Friday, March 26, 2010

Welcome to the Blue School

There is big news this week, which we are proud to share with you all:

Congratulations to Cadence on being accepted into the Blue School!

This is wonderful news, and we are so proud of our little lady. She was chosen from a pool of (I believe) 300+ applicants this year, all competing for somewhere between 20 - 40 spots. This is big, since it means that Cadie's school career will begin this coming fall, as she joins the 3s class, and she will have the option of continuing on with the same group of peers through at least the fifth grade, possibly even the eighth...

I can't stress enough what an amazing break this is, for all of us. I have ranted about it before, but the climate surrounding admission to kindergarten here in NYC is absolutely ridiculous (a friend of mine is about to release a film he made on the process, inspired by his own experience of trying to find the right place for his son, entitled The Kindergarten Shuffle...check it out! ) Basically getting into kindergarten in this city is on par with getting into an ivy league college...and kids need to have about as many credentials. There is, then, runoff into preschool competition and even pre-preschool expectations...some of the places I looked at require resumes, school reports with grades and multiple teacher recommendations FOR TWO YEAR OLDS!! I was utterly astounded. It is recommended that families who have never been a part of this rat race before apply to between 8 -10 different schools (if you have an older sibling already in attendance, families need only apply to between 6-8). Public schools are mostly done by lottery, private schools each have their own admissions process and criteria...and sadly, there is not enough supply to meet the demand, so many families are still unable to secure anything and are left to homeschool, or just wait to be tossed into first grade - the first level required by law. There are a lot of political and social implications to this that I won't get into here, suffice it to say that the ripple effect from this 'kindergarten culture' can be felt through elementary, middle, even high school, and almost perversely becomes a defining moment in the ultimate outcomes of many kids' educational careers.

Anyway, the year we spent in Kentucky, where the climate is much less fierce, left us 'behind' upon our return to NYC. Long story involving lots of exhaustive research short, we made the bold decision that the only place that fit our family well enough to be worth the stress and effort of applying this year was the Blue School. We figured that getting into a place that really fit us to a T was worth trying for, and if we didn't get in, we would spend the year trying to make up for lost time and building our credentials so that, come next season's application process, we'd be in a much more competitive position.

Honestly, I'd been very worried about going through - and dragging Cadence through - everything that being involved in the process would entail - especially given how ERB testing and various other rigors have become commonplace, even necessary, in securing a place in any kindergarten...and with our acceptance letter, it all, magically, disappeared. Once you're in at the Blue School, at any level, you're in for as long as you want to be...and she's in! She won't need to be subjected to tests, to countless interviews and maybes and dealing with the here and there and stressed out parents trying to make it all happen...and this could even save Baby Yu #2 from that race, as siblings are given priority, and though they don't guarantee admission, it's more likely than not that they would not leave out a family member, when so much of their philosophy centers on family involvement.

It's expensive, but I think it's truly worth it. This school is amazing and wonderful and I encourage all of you to check it out, even if you don't have kids...their approach to the idea of education is at the forefront, and having a new generation growing up under its influence can only be a benefit to society as a whole.

So...GO CADENCE!! You are certainly an exceptional little lady. :-) We can't wait to start this new adventure with you!