I did not like the anxious look on his face, but I understand it. For reasons as of yet unexplained and articulated by anyone at the New York City Department of Education, middle school notifications are coming way later this year. As we forge ahead with graduation and birthday plans, end-of-year publishing parties and arts festival performances, a letter from a middle school is on the way.
Hopefully, the envelope will come from one of our top two choices, made after much discussion on our part, after many visits and careful consideration of everything from the commute to the class sizes. We can't be quite sure how that middle school arrived at the decision, as each one seems to do something a bit differently when choosing their 6th graders.
As the wait stretches on, 5th-grade parents in choice districts throughout the city are all a little anxious. If the news is not what we wanted, we must be nonetheless cheery and optimistic, explaining to our 9- and 10-year-olds that this does not constitute personal rejection and they will be happy wherever they end up. Or, we can choose to appeal the decision and push for one of our top choices nonetheless, prolonging an arduous process even more.
That is what I'm urging my 5th grader to do now. And I am focusing on the rituals of the wonderful elementary school we are about to leave behind, along with moments when my child might still grasp his hand and ask if I'm the one taking him to school or picking him up -- a concept that ends instantly for many parents in middle school.