Monday, December 21, 2009

Why I love Grattan

I love Grattan because it’s convenient. It’s a 10-minute bus ride from the Inner Sunset and then I can take the N-Judah to work. I love the Montessori preschool that picks him up after school and gives him little things on trays to play with. I love the morning assembly — if I blow the 7:50 a.m. start time, I can sneak my son into the kindergarten classroom afterwards.

I don’t know the other parents very well, but they seem nice. I hope to talk to them more someday. I plan to donate money to the school as soon as I can pay my bills without freaking out and donate time as soon as I manage six hours of sleep on a regular basis. But I try. I’ve brought Purrell for field trips and socks for snowman dolls and if anyone needs some used 11x17 office paper, I’m there.

Grattan has opened up a whole world of letters and numbers for my son. He wants a desk for Christmas, that’s how much he loves the schoolwork. Every day I notice new skills. I know little about his school day — it baffles me how other parents talk about how “engaged” their children are in the classroom. How do they know? I ask my son, but he just says “nothing” or “I couldn’t open my milk at lunch.” One time he really shared and said “We talked about algae.” I was very excited.

He does talk about the “Caught in the Act” program, where the principal calls children’s names during assembly and talks about good things they’ve done. I really love Mrs. Robertson. I’ve never spoken to her, but if I were one of the students, I would try to follow her around all day. She has that kind of aura.

When we learned of our son’s assignment to Grattan, I cried. That assignment meant we didn’t have to move, buy a car or pay tuition. It meant the family could be together at dinnertime (no long commute or second job). Grattan makes me feel secure. These are not secure times — heaven knows I feel like I live on a cliff in Pacifica these days — but Grattan has this family’s back. And they teach my son about algae.
Christine Kilpatrick

15 comments:

  1. I love this essay.

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  2. I just clicked "comment" intending to post, "I love this essay"!

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  3. totally normal to get no feedback from your kid in K. I had the same experience -- some improvement now that she's been there a few years. And, we love Grattan too for all those reasons and more. I even get a little sad when we're late and I miss morning assembly.

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  4. I also love this essay!

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  5. Great post. We toured Grattan and even though it was close to us, we took it off our list. Just didn't get the "feeling" we were hoping for. But much to our surprise, we did get that feeling at a few other schools, a couple of which I had previously pretty much disregarded. I hope I can write this positively about a school in a year. Thanks for posting.

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  6. yeesh. this is a positive review?
    I really loved grattan when I toured, but this almost makes me think twice! I want to be at a school where the families are pitching in and helping, not just feeling sorry for themselves and freeloading off the time and energy of others. We've all got troubles, sister. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

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  7. Thanks Christine for your kind words. Please don't diminish your family's contributions to our school, and don't listen to Betty over there. We're happy to have you.

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  8. Betty - please do the Grattan community a favor and don't put our school down on your list. We are very blessed with parental involvement and are tight-knit community. Not everyone can devote lots of hours or money to the school, but we don't care. People do what they can, and we are all inspired by their acts of kindness.

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  9. Most of our friends have their kids in Grattan and are happy in the lower grades, but I've also heard there's quite a bit of bullying in the higher grades, to the extent that it's noticeably worse than at some other schools. Any comments? I know they've got a program, Tribes or something, but don't all schools?

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  10. If you press on Betty's link, it appears as if she is making a joke - it is for mrs. Betty Bower, American's Best Christian.

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  11. I am a long time Grattan mom and your essay hit it on the head. There was a time that I thought I would need to pull my child out of the school to send her to a specialized school (she has a learning disability). But she refused to leave Grattan. I was relieved. I also did not want to leave the warm community I found there. I would agree that the school has our family's back.

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  12. On the Highlights from Round 1 document http://portal.sfusd.edu/template/default.cfm?page=policy.placement.round_one
    It does not show Grattan. Is this a mistake? It must be. It is ranked on total requests and Grattan had 630 last year, way more than other schools on this list.

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  13. Yes the principal does have a great aura. It's genuine too! As for a K child not sharing, so true, he's K and a boy. Great he is engaged in science lessons. Thanks for this.

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  14. I posted a link to this commentary on my blog on examiner.com, and national blogger/education advocate Susan Ohanian has picked it up and re-posted the whole commentary. Ohanian is a highly respected advocate for public education, blogging from Vermont.

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  15. Sorry; here's the link:

    http://www.susanohanian.org/show_yahoo.php?id=491

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