Friday, October 27, 2017

On Resiliency and Peace: Our Second First Day of the School Year

I have been unsettled in the past year since we've relocated to Boston because my children have not been settled, but yesterday that changed.

Yesterday my 7 year old daughter Virginia, "Nia," started at her 6th school.

How did this happen? We started our family in Harlem and left there for Jersey City where there was universal pre-k. Nia started at Pre-K 3 then followed the universal pre-K program to a new school but right before she started we found out we were moving to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for Mr. Lovebird's job. Since there wasn't universal pre-k there, she started at a private pre-k then began at the public Kindergarten (a glorious 5 minute walk from our home) once she turned 5. From there Mr. Lovebird's company relocated us to Boston last September and since we were so late in the game for public school rather than rushing into the system, we took advice from friends and enrolled her in a private school with the plan to enter the Boston Public School system this school  year. This process started this past spring and while she was assigned to a school near us it was a school that we believe wouldn't be a good fit for her so she was placed on a waiting list for another school near us. 

Meanwhile she and Grayson started at her same school she was at this past year letting her know she may leave for her new school up until the November 30 deadline for waitlisted students. 

Knowing this was looming over our heads made me a bit nervous, but I didn't let it hold me or the children back from fully immersing themselves in their school. It's been a good start to the school year so when we got the call this week that she was off the waiting list it was bittersweet. 

We helped Grayson explain what was happening and he protested a bit but so far has been fine. What makes it easier is that Nia gets to come with me for drop off and pick up at her old school which allows her to see her buddies. 

Nia complained of the extended day and uniforms at her old school constantly so we were surprised when she burst out in tears with the news of her transfer, but she's now realizing the benefits and academically we're confident in the experience she'll have based on feedback from families we know at her new school.

Sending Nia to 6 schools was never something I'd think of as a good thing until I started to see how she's managed it over the years. She's become adept at jumping into unknown situations, maintaining relationships with old friends and making new friends. These are skills I know will take her far.

She will be able to stay at her current school through 8th grade and if sibling preference comes through next fall Grayson will be able to join her for the K1 (what Boston calls pre-K 4). 

When Nia returned home from her first day yesterday she was at ease, smiling. She told me, "All the kids in my class are my friends!" and her teacher called me and Mr. Lovebird confirming that Nia had a stellar first day jumping right to participate in an assembly in front of the school and helping her classmates with spelling. She received the highest average of her first grade class last academic year and while I didn't tout this to the new school, I'm sure it will be soon apparent just how much of a hard worker and great classmate/student that my Virginia is.

I'm so proud of her, thankful to be on the path to getting being 100% settled here in Boston at last.

Have you transitioned your kids to multiple schools or went through that yourself as a child? How do you think it shaped you?