Monday, April 11, 2011

The Kindergarten Chronicles - Part 1

The Fall of 2010 was a more innocent time.

I took Liana with me to my polling station to vote, and as we walked through the Renaissance School, I stated that Liana might go to school there when she was big. Big, as in kindergarten. It seemed a lifetime away.

I had always imagined sending my child to the Renaissance School. A few short blocks from home and work, leaders in progressive education, they have been integrated into the fabric of the community for more than a decade. They have a pretty diverse student population (20% white, 20% black, 42% Hispanic, 18% Asian), and their students can be seen on youtube doing interesting theater projects or having huge meetings in which students and teachers together work to set the school’s agenda in face of budget cuts .
They offer a strong K-12 liberal arts education, with emphasis on project based learning rather than test preparation. They have linkages with National Geographic, a rooftop greenhouse, Spanish and Mandarin instruction, strong parent involvement.

Of course any child of mine would attend the Renaissance School.

Then reality set in.

The top of the admissions page on their website states that 1,495 students applied for last year’s 40 lottery openings. Go ahead and read those numbers again. Do the calculations in your head. Within weeks of the innocent trip with Liana to my polling station at the Renaissance School, reality set in. And the frenzied kindergarten application process had begun.