Not Another Brick in the Wall

As a former teacher, I had grave concerns about some of the policies at my oldest daughter’s school.

Despite what is outlined on the school district’s website regarding continuous progress, some schools in the district seem to be moving away from a “continuity of caring”.  Such was the case at my daughter’s school.  Each year, the principal moved the teachers around, which destroys any hopes of team building among the staff and a continuity of caring for the students.

Every moment of an already jammed packed day was full of instruction, even recess.  The kids had little time to be kids.  Due to the governor’s newest policies, there was no room for good old fashioned tag and other recess favorites.  Gone were the days of chalk drawings and hopscotch.  It was replaced with mandatory teacher led P.E. instruction.  In the couch potato society we live in, there is a dire need for more physical activity in a student’s day, but there is a lot to be said about the benefits of down time and a break from instruction.

At this school, parents were not viewed as an asset but rather a burden and a nuisance.  The school said it encouraged parent involvement, but yet their policies sent a very different message.  On numerous occasions, I offered my services to assist with enrichment for advanced learners or remediation for struggling students.  My efforts were politely shunned and discouraged.

The overall climate of this neighborhood school lacked a warm and fuzzy environment, which is essential at the elementary level.  The school felt cold and the staff rarely smiled.  In addition, this school focused heavily on instruction and forgot how to have fun while learning. In the early years, it is crucial to develop life-long learners and a love for learning.  This particular school missed the mark.  If a school cannot foster a fun learning environment, then the results create boredom and ultimately kill any hopes of future learning.

But most importantly, I believe my daughter was one of the kids lost in the humdrum routine.  She rarely raised her hand to participate although she always knew the answer.  This bright star craved a teacher to help her shine by making her feel welcome and reassuring her that her contribution was important.

For her entire first grade, Allana stagnated.  At the end of last year, I felt frustrated with this school and considered homeschooling.  I knew the type of teacher Allana needed and I knew I could be that teacher.

As I searched for options, I turned to a local charter school.  I had met with the principal earlier in the year and was very impressed with the philosophy of the school and its positive atmosphere.  Last May, I added her name to the waitlist but she sat at number thirty on the list.  Although I had hoped she would get accepted into the school, our chances seemed very slim.

Two weeks before school started, we received a phone call from the charter school.  Allana had been accepted.  The next day, I filled out the paperwork and made the switch to the new school without hesitation.  Of course, Allana was nervous about the change and a little sad to leave her former school, but she agreed to give the new school a try for at least the first nine weeks (first quarter).

On the first day of school, I knew we had made the right choice for Allana.  The staff smiled and greeted every person that walked on campus.  Even the principal smiled as he welcomed back students and shook the hands of several parents.  Her new teacher happily greeted each student and parent that walked through the door and didn’t seem to bat an eye that several parents stayed for a few minutes to help settle their kids into the class.



But when I picked up Allana from school that afternoon, I definitely knew we made the right choice.  As soon as she hopped into the car, Allana shouted, “This was the best school day EVER!”  She proceeded to tell me every detail about her day, which included real recess, a new best friend and “getting to know you necklace” that she made in Math.


I couldn’t be happier.  I know Allana certainly is excited about school again.



  1. morethananelectrician says:

    You must know how important a topic this is for me and I am very happy for all of you. Isn’t it amazing to see a child…especially your child…in a situation to succeed rather than in an environment set up to fail!!!!


  2. Tiffany says:

    Wow! I could have written that exact posting one year ago (albeit less eloquently)! That was exactly how I was feeling. I am so glad that Allana is off to a great start. I certainly hope that this will encourage other parents who have children that have lost their enthusiasm for school to seek a change–whether a new school or demanding change in their current school.

    Most importantly: Allana looks so adorable in her first day of school picture!!!!

  3. lindsay says:

    i’m glad you found the other school and that she was able to get in! sounds like a much better environment. it’s so crazy how downhill the education system has gone.

  4. RunningBetty says:

    how wonderful! I am very happy with our girls’ school. Once I was giving a prospective parent a tour of the elementary school and she commented that all the kids seemed happy and eager to learn in every classroom we visited. It never occurred to me that it would be any other way in other schools. You reinforced our choice with this post, even though that was not your intention. Thanks! Isn’t it great when your child comes home with a SUPER HUGE smile? :)!!!

  5. Sarah Brown says:

    I’m really glad that the new school is a perfect fit, but I’m hoping that ‘other school’ gets their act together before mine goes there next year!

  6. Lollipops and Lip Gloss says:

    I love the elem school my kids go to. However, one kiddo had the misfortune of having for a K teach someone on her way to retirement. It was a tough year. The only time I saw her smile was when she talked about retirement! The next year, she got a preg teach. Nothing against that… but the teacher was NOT thinking about the kids. When she returned after the baby… oh my… I don’t think my daughter learned anything, except negative behaviors! (that teacher is now a stay at home mom…) My kiddo FINALLY got a good teacher. She liked school for the first time ever! AND her behavior improved immensely! So far this year, she LOVES school again! That makes for one happy mama!

    I’m so glad you found what works for your daughter! Hopefully that other school will turn around soon!

  7. Elaine says:

    So glad to hear that you found a better school for her. That first place sounds awful!! And the smile on her face shows how happy she is there. So wonderful!!

  8. Life with Kaishon says:

    I am so with you on this. I feel so similiar to how you feel about Kaishon’s school. He is getting older now though and does not want to leave his friends. It breaks my heart though to see him discouraged and not in love with school. I am saddened by the education changes that are occuring in public schools!

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