Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What are you thankful for?

Last Friday, my daughter's elementary school, Joe Ortega, hosted a Thanksgiving lunch. Three classes--Chinese bilingual kindergarten, Mandarin immersion kindergarten, and Mandarin immersion first grade--participated. Parents roasted turkeys, tossed salads, and baked pumpkin pies. They made cornbread and coconut Jello casseroles, and green bean stir-fries. They steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. All of this food covered a long cafeteria table. It was the most colorful and eclectic Thanksgiving spread I have ever seen.

Wearing homemade Pilgrim hats, the kids filed into the cafeteria and parents helped them fill their plates. And then the parents served themselves and everyone sat down for a grand meal. As I sat there eating this wonderful meal with my daughter and all of her friends, I asked Alice, "What does Thanksgiving mean? What's it all about?"

"It's about sharing and friends," she said.

My daughter's school is a special place and it's at times like this that I realize how lucky our family is to be a part of a warm, welcoming, diverse community. When I'm sitting at the Thanksgiving table this Thursday with our extended family and we go around sharing what we're most thankful for, I'll definitely be telling everyone about our other family at Jose Ortega Elementary School in San Francisco.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season?


  1. To all you families looking for K spots:
    Kate’s comments is what happens. You end up in a school that may not have been first or even 7th on your list. You get it off the second round or off the waiting list. It does not seem “perfect” but you decide to give it a try. Then you find out how wonderful it is and you can’t imagine being anywhere else. Same thing happened to me. I never expected to get involved with the school. But the community sucked me in and I love the place as much as my daughter loves it.

  2. Honestly? I'm thankful for this blog.

  3. I'm thankful that we have such a vibrant, passionate public school parent community here in SF!

  4. My son's class had a similar pot luck yesterday. The children were sitting in a circle, and the teacher was asking them what they were thankful for. The children thoughtfully replied, "My mom, dad, Abuela, etc..." When they got to my son, his answer was, "Duct Tape."

    Yes, Duct Tape.

    That's my boy.

  5. Oh, I am thankful for duct tape, too! And WD-40. And Trader Joe's. And roasted garlic. And, oh yes, my daughter's excellent school, which happens to be private. And certainly for this blog, which even though I have completed the school search process keeps luring me back in.

    Best of luck to everyone in the final months of school search process. And Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Joy, your son sounds wise beyond his years. What would we all do without duct tape?

  7. Many of you who went through this with us last year know our story--and how we never landed a public school. And, although I still resent that the end result wasn't our "choice" I am grateful for where we landed.

    Katherine Michiels School has proven to be the private school hidden gem. I've researched brain and social development in kids to help with our school search, and the the school that truly nurtures a 5 year old brain in a developmentally appropriate way, is KMS. They give the kids freedom to come to learning through curiosity and creativity that public schools can't seem to offer. And they don't bog the kids down with early academics like the High profile private schools do. These kids eat a hot, organic meal everyday. They have responsibilities that not only help them grow and learn, but also boost their self esteem. And we get more art here then at her Preschool!! It's fun, stimulating, and loving.

    We had an International Feast on Wednesday that was a party of musicians, dancing, food and festivities. The parents are open, warm, involved. We have a lot of fun together.

    Mr. Johnson, the kindergaraten teacher, is incredible. He was born to be a kinder teacher, and the kids are THRIVING in his class. The social and creative developments are astounding.

    We will try for a 1st grade public school spot this year. But--if anyone is looking for private alternatives, I encourage you to check out Katherine Michiels.

    There Kindergarten is a 2 year program, so Fall & Winter bday kids can really benefit from their program.

    It's upper grades are very intimate & personal--a real one of a kind, almost home school atmosphere. If you think that may work for your kid, take a look.

    I'm grateful for how happy my daughter is in Kinder. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't admit that I dread going into the SFUSD lottery again this year...

  8. Good luck, Kortney!

    Your experience with KMS really is a good lesson in not following the herd -- those looking for public schools, private schools AND (my family now, you all sooner than you can imagine!) colleges should take heart.

  9. I'm thankful for Duct Tape too. Scout's honor - my assembled family actually had an extended conversation about Duct Tape during our Thanksgiving celebration today!

  10. I'm thankful for City Car Share, so I can run around to all these crazy school tours, since my husband and I can't afford a car.