Meet the Principal

The public school where Ane might go is located only a few miles from our house. But neither the Webmaster or I had ever been there before. So yesterday, we pulled into the parking lot for the first time to check out the school and have a meeting with the principal.

She is a very nice lady who greeted us and sat us down in a conference room, and then we began to discuss the kindergarten program, the class structure, and Ane herself. I even tossed some questions about Tad in for good measure, because he may end up there eventually. We simply don’t know at this point.

We liked the answers we heard, and we had plenty of questions to ask. The kindergarten classes had been on a field trip to a children’s theater that morning, so the half-day class was empty (the afternoon class having come in early for the field trip, and then left early as well), but the two full-day classes were in full swing. We got to walk through the classrooms, see the principal greet the kids (and see them greet her back) and meet the teachers. We actually had a nice chat with the half-day teacher, who I liked quite a bit. The one thing that really stunned me was how young the kindergarten teachers were. They were all younger than I am, probably only in their mid-twenties. Contrast that with the private school, where both kindergarten teachers were much older. In fact, they were both old enough to be my mother. Granted, my mother is quite young for a grandma of six (soon to be seven in June – Belle and Berry will be getting a new baby sister), but still. The age difference was striking.

There are pros and cons to young teachers. But, there are also pros and cons to older teachers. It’s really a matter of preference. We did ask if the kindergarten teachers who are there now will be there next fall, and were told by the principal that as far as she knew, yes.

After our tour, we sat back down for a couple more questions and to wrap up our little meeting. But before it was all over, the Webmaster mentioned something about the elementary school that he’d attended.

“Where?” the principal asked.

“Lewis County,” the Webmaster said, and named the school district – which is also the name of the town that he grew up in.

The principal’s jaw dropped. “You are lying to me.”

The Webmaster and I exchanged looks. “No,” I said, “that’s where he’s from.”

“Who are your parents?” the principal asked.

The Webmaster gave his parents’ names, but also added that his mother had been raised in the same small town and what her maiden name was.

The principal doubled over, her head in her hands, shaking with laughter.

I looked from her to the Webmaster. “You two are related, aren’t you,” I said.

The principal, head still in hands, nodded.

She’s a third cousin of the Webmaster. Her great-grandfather and his great-grandmother were brother and sister.

While I was laughing so hard that my face hurt, the principal chewed the Webmaster out for never coming to the family reunion picnic that’s held every summer. “You don’t have to send your daughter here, but you HAVE to go to the reunion picnic!” she scolded. She then dashed out to grab her cell phone so she could call her mother. “You’ll never believe who I have sitting in front of me,” she told her mother.

But it gets better. The principal’s mother and her husband bought the Webmaster’s parents’ old house almost five years ago. The very house that the Webmaster grew up in. My sides were starting to hurt from all the laughing.

As we finished up our meeting, the principal followed us out to the office, and told the secretary and the office manager, “Do you see this couple who came in for a conference?” She pointed to the Webmaster. “He’s my cousin.”

“Did you know that before they came in?” the secretary asked.

“No!” the principal laughed.

“We wondered what all the laughing was about back there,” the office manager commented.

As we left, the Webmaster put in a call to his parents. But the phone was busy. He finally got a hold of Papa on his cell phone, but the land line was busy because the principal’s mother, as soon as she’d hung up with the principal, had called Nana and Papa to tell them what had just happened.

We completed a phone loop in less than 30 minutes. It was a riot. I’m still laughing over it all.

Trust me when I say that when it comes to Ane and kindergarten, we now have a LOT more to think about. And we need to make this decision very soon. If you’ve got any comments or opinions, we could sure use them right about now.

6 Responses to “Meet the Principal”

  1. Secha
    February 6th, 2009 06:37

    Most of my closer friends growing up went to private catholic high schools. I went to a public school, and had few friends in the public school. (dancing 5 nights a week does that to you >.<) In all honesty, the *only* difference between our educations that *I* see? The kids who went to public school has a little more street sense than the kids in the private school. And all schools, and all systems are different, so where you are might be completly different than here. But the public schools gave just as good of an education as the private schools (we were always on the same page lesson wise) and I honestly think you learn more… personality wise, I suppose, from public schools than you do from private schools. Most kids in private schools tend to be rather stuck up if you’re not from their same “circle.” Especially towards other kids in the same private school, if they weren’t of the same social or financial status, I suppose.

    But, as I said, I nkow every school system is different, and especially with us being on opposite ends of the country, your experience could be completly different than here.

  2. Ressis
    February 6th, 2009 07:27

    Ane’s the kind of kid who will thrive in any educational situation. “Timid” has never been a word used to describe her. So while I agree with Secha that private school kids can be very naive and sheltered from the real world, I know Ane is at no risk for that.

    I know I’m very pro-private school, due to the parental involvement with curriculum, class size, and environmental control. But after talking with you and thinking it over, I think your local public school might be the way to go for Ane. You do live in a very good school district. Your specific elementary school has very good goals set down for specific grades and I like that fact that they are introducing more sciences at the junior high’s request. I think as long as Ane has family and friends praying for her and her teacher, which she does, she and the teacher will be alright. I think she’ll always do better with a teacher who understands how her mind works, so we’ll pray for the teacher to have patience.

    I’ve accepted the fact that no school is going to be exactly what I want it to be and what I want it to put emphasis on for my kids. So nowadays it becomes necessary for parents to supplement their children’s educations (with forgotten or neglected subjects like grammar, geography, or penmanship). Be prepared to do that for Ane too.

    I hope this is helpful.

  3. Aunt Lynda
    February 6th, 2009 09:40

    It never hurts to have someone at school who knows you and is on your side. And if it’s the principal, so much the better!
    While my kids were in school I was working there, so I had ready access to teachers and knew what was going on. And with nieces and nephews also.
    If you choose public school, plan on being involved so you won’t be in the dark. And they will be just fine.

  4. Cousin Shelley
    February 6th, 2009 16:36

    Oh, you have to send her there now! Aren’t small towns great? 🙂

    Aunt Lynda is right. Derek does not go to his “home” school in Tacoma. I drive him to Lakewood with me everyday so that he can attend a school in the district where I am employed. That way, I know the staff & they know me…which also means they KNOW Derek. Having connections in the right places is a benefit.

  5. Nana
    February 6th, 2009 22:24

    Never know when you’re going to encounter a cousin! In this case, we too were laughing our heads off.

    Sounds like you have two excellent choices.

  6. Oddball
    February 8th, 2009 15:25

    I could say a lot about public schools, but if you want it I would rather talk on the phone or in person. By the way you think that is a weird connection (which it is) you need to visit the town where I grew up. In the 2000 census it showed that only 5 families make up 36% of the entire population (which is only just over 1900 then) that was a spooky.