21 May 2014

Thank you....

A Big Thank You

Today I am taking cookies up to the front desk of the high school.

I think the school has been one of my favorite parts of our stay here. The front desk ladies are amazing. The principal actually knows me! (And not because of discipline issues, but just because we are new.) 
The girls and I have been made to feel welcome from the very first day they enrolled. The differences between the school here and the school in Texas are many, many. Some things are better, many are the same, some are probably worse. 

But overall, no regrets. None.

Good ol' Toll House cookies.
High Altitude version.
Yum.

The girls have LOVED the four day school week.
Bunny has been researching schools in Texas that offer four day school weeks. Guess what!? There is only one! And it is nowhere near where we live! Our Lady of the Hills Catholic High School in Kerrville, Texas fits the bill. Unfortunately we aren't Catholic, we live nowhere near Kerrville and Bunny doesn't get to go to private school.  Five day school week for that girl next year. 

Salida has small classes. Small school. Only about 300 kids. So many things are possible when the school is not tasked with crowd control.  

The teachers know everyone. The principal knows everyone. Teachers that don't actually teach my girls know them as "the Texans".
(Hell! Half the people in town know the Texans. I was getting my windshield repaired and the repair guy knew the Texans AND who they were dating. Because the girls are both dating local boys, people know of my girls. I'm always getting told what nice families these boys are from.)
Having always lived in a big city, this is just endlessly amusing. 

But my favorite part of the school has been the flexibility and sensibility. 

If the girls are sick or even just going to be traveling, I call the front desk, they make a note and Voila! it's taken care of. I don't have to send a doctor's note or lie that they were ill when they weren't or explain anything.  Amazingly I am considered the parent and therefore capable of deciding what constitutes a reason for my girls to miss school.  The school still has a maximum number of days a kid can miss each semester-just like Texas-but I have yet to be threatened because the girls have been absent.

This is so unlike Texas that I just can't explain.  Last year when Bunny was very sick, she missed many, many days of school.   Her absences were all documented. She had doctor's note after doctor's note. We still received a letter from the school district saying we were subject to prosecution and a fine because we were not getting Miss Bunny to school on a regular basis. (You can read about that ordeal here and here and here.)

Contrast that with Bunny texting me last month saying she was having a horrible day and she just really wanted to come home. She'd had a fight with the friend boy, she wasn't feeling well and it was just a no-good day. I called the front desk and mentioned she was having a bad day and wanted to come home and maybe there was a little drama going on. I was met with concern and advised that she had missed a lot of her last two classes but she hadn't missed too many of the mid day classes, so if she wanted to leave for a bit to recoup, that was fine as long as she came back for her last classes. "Just have her stop by the front desk".  
Common sense.
Compassion.
It can be hard being a teenager.

Academically a few of the classes have not measured up to what they would have been taught in Texas. Overall I think the classes in Colorado have emphasized more hands on projects, more group projects and more real world applications. Maybe school wasn't as hard, maybe it was just taught differently. There was one week of standardized testing. I believe last year in Texas the girls had three weeks. But overall they learned what they needed to. Bunny will do fine next year. Belle will graduate and go to college.
The experience over all outweighs any educational deficiencies.

But the main reason those cookies are headed up to the front office? 

When Belle was in middle school in Texas, I volunteered every Monday for three years at the front desk. The principal would come by often and occasionally we would interact.
But.
That principal did not know my name. He did not know my daughter. He could not have put my face with my daughter's or even connect our names. And yes, I did introduce myself to him.

The first month of school here in Colorado I was leaving a restaurant and passed by the principal. I had met her one time. She stopped me and asked how the girls were adjusting to the new school.
What? She recognized me even though we weren't in a school setting.
Amazing. 

Those cookies are well deserved. 

I will miss Salida High School. 

Salida Spartans State Champion Cheerleaders-
Homecoming Parade



For some background on just why we are in Colorado rather than Texas click here and here and here.

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