I would like to think that if Dante wrote The Inferno today there would be a special circle of hell just for Kindergarten admissions in NYC. And within that level there would be a VIP room for those of us with twins. When I explain the process to friends and family living outside of NYC they look at me like I have 5 heads. There were times during the process when I felt like I had five heads. Between both of my daughters they took four IQ tests, for both private and public schools, a “School Readiness Assessment” for more public schools, went on four private school interview/play-dates, and 2 second round playdates at the specialized public schools. We also entered 2 public school lotteries for the schools within our district that we were not zoned for. Did I mention that my daughters were 4 years old at the time?
In the end we ended up at the out of zone public school that we most wanted from the beginning. Ironically enough, it is an all gen-ed school meaning that they do not separate out or track the students based on scores. So, after all that testing what we realized was that we didn’t want our daughters at a school where they would be segregated based on their scores. Whether we feel this way later on in our daughters’ education life I don’t know. But, for now, we like the “all one family” vibe at our public school.
Now that my daughters’ kindergarten years are coming to an end, I realize that the entire admissions process was like planning a wedding. It is so easy to get caught up in the insanity of the planning, the competition, the scary statistics and rumors swirling around that you lose sight of the end result. In the case of a wedding you forget that what’s really important is the marriage after, and in the case of admissions its all about the schooling your child will receive. No matter how much you may have your heart set on one school or another you really have no idea if will be right for your child until you are in the thick of it.
And – take a deep breath here – if it doesn’t work out, you will move your kid. Yes, its a pain. Yes, there will be some transitioning and rough spots. But, that is part of education too. Not everything works out as we picture it and learning to adjust and shift our expectations isn’t the worst thing in the world. This year I’ve had the distinct opportunity to compare two very different teachers within the same grade, in the same school. Having twins gives you this special eye into things. I can tell you that I am not happy to have the comparison because one of the classes is so much stronger than the other. Have I lost faith in the school? No. Will I give it one more year? Yes. And then if it doesn’t work out, if the school I fell in love with was not the right place for one of my daughters, I may sign up all over again to ride on the admissions the roller coaster. I can feel another head sprouting already…
Original post to New York City Moms Blog.