Thursday, February 24, 2011

(Literal) School shopping: the plot thickens

If you need to catch up on the proceedings so far, here is Round 1 and here is Round 2.

There have been a few unexpected developments in the school search since I last wrote about it. First, the darkhorse candidate, School V, is now out of the running. Previously, I had heard nothing but good things about this school. Then I talked to a few more people and what they told me was enough to change my mind about applying there. It was nothing salacious or shocking, but they were very negative comments from people whose opinions I respect.

Second, School S - the current frontrunner because it is where most US/UK parents in our neighborhood send their kids - is dragging its feet on the application we submitted almost two months ago. I call every other week or so and they always tell me I should find out in about two weeks if there's a spot for Miriam. It's frustrating.



Third and most importantly, there is a new kid on the block. It is School A. I heard about it earlier this week, checked out their website, was really impressed, and went to visit it yesterday. I am desperately and almost unsuccessfully trying to suppress my wild hopes that School A is The One.

You see, the general vibe I've picked up at most of the other schools I've visited is something along the lines of fingers-in-the-ears, "la la la we're not in a foreign country I can't hear you la la la." Like maybe we can just pretend we're in Britain when we're at school, mmmkay?

Not so with School A. They are very proud of their diverse staff and student body and while they base their studies on the British curriculum like all the other schools, they emphasize that they adapt it to an international audience. They are serious about language study - kids learn Arabic and French starting in Grade 1. It's a K-6 school, which is actually more attractive to me than a K-12. The campus is lovely. I made sure to get a visual on the student body and confirm that there are other blonde kids there, so Miriam wouldn't be the only one. (I refuse to allow anyone to be offended at that statement. Bring it on if you are.)

Perhaps you can see why I am excited about School A. It seems to strike the right balance of a rigorous, English-based education with an appreciably diverse, international staff and student body that takes advantage of its amazing host community instead of ignoring it. And as far as I can tell, there is no great unspeakable reason for School A being less popular than School S in my community. One reason may be that School A is only K-6 while School S is K-12. Who wants to juggle multiple kids at multiple schools (and carpools, etc.) when you can just put them all in one? If that is your situation, of course, which ours is not. One possible good sign is that School A's tuition is just as high as School S, so at least that is a fairly equal comparison (a flawed one, I know, but it's something).

Still, I'm nervous because if we put Miriam at School S (the frontrunner school, assuming they deign to accept us) and we don't like it, at least we will have the consolation that we chose the safe, known school. If we choose School A and it turns out poorly, I would feel bad for taking the road less traveled.

What to do...

7 comments:

Crys said...

Oh I'm totally offended :) The school sounds lovely. Wouldn't it be great if you could find out soon!!!! Good luck!!!!

Fromagette said...

Sometimes things that sound too good to be true are actually true. I'd pursue School A, especially if School S is dragging their feet. It sounds like they are saying "Yeah, we know everyone wants us. We are so cool. We'll just leave you hanging for a while so you can appreciate how cool we are and how great it will be for you if we actually accept you."

Nancy said...

I've heard, and this is just hear-say, that taking the road less traveled by makes some sort of difference. Or something like that.

But again, that's just hear-say.

Still, School A sounds lovely. :)

Myrna said...

I vote for School A. Because I like the Arabic and French starting at the beginning, while kids are so adept at language learning. And I love reading your blog. From Nancy's mom.

Susanne said...

Miriam's dress is adorable! Good luck with the school stuff!

Liz Johnson said...

I want my kids to go to school A, mostly for the French/Arabic thing. I really wish I could find something like that out here.

Becky said...

So hard to decide--so much pressure on hoping your child's school experience is a positive one. I think I would try to talk with some parents from school A. Love Miriam's new dress.

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