Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The School Choice Conundrum

School choice has been on my mind since Millie was an infant.  We're lucky to live in a city that has over 50 elementary schools to choose from!  When the time was right, we narrowed our choice down to 13 schools, toured them, researched them, and finally decided on Highland Park Elementary (HPE).  It was the only school we wanted Millie to attend, because we thought it was well run, had great technology, and did fundraising so the kids could have "extras".  All in all the school has been great.  Her Kindergarten teacher was above and beyond fantastic, and her 1st grade teacher is really good too. 
Well, here we are, back in the position of choosing a school for Millie.  The district has ended its school choice, in a way.  They have decided that the children can get just as good of an education at  their neighborhood schools, as they can at any other school in the city.  Therefore, they have eliminated a great deal of their bussing, in an effort to cut expenses.  Now, if we lived two blocks over, this wouldn't be an issue.  Unfortunately, because the "bussing lines" were drawn by zip code, not by neighborhood, we are no longer eligible for bussing to HPE.  The neighborhood that we have been redistricted to is completely out of the question, we'd never send our kids there. 
Sooooooo, here are our choices:
1) Send her to HPE and drive her every day.  This option seems OK, but goes against our family values.  We've been a 1 car family since 4 months after we moved to Downtown.  We like it a lot, and had no plans to add an additional car to our family.  If we went this route, it would mean that in two years, my schedule would look like this:  8:45 Drop Millie off at school, 9:00 Drop Elise off at preschool, 11:00 leave to pick Elise up from preschool, feed Elise, give her part of a nap, 3:15 pick Millie up from school.  I'd live in the car.  This option is very low on my list.
2)  Homeschool her.  After doing a LOT of research, this option is very appealing.  I'd be able to teach her at her own pace, and encourage her interests (biology, science, etc).  This option is at the top of my list
3)  Homeschool her for 2nd grade, and try to get her into Nova Classical Academy for 3rd grade if it doesn't work out.  The fallback plan (however, bussing might get cut for this type of school in the near future as well, making it low on my list).

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