The fair seemed to be well attended with a steady stream of people entering while we were there. We visited Hardy’s table first. They had students there to discuss a typical day and the culture at Hardy. We spoke with an assistant principal. The principal was there, yet off to the side, not engaging parents or students. She was aloof (to put it mildly; she appeared to want to be anyplace else). That was an immediate turn off. This should be a two way street. Schools should want to woo our daughter and her awesome parents as much as we wish and hope and pray that she actually gets a spot. She’s the student body president. She runs the school store. Her test scores are excellent. Her parents are engaged in the school. And although she dresses like a wannabe Pat Benatar, she’s a fucking prize. Act like it. Hardy has been relegated to third place.
We visited Deal’s table. Ah, Deal. My first choice. French, Chinese, Spanish. Fencing! Multiple other sports and extra curricular activities. Theatre. Music. I get goosebumps at all it can expose her to. She deserves it. Do you hear me, Deal Middle School? My child deserves to be exposed to challenging classes, more races, different backgrounds, new ideas, greater opportunities. They, like most DC public schools, did not make AYP last year. The administrator explained that it was because of their special education population. Understandable. Then he said it was also in part to the economically disadvantaged students. Um, what? Poor equals stupid? I don’t like you anymore, sir, please stop speaking now.
And then there’s Hobson. The guy we spoke with was engaging, speaking directly to the girl like he wanted her to come to the school. He highlighted the school’s history, its mission, a typical day. When we realized he was the actual principal…smiles all around. It’s a wonderful school. So, we’d be glad to be accepted to Hobson. But equally as excited as Deal? I don’t think so (at least not for me; daddy is enthused at the music program at Hobson. Nuff said).
Why am I so determined for Deal? I think it is due in part to how much I enjoyed middle school. If I can give her a similarly happy experience and make it more academically enriching and rewarding at the same time, why not? In comparison to Hobson, Deal is more affluent (in my opinion; not all would agree, I’m sure). But, I don’t want to fall into the murky waters of trying to hobnob with people just because they live in upper NW or just because they’re well-to-do Capitol Hillers. Their kids could be the ones sniffing glue or popping pills, regardless of their “status.” I want my Southeast baby to be well rounded, but at what cost?
So, I think I will take a step back, attend the open houses and tours, get a feel for the schools with life in it, the hustle and bustle of tweens. We will still apply to all three and see how it pans out. But putting academics above all else, Deal wins hands down. I just want to choose it for the right reasons.