Friday, 9 September 2016

Big Decision: Alex to Stay or Go?

Yesterday we got the call that the spot at a school near us has opened up.  Alex can either stay at his present school or he can go to the new one.  And of course, they want us to make the decision right away (even though we know other families who have postponed such decisions for months).

It's a tough one.  With less than a week of class under his belt, we can't really evaluate the effectiveness of his present school.  On the concerns side: it's further away, it has more integration than the new one, and it's on the short list of schools to be closed next year.  On the plus side, the present school will probably challenge Alex more, they use a lot of technology (which Alex loves) and he seems to get on very well with the staff.

The new school is closer and the program there is modeled on the one at his old school (which Alex had a great deal of success at).  There is no risk of it being closed and he would be with his classmates from the old school.  On the concern side, the school is overcrowded, which means fewer chances for integration (or at least successful integration) and moving him would mean hitting Alex with two big back-to-back transitions, which could have a huge impact on his behaviour.

I find the biggest anxiety rattling in my head is wondering whether or not I'm evaluating Alex's potential accurately.  Is the present school too challenging, would we be setting him up for failure?  Or, if we switch to the new one, would we be choosing a safe road and thus potentially not allowing Alex to grow as much as he could?  

The present school does a lot of integration to prepare the kids for a high school environment, where they'll have to move between classes and eat lunch in a cafeteria instead of classrooms, etc.  The new school doesn't do an integrated lunch.  Now, Alex would have a lot of trouble with an integrated lunch.  He doesn't like being around other people eating and finds it noisy and irritating.  But would he get used to it if he had to deal with it every day or would he get overwhelmed and act out to avoid having to deal with it in the first place?

I don't know the answers and unfortunately, there's no way for me to know.  I'll have to make the decision and then deal with the fact that I'll have to wonder if I'm making the right one.  We're going for a school visit today to meet the teacher and get a look at the new school's program.  And then we're going to have some serious decisions to make.

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