There is a DCPS middle school fair next weekend. Since the oldest girl started fourth grade I’ve been seriously investigating which middle school she’ll attend. The decision still hasn’t been made and I’m grateful for the fair. So far there are only three contenders (in no particular order): Hardy, Hobson, and Deal.
Admittedly, Deal isn’t “really” on the list. I just like the school because it has foreign language and music programs. It’s so far away, though, that I can’t imagine how she’d get there every day. Hardy is nearly in the same boat because she’d have to catch the bus, alone (gasp! Yes, I was using Metro by 10, alone, but 2011 is way different from, well, whatever year that I was 10). And of course, that opens up the need for the dreaded (and coveted by her) cell phone. One good thing about Hardy, though, is that it requires only one bus and the stop is practically at the front door. One bad thing about Hardy is its principal being inexplicably stretched between two under-performing schools, an increasingly negative student/parent/teacher climate, and the administration’s reluctance to actually make sense in its management of the school. Hmmm seems like I just made a decision on that one. And then there’s Hobson. Easiest and quickest to get to travel-wise, it boasts a music program as well, but its drawback: no uniforms. Compared to the trek for Deal and the climate at Hardy, looks like Hobson is it (unless we’re wowed by some school we haven’t considered (more on Sousa and the unlikelihood of any surprises a few paragraphs down)).
When she first started kindergarten, I was vehemently against uniforms. My child deserved her individuality! Besides, the uniform colors were ugly (green plaid bottom and yellow top) and the shirts had virtually no range in style (most white uniform shirts come in a variety of styles, but yellow typically doesn’t). With a new principal came the decision to switch the uniforms to navy and yellow. This worked better but still, the yellow is daunting. Oh, how quickly I changed my stance. Uniforms were just easier. Vary the navy bottom, vary the navy dress or skirt, always stay on the lookout for yellow shirts that weren’t necessarily “uniform” shirts but at least yellow, and we were set. She, however, by third grade, detested the cotton yellow uniform shirts. Her arms would sag. Her head would be hung low. She was apparently mentally allergic to yellow, three button, Peter Pan collared, cotton uniform shirts.
Lately, though, as I took her around with me to search out nontraditional uniform yet yellow shirts, she noticed how few there are. She is more inclined to wear the dreaded cotton shirts perhaps two days a week now. I stay on the lookout for any shirt remotely yellow.
DCPS operates a lottery system for enrollment in out of boundary schools (each student is guaranteed a spot in his or her neighborhood school). For us, that’d be Sousa. For us, that ain’t hapnin’. Sousa has a reputation for bullies, fights, low test scores, and its neighborhood can be considered unsafe (as I imagine any neighborhood in even the “best” parts of the city could be labeled if one were to go more than five or so blocks in the wrong direction). Though it was recently refurbished, Sousa is simply not an option. I hate to sound like I’m saying she’s too good for the school, but, well…
So, I’ll let you know how the fair goes, whether Hobson is what we’ll shoot for with the lottery or, if by some little known form of magic, we are swayed by another.