Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Are you there, Lurkers?

I've found out that this week is National De-Lurking week. This is the chance for all of us who blog to encourage all of you who read to actually contribute to the posts. Please take this opportunity to make yourself known. If you also blog, I'll return the favor. I'm actually in the process of making it around to all of you whose blogs I read, letting you know that I'm back from hiatus. I'm sorry it took so long.

In other news, the daughter of my girls' caregiver went to my school to "audition" this evening. Her name is Kayley*. She's in the 7th grade now, and not happy at her local public school. She's been the victim of bullying for years now, but she's also just not either challenged or stimulated by what she's learning. Her mom hopes that my school will help her find meaning in school again. I know her to be bright and engaging, and I believe she'd be an excellent match for my school. I stayed late to be with them while they were waiting, and to give Kayley rah-rahs before she went in. Even though I teach there, I'm not allowed to attend "audtions" unless I'm on the committee. I have served on "audition" committees before, though, so I gave her a heads up on what to expect and told her just to relax and enjoy the experience.

For those of you who don't know, my school is a performing arts charter public school. All charter schools are public schools, and as such, don't discriminate in their admissions. We allow anyone who wants to apply to attend. However, we do a number of things as part of the application process to ensure that we get students who will thrive and participate in what we do.

I put the word "auditions" in quotes because it is not a true audition, in the sense the word is often used. It is true that applicants will perform something as part of "audition", but they will also play games, solve problems using creative skills and take part in a question and answer session with a committee of students, alumni and adults in the school. Nothing applicants do for this event is used to determine who can attend. Rather, this process serves two purposes: It is an introduction to the culture and rituals of the school (we do many things very differently from other schools), and it gives students a chance to share something personal of themselves with the committee and other applicants (sharing their talents is something that, as a performing arts school, we encourage students to do a lot). The audition tangibly reinforces for applicants what they'll be doing if they choose to attend. If they leave "audition" thinking, "that was cool!", they will probably do very well. If they have problems with the activities we ask of them, they may be better served not to attend.

Kayley's odds of actually attending my school next year are slim. In any given year, we have openings for students in each of the grades 7-11, but we have had a waiting list for those slots for several years now. Kayley would be going into 8th grade, which has the most applications, but the fewest slots available. It's a lottery system, so anything is possible, but it's more likely that she'll have to apply again for 9th grade. I'm pulling for her. I hope she gets in.

1 comment:

mrschili said...

I am REALLY not a lurker, but I'm commenting anyway, to be an example for the rest of you. Come on - say SOMETHING. Don't leave me in here all by myself....