Friday, September 29, 2006

Wow, I've let way too much time pass without posting, so I'm going to spew some basic diary-type journal writing, even though it's not what I really mean to be about in this blog.

I haven't been posting because I've been really busy, and the good news is, I've been busy with positive things. At work I got to hire a WONDERFUL new employee to help with Business Development. His name is Matt, he is fresh out of college, and he's smart, enthusiastic, level headed, handsome and full of potential. I have been blown away by how quickly he is learning and by his great attitude and how much fun he is to have around! He keeps saying, any time I mention his age, "Yeah, but I'm an OLD 22," and strangely enough, he's kind of right. Old in good ways, while still young in the best ways of that, too.

And I have had this incredible onslaught of positive attitude myself at work. I can't remember whether I whined about it here, but as a company we ran really desperately short staffed almost all spring and summer. There were times it was a miracle we could keep the key functions covered to keep the doors open. But now we've finally hired for a bunch of those positions, so in about two weeks time we have added five or six new people. In a company with only 30 employees, that's a lot of new blood! So I have just been struck by what a great opportunity this is for us to turn the tide of attitude overall. If we just treat these people right and fill their heads with positive thoughts, they constitute a large enough group to set a new tone for the place. I believe it and I'm going to keep pounding on it, so I sure hope I'm right!

Here's another positive note. Today my son, Sam, was off school, so I took the day off and we went to visit our local high school and the district's alternative high school. Because he has been in this Montessori School that draws from all over our county and beyond, that jump into high school becomes a big hairy deal. These kids' established social network scatters to the four winds and each kid must seek out the high school that best suits his or her needs on his or her own. So we have identified five prospective schools -- these two public schools in our district, two Catholic schools, and one magnet math/science/technology school that serves the entire county. Sam is only in 7th grade, so we don't need to make a decision until spring of 2008, but I thought it would be wise to start our visits this year to give us all time to reflect upon what we see.

We really liked both the schools we visited today. They were very different. We visited the alternative school first. It's very small and very informal. The kdis call the teachers by their first names. The kids hold "town meetings" where they make lots of decisions about the school that would be administration decisions anywhere else. They hold "fairness meetings" where breaches of rules are discussed and punishments determined. With approvals, they are allowed to decorate their lockers or paint murals on the walls. During their non-scheduled times they can study or they can sit and play guitar if they want. Very democratic, very much each kid responsible for his/her own behavior and performance and success. I think the whole school accomodates 350 students. It really matches up with Sam's temperament in many ways.

Then we visited his assigned high school, and it was wonderful in different ways. There are 1,700 students there, but starting this year they break the incoming freshman class into "teams" and you work with that same team with the same teacher advisors throughout, so as to creat a small learning community in that big school. They have top notch science labs and theatres and music facilities and gyms and all that. They also offer a wide array of AP courses that appeal to him.

The way the alternative school works is that you are still enrolled in the home high school, so he could theoretically enjoy a lot of its advantages while still being primarily a part of the other. We go on open houses to the other three schools under consideration in coming months, so we will see how they compare. But I was blown away with what positive choices our public district had to offer!

There, I've rambled a while and at least there is a current date showing here now. Perhaps I can add more soon.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Man, if I just would have hung out for another three years, I could have actually worked with a hot guy!!! heh heh. Sounds like a lot of great and needed changes are happening. I can't believe Sam will be in high school soon.