pre-K and Kindergarten; (2) first through third grades; and (3) fourth and fifth grades. Our second choice is a humanities magnet and has conventional grade level classes.
Our odds for getting into either school aren't particularly high, especially since we're entering the lottery at first grade; there are fewer spots available than if we were entering at the pre-K or Kindergarten level. My impression is that we'd have a better chance of getting into our second-choice school since it appears to be an up-and-coming school rather than the established, popular option that is our first-choice school. However, we wouldn't get into our second-choice school until all the spots were offered to students listing it as first choice. There's also a public charter school to which we're considering applying but we have a couple more weeks to decide if we're going to submit an application there.
All of the schools we're considering are much closer to Matt's school than where we live now. Our hope is to move closer to that area by the start of the next school year. We need more living space and it would be nicer for Matt to have a shorter drive to work. Plus, we've heard mixed things about the elementary school we're presently assigned to, so we would try to move into a district where we feel better about our assigned school. Our default school is important because that's where Tobin would go should we not get into one of the magnet or charter schools.
The pragmatic side of me says Tobin is a flexible, quick learner with supportive parents, who will thrive in whatever school he attends. But the emotional side of me wants to be assured going in that he's going to be in the best place. We've been so pleased with his pre-K and Kindergarten experiences and I'm so attached to his current school that I fret about the transition ahead. Of course, another way to look at it is this: with the confidence instilled in Tobin and us by his current school, we can be optimistic about the future. I think I'm getting there, but this letting-go part of mamahood is hard--as prepare to send my first baby off into the much bigger world next fall. Stay tuned!