See my update to this post!
By Zerline Hughes
My son works his butt off. Band. Karate. Wrestling. School. School is the most intense, and should be. I’ve explained that the competition out there is fierce. But this school year, he’s learned – with a lot of my urging – to take it easy and relax, just a bit.
There was a time where he’d have to miss school pretty regularly due to his asthma. He’d either feign healthy and well or freak out when I told him he’d have to stay home. Not because he was simply in love with school and his friends, but because he didn’t want to chance missing assignments, get double or triple homework and struggle to catch up. And he was, in fact, left behind and it impacted his success and pride each semester. When hospitalized for his asthma one semester, he seemed to get even more sick worrying about all the work he’d missed and have to make up. That’s when I said no more.
He’s now at another school, which is a scoche less intense (emphasis on scoche). He still doesn’t want to miss a day, but now speaks up when he’s sick, tired or just needs a break. And the teachers listen, support … and send homework via email and an online portal so he can catch up when feeling up to it.
Enter a much needed snow day this past Friday thanks to winter storm Jonas! Yippee! While my daughter’s DC Public School campus pretty much called a snow day on Thursday – 20 hours early – my son’s school sent an announcement at 2 pm saying Friday’s after school activities would be canceled. But that was it. School would still be in session. Okayyyy???!!
Later Thursday, in an email sent at 6:21 pm, school officials decided to dismiss the kids Friday at noon. No cancellation just an early dismissal. Hmph.
Finally, on Friday morning at 5:30 am I received an email canceling school altogether. OK! (of course, I didn’t receive it until we’d awaken to get dressed, but no complaints here.)
After initial upset on the first two emails, I realized this school is serious about educating our kids. And that’s exactly what I was looking for my son which needed a campus that would cater to him and tailor lessons to his learning style. In my daughter’s case, however, the district was quick to make moves to assuage parents, employees, contractors, and yes, make sure everyone was safe and allow time to make appropriate plans. But alls I can say is, you get what you pay for.
Oh, but wait, there’s more …
As we started to celebrate our first snow day since last winter, another email from his school comes Friday right before 10 am. Here’s an excerpt:
Middle schoolers –
Happy snow day! While you enjoy some time at home and spend some time with family preparing for the coming storm, you need to know a few things about our snow days.
When school is closed due to snow, your teachers will post an assignment for you on[line] by 10am.
Even though it’s a snow day, we want you to have a little academic time mixed in with your winter fun! That will make it easier to stay on track in your classes when we get back to school …
That said, make the most of this gift of time today! Stay safe and warm while you enjoy it.
I had to break it to my son that his snow day wasn’t a “real” snow day like in days of yore. He was not at all surprised. I guess he gets it. He didn’t complain much. And luckily, one of his teachers gave him a two-part assignment – the second part being going outside and playing in snow.
How things have changed.
Because he’s at this particular school, I don’t feel like I have to tell him to work twice as hard due to the race disparity that exists in the primary school system, college-level acceptance process and finding a career. Because he school expects the best from him and all his students, he’s trained (still needs work, though), to turn in good work, try hard and ask questions. These are the characteristics I pray keeps him out of the school-to-prison pipeline, keeps him from being at-risk and keeps him on the path to pursuing whatever he wants to do.
But for the next three … five … seven days, I hope he gets some rest and recreation during Winter Storm Jonas.
Now on to the hunt for the girl’s next school …