Back to School Night brought the whole family to the school building tonight. Coincidentally,the HBO show The Wire was filmed in their school building in central Baltimore. Since we have three kids we often have to be in two places at once. I’m still feeling pretty zonked from all the information each teacher provided. I worry most about our 2nd grader because her classroom does not have a teacher. From what I’ve been told, they are still trying to find a teacher but I’m not holding my breath since her teacher last year was never replaced. At the moment, they have two long term aides minding the class and then the reading, math, and English language arts intervention teachers fill in for instruction. The classroom doesn’t have quite the warm and organized feeling that the other classrooms have. They showed me some of the work that my daughter had been doing and she seems to be learning a lot. I believe they will be doing some testing this week that will group the kids into learning groups. Despite some of these concerns, I was very pleased to learn that my daughter will be formally placed into the Gifted and Advanced Learning (GAL) program. I have know idea what that means, but I think she will receive an individualized learning plan (ILP). She also receives special education services for speech so I hope that she is getting a well-rounded education despite the lack of a classroom teacher at the present time. On the other hand, my middle daughter has a phenomenal teacher for fourth grade. She is a lifelong educator who is passionate and experienced about teaching young people in Baltimore City. The classroom has a warm feeling and each child has responsibilities to keep the classroom running smoothly. There is even a class pet bird named Jafon. The biggest transition for us is the switch to middle school this year for our oldest daughter. She is in a different part of the building, which has a historic school house type vibe and interesting spaces and views to the city streets. I met the middle school science, math, social studies, and English teachers. I was very concerned because the math teacher complained that the co-teacher quit right before the start of the classroom and some of the needed supplies, like laptops and smart boards, are either not delivered yet or can’t be brought up because of the broken elevator. Again, all these things make me feel very nervous that I’m not providing the best education for my kids when I have other options. But they are very happy kids so we are trying to make it work. We finished off Back to School Night with a short walk across the street for dinner at the Guilford Brewery. We almost felt cool for a few minutes taking our family to the newly renovated spot in the artsy neighborhood surrounding the school. I suppose that is also part of the appeal of this unique school environment they, and us too, are a part of.
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