I'm of the mind set that ninety percent of the time it isn't luck, but instead being prepared for opportunity. This little story belongs to the other ten percent of the time - inexplicable, serendipitous, just plain good luck.
Carol Cooper, George's mom, first introduced the idea of Charter schools to me. Her motivation for sending her children was that all three were at the same school through eighth grade so she wasn't driving all over creation shuttling kids to different schools. Around this same time my friend Misty was applying to get her kids into a charter school and has since raved about the experience. So, I started looking into some options. The more I looked, the more I knew I wanted this for our kids. I liked the idea of a smaller school setting, going all the way through eighth grade and avoiding the middle school switch, plus the one George was going to attend seemed like a good school (good API scores, etc). The problem with charter schools is you don't just sign up. It really is based on luck. So almost a year ago, I put our name in the lottery, hoping for the best. In the Spring I found out we were #101 on the wait list. At this point I wrote off the idea, and not seeing any other options wrapped my head around the school across the street. Which is a great school - just not a charter school.
Fast forward to the end of July. Krissy called me on Saturday, July 26th to tell me that she her neighbor just told her that Oxford Prep Academy (a charter school that was trying to open a new campus in the North San Diego area for years) just got approval on July 23rd for an Oceanside location to open in September 2014, and that Monday July 28th was the only day you could enroll. Wooohoo! We canceled our Monday plans, asked G-Mom to watch the kiddos, and Krissy and I headed to the mandatory meeting Monday morning. Three + hours later I was emotionally drained. I knew that Oxford was a good school, but never in a million years could have dreamed of even thinking about some of things that were introduced to us at that meeting. Mandarin lessons beginning in Kindergarten. Chrome books in second grade. Travel to other countries. Music and instrument lessons. Another language beginning in fourth grade. Near perfect API scores. Teachers are referred to as professors. Instead of bells, college fight songs are played. The list went on and on. By the end of the meeting I not only wanted our kids to go to the school, I desperately wanted it. It was also the end of the meeting that we were told another school location was shutting down and all of those kids would have first priority at the Oceanside location. I filled out the paper work for Declan, but with a heavy heart. I didn't think he'd get in. They said they would call within two weeks to let us know - which would have put us at the Friday before Declan was to begin at the school across the street. That Friday came and went without a phone call. So any hope I had vanished. Thanks to Nathan and still being in that newborn haze, I had time to be disappointed for about two minutes before we switched gears and focused our attention/excitement on our neighborhood school. We started talking up Kindergarten and Monday morning for Declan. After all, we got the teacher we requested and the morning Kindergarten slot. And I loved the idea of walking him to school and the possibility of meeting some new friends who lived nearby.
Luckily, he loved school right off the bat. I'm talking the kid was beaming when I picked him up! It was such a great start it wasn't long before I completely forgot about Oxford. Then, on Wednesday we got the call. He was in! Isn't this just the way life goes? To be honest, I wasn't excited right away. We had such a great start in our neighborhood school that it took a few days to wrap my head around the switch. So we let Declan finish out the week while we deliberated and got a few questions answered.
By the weekend, Adam and I were both 100% sure it was the right decision to give Oxford a try. We broke the news to Declan last Saturday who was surprisingly ecstatic. I was so worried he'd be devastated because he loved school and Mrs. Carroll so much. But, he took the news in typical Declan fashion - happily. He was even more excited when we found out on Monday that both he and Lily will be in the same afternoon Kindergarten class!
So, on September 22nd (the school is starting a couple of weeks later than usual due to it being the first year), Declan and Lily will begin a new, exciting adventure together. In the meantime, I am relishing in an extended summer. It's allowing me to get in the swing of getting three kids ready for the day without having to rush out the door every morning! All of this Kindergarten craziness happened before Nathan was even two weeks old! Whirlwind is the only word that comes to mind. Thankfully, little kids are resilient and are pretty much excited about anything you covey with excitement. Declan is doing great and looking forward to starting Kindergarten (again) in about a month.
Kristin and I had planned to meet for frozen yogurt the Friday after Declan and Lily began school to celebrate the first week and compare Kindergarten stories. Little did we know when we made these plans we'd be discussing the awesome Oxford news!
Future OPA students!
Like I said, just plain lucky.