Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 3...time for a crisis...or, you know, TWO...

So, for the 2014-15 School Year, Week One, "Hump Day" turned out to be kind of a biggie.

First, I noticed that Riley had forgotten to assemble...or take...his lunch. He'd gotten up 10 minutes late, due to the alarm on his phone not going off, so he was rushed and all out of sorts. Thus I added "drop off Riley's lunch bag at the front office by 11" to my agenda for the day.

But perhaps most importantly, Derek and I were both pretty stressed out and worried about getting his schedule snafu fixed ASAP, so he could relax and settle into his high school routine. Also, the bright green paper he brought home from the Guidance Department declared in stern capital letters that if you wanted to make a change after August 27th (um...that would be "today"...) it would require some kind of Major Conference--including the student, parent, teacher, counselor, and I believe even an administrator. Jeesh! I was not keen to jump through fiery hoops for this process, so it needed to get, NOW.

Therefore I emailed his specific assigned counselor last night, and left a message at 8 a.m. this morning (before she had even arrived on campus, apparently). Then I carried my phone around with me all morning as I grocery shopped, went to the library...delivered Riley's food...eagerly awaiting a return call...which never came. However, since my planned travels would take me near the school anyway, I decided to just stop by. I figured all I really needed was about 2 minutes with his advisor, so I could relay our tale of woe, ask her a few pertinent questions, and thereby ensure we made the right choices this time.

In preparation, Derek and I had spent time together last night scanning the online catalog of elective options, and had found one that was somewhat appealing (Graphic Design). our explorations we also stumbled upon the Holy Grail of possibilities, one which could rescue a swamped Freshman from drowning...I'm talking of course about that most marvelous of courses...Study Hall. And get this: it even clearly states in italics underneath the title: "Encouraged for 9th Graders". Well, hellllooooo! If someone had only uttered those four little, helpful words to us at any point in this endeavor, none of the rest of this...foolishness...would have ensued!

Then of course there remained the other little issue, regarding Honors Spanish. By checking the website after Derek left for school, I discovered that there IS no "Ordinary Spanish" level. My best guess is that, since students are only required to take 2 years of a language, anything beyond that is automatically considered "advanced". As Derek's...well..."Home-based Academic Consultant" I'd already encouraged him to speak with his teacher today--describe his background in middle school Spanish, share his concerns, and ask her opinion of his chances for success in her course.

Oh-kaaaay...armed with all of this information, and motivated to get this sucker D-O-N-E, I marched into the school and up to the Guidance Department. My forward progress was then abruptly and completely a veritable gauntlet of parent volunteers...effectively blocking the door, and presumably protecting the counselors within from just such a...Mom-on-the-Rampage I obviously presented. One of them saw my distinctive grass-colored flyer and smiled cheerfully while indicating a cardboard box on the table in front of her, "Oh, just drop that right here!" I hated to disappoint her--she looked so pleased to be of assistance--but I had to smile and launch into my spiel about needing to talk to someone before turning in the form, hitting the "we just moved here and don't really know what we're doing" angle pretty hard. Initially her face fell, as she realized I might be more trouble than she was prepared to deal with, but as she listened her expression grew sympathetic. When I wrapped up my story, the Three Musketeers--um, "Parental Aides" shared a conspiratorial look before one of them whispered to me, "Go ahead on in. Miss Donna at the desk will probably bark at you, but she'll be able to help."

And you know what? Miss Donna did NOT, in fact, give me a hard time. She alleviated my concerns about Spanish. ("Did he do well in middle school 1 and 2? Then he'll probably be fine.") She also assured me that yes, in fact many 9th graders do sign up for a study period--therefore we don't even need to manufacture a valid excuse in order to switch him over to that. When I texted Derek to let him know the favorable outcome, he informed me that he had chatted with his Spanish teacher as well. She pretty much told him that she speaks enough English to keep everyone on top of things, that she'd help him whenever necessary, and that she agreed he should be okay. Phew!

Getting all THAT cleared up took a large chunk of my day....but also a huge weight of concern off our (collective) shoulders. Then to improve matters even further, when Derek arrived home, he reported that he'd introduced himself to the Bus Stop Boys (as they shall now and forevermore be known) and then later joined them for lunch in their preferred spot (the amphitheatre outside, where evidently many Freshmen dine least while the weather's nice, I presume...). Furthermore, one of them lives...directly across the street from us...and also has a 7th-grade brother. Yessss! Just what we've been seeking: a Neighborhood Posse! Before dinner, Derek and Riley both went over to their new friends' house to play, and returned with tales of Nerf battles and basketball games and...general Fun Boy Stuff.

With a fairly wacky Wednesday behind us, I sincerely hope the rest of the pre-Labor-day week is calm...smooth...predictable...even (dare I say it?) HO-HUM! (Is that too much to ask? Fingers crossed...)

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