We’ve decided it is worth it. A few months ago, shortly after I decided to step back from the SavePinehurst.org project we applied to send Kenzie to a different school. This was after a LOT of thought, debate, and inner turmoil on my part. How did I go from attending board meetings and speaking on behalf of saving her school to instead applying for a private school? Let me explain.
When I first got involved with the effort to save Pinehurst K-8 the school year was just beginning. Kenzie had a WONDERFUL time last year and I expected this to continue. She too was encouraging me to help save the school because she didn’t want it to close. Then at a beautiful school event I got to meet alumni from the school that were much closer to my age than hers and I was sold. Their stories of how connected and inclusive the experience was of them during their time at the school completely sucked me in. School was home, everyone knew each other, the whole school did things like go stay at a cabin and have work parties.
I was completely seduced by the possibility of bringing the community back together. In the meantime though, other problems were unfolding…especially leading up to the holiday vacation, my daughter was having a really hard time. Getting up to go to school, getting dressed, and eating breakfast were all turning into daily battles of will. She did not want to go to school. I talked to everyone I could, including teachers, principal, counselors, and even eventually a child psychiatrist and nothing much changed. Issues were dealt with as they came up but I started feeling like she seemed to be coming up with excuses to rationalize her wish to not go to school. She wants to live on a farm now. Wants to have goats. Wants to homeschool. I started trying to pitch ideas to the Save Pinehurst group such as creating our own co-op to attract other preschool age children to boost enrollment from the bottom up. I thought it made sense considering how many of us had younger siblings who would likely go to Pinehurst, the idea was not welcomed by any at that meeting, and I realized that it wasn’t my battle being fought. The battle was all about keeping THAT school, location etc. and not so much about building the community to attract people organically.
So when the private school presented itself…via a parent I met through my other daughter’s school I decided to check it out. I was thrilled to see that it is located close enough to our house to walk. When I stepped inside at an open house they had a few months ago, it was like I was stepping into the vision of what community was once like at the school we were leaving. It felt crystal clear, I had a decision to make.
I could either give Kenzie the experience of watching mom fight fight fight to keep this struggling school open, or I could give her this nurturing, creative, child led learning experience to look back on. I can see the value in both, though I decided that especially considering the challenges she was facing at the school needing to be saved and my being absent at all these meetings so frequently, the answer was clear.
So when I got the phone call yesterday from the school letting me know that Kenzie was in fact accepted at the new school, it felt like a huge weight was being lifted off my chest. She will be attending a very small local school that has managed to hold onto the community factor over the past 40 years. I am thrilled that she will be surrounded by adults paying attention to the kids, not distracted by the latest school board announcements.
I hesitated about putting my kids into the Seattle Public School system back when she started school a few years ago, I gave it a shot when she expressed interest, and now we are moving past that experimental phase to what better meets her needs. I’m excited to be a part of a school that knows how to involve parents too (it is a co-op) providing better ratios and more familiarity for all the kids too. I can’t think of anything I’d rather invest in than my children and giving them a positive school experience.
So excited for school next year!!!