School suffering on many accounts

I realize that posting has been sporadic and I’m still woefully behind. I’ve been so busy with writing deadlines and travel this winter and I am so so so relieved to be finally caught up. The problem is I am now barely functional with allergies. I don’t know what it is about spring and fall, but I am allergic to you, Denver.

Everything came to a head this week with our almost year-long battle with the administration at Hadley’s beloved charter school and I’m still fuming over the outcome. The Cliff Note’s version: Last summer, there was a coup as the governing council ousted the principal that I loved and a few of her greatest supporters went with her, including Hadley’s soon-to-be teacher. That principal was extremely qualified, had a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and founded a charter high school that is ranked No. 1 in Colorado and highly-ranked in the U.S. In her place, the governing council appointed an interim principal who comes from a preschool/kindergarten background with no real credentials.

Hadley’s class was placed with a new, inexperienced teacher who–though he’s very nice–has been completely overwhelmed and unable to contain her high-spirited class. More than half the parents have been meeting with the interim principal and governing council to voice our concerns for several months. Four parents have pulled their kids since January to homeschool,–that’s how bad it has gotten.

And the administration hasn’t cared one bit. It’s beyond the point of blaming the teacher  but the fault is with the administration for their lack of response and poor reaction to the many problems that plague that classroom.

Let’s face it–everyone has a weak teacher or a bad year in school. It’s fairly normal. Last year, Bode had the notoriously worst teacher in the school and we got through it. But here’s the difference: At Hadley’s Waldorf-inspired charter school, the teacher loops with the student, often for many years. So, our fight has not been to get him fired but to get him to stay back and fill an opening for next year’s fifth grade class now that he has finally figured out the curriculum.

It fell on deaf ears. The interim principal and governing council approved for him to loop with the class for sixth grade. We’ve endured one bad year, I refuse to submit her to three more with him. I put in a request to have her switched to the other sixth grade class but it is unlikely they will approve it. They’d rather have us unenroll her than endure the push-back we’ve given them for the unthinkable: ensuring our daughter is actually educated when she goes to school.

The thing that kills me is we’ll likely pull her from the school if she doesn’t get into the other class. She and her classmates have been together for several years–they’re growing up together and I’ve never seen a group of kids love each other more. I hate having to upset that but we’re at the point of no return. I’d unenroll her now but it would be out of my own anger and she is looking forward to so many things…they’ve been training all year for their Pentathlon with other schools, a class play and an end-of-year camping trip.

In other news, Hadley’s orchestra teacher has challenged her class that if they practice for 30 minutes per day for two weeks, he will reward the entire class with an ice cream party.

Because apparently he wants us all to suffer.

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