Mae was a lottery pick for a public talented and gifted (TAG) school. This is the school she tested into and for which she was wait-listed last year. It has a good reputation and I’ve heard nothing but good things about its gifted program. Hubby and I toured last week. The enrichment programs sound fun and challenging, and there is advanced, differentiated instruction within the classroom.
I am concerned, though, about the average class size for third grade. Twenty-five students per teacher with no assistant sounds like a lot of fish for Mae to swim with and then, I think, she was with 18-19 classmates for 1st and 2nd grade. What’s a few more kids?
I’m also concerned, of course, about the transition. When Hubby and I told her that she may be going to a new school in the fall, Mae said, in short, “no.” We told her it’ll be more challenging and she’s less likely to get bored. She has warmed up to the idea since we received the lottery results two weeks ago. She thinks 25 kids in a class is a good thing because, in her words, even if some kids don’t want to play with her, there are enough kids that it’s likely she’ll still have friends.
I asked Mae’s 1st grade teacher for her opinion on moving Mae from the small private school to a public school. She recommended a class size of 10, no more than 15. Well . . . . She also warned that new teachers often “get stuck” with the gifted classes because experienced teachers get worn out by high-maintenance, demanding parents. (I hope she shared that opinion with me because she doesn’t see me as such). During the school tour, we visited two of the three 3rd grade classrooms. The teachers were older, if not seasoned educators, at least mature in age, which is a relief.
I went to a PTO meeting at the TAG school also. There was a small group of committed parents voting for next year’s officers. I was impressed that there were folks happy, or at least willing, to take on the responsibility. At the last PTA meeting for the kids’ current school, it took some teeth-pulling and arm-wringing to get parents to accept nominations. (That’s not a judgment, just an observation. I didn’t volunteer for anything and declined a nomination. My new job is already spilling over into evenings and weekends, which I had not anticipated and I’m trying to get a handle on it.)
I introduced myself to the school principal after the PTO meeting. She seems like a nice lady, and the TAG Coordinator seems like he’ll be a pleasure to work with. Hubby is certain, and I’m also there, in thinking this is the right move for Mae. I want to give it a try so that we don’t wonder “what if.” The teachers’ and administrators’ demeanor and flexibility will determine if we stay.