I’m really tired this week – Foodie Feast, Grandparents Breakfast, out-of-town guests, Open House this weekend… At first it was just my head that was tired – the kind of exhaustion that comes from juggling too many to-do lists in your head at the same time. That’s the hard part about juggling so many things at once – not the execution of various events or projects – just the headspace that each requires. It makes it hard to sleep well. When I wake up my mind goes into overdrive. I panic, thinking I’ve missed an important detail. It’s easy to make mistakes when I’m tired – like forgetting that the brioche recipe lacks the critical word “divided” after the “2 large eggs” line of the ingredients. So I added two large eggs to the first two batches of dough before realizing that one egg gets reserved for the final egg wash. So extra batches were made, and some were discarded or sent to the “seconds” pile.
(Proof of how stretched my brain was – I made charts to tell me where each batch of dough was located and the schedule for each to double proof prior to baking.)
In the midst of this ten-day stretch of events and late night baking sessions, we’re now waist deep in the high school application process. This has involved filling out online applications, emailing counselors to track down transcripts and recommendation letters, visiting open houses, scheduling and transporting E to shadow days at multiple schools, and checking off even more to-do lists to make sure we don’t miss anything.
When E was entering school, we did not have a neighborhood elementary school to send her to – we live in one of the most underserved zip codes in the city. We entered her in the magnet school lottery for the district, but did not make the cut in the first drawing. In the meantime, we discovered a new private, independent school in our neighborhood that was just four years old. We were able to secure the last spot in their kindergarten class, and the rest is history. We’ve been so thrilled with our experience there that we sent F there as well. When she graduates in 3.5 years, we’ll have spent twelve straight years with that school. It’s a part of the family, and holds a very dear and special place in our hearts.
E had better luck with the magnet school lottery for middle school – she was accepted into a very good school that just happens to be right around the corner from our house as well. The school teaches an accelerated curriculum, and she’s stepped up to the challenge really well. The magnet schools in the district must reflect the demographics of the city, and she’s been fortunate to attend a school for three years with such a diverse student body. This is not the norm in the region, and it’s been a priority for our family in school choices.
But somehow we’re here – on the cusp of high school already. She has an abundance of choices – all excellent. One high school option is consistently ranked as the top school in the state; the other options are newer, but equally challenging and well-performing. We’ve visited the schools, and I feel confident that she will do well at all three. Tough decisions, but leaps and bounds ahead of where I thought we’d be when we started this journey ten years ago, in a testing room with a three-and-a-half year old.
I dropped her off at her first high school shadow day, and she looked like she belonged already. I was kind of sad at the start of this process. It seems so quick – they are just wrapping up the first quarter of eighth grade. But then I see the opportunities ahead of her in high school and it fills me up with joy. I’m excited for her, I’m excited for us. She is so fun to grow up with.
If you are local, and just starting out on this school journey, then I’d love to invite you to this event on Saturday:
And I’d also encourage you to spend some time on the website STL City Schools – a lot of good information on all school options, compiled by the parents you’d quiz on the subject if you ran into them. (This is a different website than the official district website, although it is linked to on the district’s site.) It includes all school options – public, magnet, charter, and private. I hope you’ll give SLPS a good look – and feel free to email me directly with any questions you might have.