First impressions

We have decided to move Michael from the private Catholic school he is currently attending for a number of reasons that could be summarized as “not a good fit.”  (Alex is graduating from that school this year and it has served his needs very well, but it’s not been so great for Michael.)  Today, I dropped by the high school that he will (likely) be attending next year to pick up a registration package.

A couple of observations.  The school is aged.  But it has a cozy feel to its decrepitude.  Much like my elementary school back in the 60s.  High ceilings, huge windows and doors, multiple layers of paint on the woodwork, and clutter everywhere.  But I can deal.

A sign on each door that I tried before I found one that was unlocked said something like “Welcome to –school–.  Please visit the main office first.”   There was nothing that said “Main Office” so I stopped by the Principal’s office, and a harried woman looked up at me.  No greeting. That “whaddya want” look on her face.  I stated that I needed to visit the Guidance department, and did I need to sign in?  Nope.  Wandered down the hall to Guidance.

The guidance secretary greets me without making eye contact.  I state what I need, she asks for my tax bill and drivers license.  Takes a phone call.  Chats with an adult female who walks into the office.  Then stands up and walks out with my documents without saying anything to me.  Unsure if I was supposed to follow her, I wander out into the hallway.  She is talking with someone else.  I wait outside the office.  She returns, having photocopied my documents, and proceeds to log onto the school board website to check my address and confirm that we are within the school boundaries.  Prints off “proof” and staples it to my documents.  She asks my sons name, misspells his surname (even though she has the documents in front of her), and then asks what school he’s coming from.  I state the name of the school and she says “What’s going on over there at St. -name-‘s?  We have a lot of students transferring from there. ”  I reply that it’s a great school, that my older son is graduating from there this year, but it’s not a great fit for my younger son.  She says “A lot of people are finding that.”  I note, “It could be the economic climate as well…”.  D’oh.  Then she says “We’re going to be busting at the seams in the fall.  Don’t be surprised if the classes have 35 students in them.  Who knows, they could even shut us down.”

Simply bizarre.

She hands me a sheaf of forms to fill out, including a course selection sheet that needs to be signed by someone at his current school.  It all needs to be back at the school next Monday (that is, in five days).  For September enrollment.

The school is a Toronto landmark.  Great history, excellent test scores, engaged parents, lots of AP classes and Latin (which Michael wants to take, thank you homeschooling.)   I guess I’ve been spoiled by my time spent in the South with fawning teachers and staff (in both public and private schools) and in the boys’ current private school.  Or maybe I just caught everyone on a bad day.

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