Thursday, July 24, 2008

Assistant Superintendent has her job cut out for her

Had another encounter with the BRRSD. This time it was an e-mail exchange with Cheryl Dyer, the Assistant Superintendent.

She has consistently shown an interest in improving the educational quality of Bridgewater Raritan schools and knows that it will take a lot of work.

It seems she would rather have the teachers better trained to help a broader contingent of kids in the classroom. I am concerned that her plans are unrealistic.

But she has a head on her shoulders, knows her stuff and really has sold me on her hopes to improve the district.

Let's see what she can do!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The easiest is often the best solution

I met with C's Principal today. She will move into the next school this fall and this was my first encounter with the school. Although, Mr. D. couldn't wave a magic wand and get her into the coveted e-program (nor did I request that), he took time to read her report card, look at her test scores and acknowledge that she needs extra challenge. For the first time since we have been in Bridgewater, I have felt like the Principal has taken me seriously. It's about time!

He promised to place her with an appropriate teacher. He also admitted that she seems bright enough to manage in E.

Nice guy! Productive meeting. Helpful response.

Why can't the administration of BRRSD and the BOE be as open to helping kids? Why does it always take a fight to get any attention? Why is it so hard to get into these programs? Again: why is it so elitist here in Bridgewater?

I bet it is easier to get into one of the ivy league colleges than the gifted programs in Bridgewater! (Just googled it, and indeed the acceptance rates ARE higher at the top schools than our prestigious excellerated math/language arts programs) !

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5 year anniversary - Let's celebrate with a blog!

Five years ago this week we moved to Bridgewater, NJ from abroad. "We" are my husband T, my 10 year old daughter C and my 7 year old son N. My "real" initial is E - L for short.

T and I chose this town over several others in the area based on its reputation for great schools and relatively low property taxes.

After 5 years I am not sure we made the right decision.

Tonight, in my inaugural blog, I will whinge about one aspect of the schools. My children attend the Bridgewater Raritan Regional School District (BRRSD) and while they have been happy for the most part, BRRSD consistently disappoints and frustrates me, providing fodder for future blogs!

I begin my blogging career by questioning the BRRSD e-program.

Why is it so hard to get into the academically advanced programs in Bridgewater? Why can't they ease the restrictions and let more kids in, try it out, then drop down if they don't perform well enough? Why does it have to be so elitist? What will the consequences be for kids who don't make it? Is my daughter really locked out from making high school honors classes by her IOWA scores of today?

"You've gotta put her in Kumon!" My neighbor tells me. "It's the only way." I sigh into the phone. She finishes with the words I know are coming, "that, or private school."

I think to myself: Is it too much to ask that kids learn what they need in the schools, without supplemental private programs? Do I really have to fork over a fortune in private tutoring to get an appropriate education? And if she isn't gifted enough for this e-program, can't she get adequate challenge from the classroom?

I am talking about 10 year olds. Not just my daughter, but her very bright friends. None of her friends got into both e-math and e-language arts. And if SJ can't get into the e- language arts program... I don't know a child who deserves it more! According to my daughter, NR should have made the math program with one pencil tied behind her back.

Alas, children are learning the tough lessons of life early. At least my daughter also sees that you can go to the board of ed meetings to voice your opinion. Sometimes I feel better after speaking at the podium. Other times not.

Tonight was a let down. I think they thought I was a whining parent complaining about her kid not getting in to a program. I was trying to complain about the system as a whole and how many bright kids got left out. How we already have a "gifted and talented program" called the AI (academically independent program). Most of the BOE members' kids are in that program. So it makes it nearly impossible for them to understand how us "slobs" have it.

So now I can cyber-complain - maybe it will get me farther? Even if it only makes me feel better, it accomplishes something.

Just what the world needed - another cybermouth!