On Choosing “the Right” School

ralphy

As you know, we bought a house in a new neighbourhood. We’ll be moving from south of the Trans-Canada to north of the Trans-Canada which puts us in a new municipality. This means a change in the access to the services we’ve gotten used to where we are now.

This means we’ve had to look at new schools. Fortunately, our new house is very close to two schools in the Lester B Pearson School Board: one bilingual and one French immersion. As our guy is currently in French immersion, we decided to stick with that and we’ve begun the process of enrolling him in the new school, starting in September. He’ll continue to go to his current school until the end of the school year even after we’ve completed the move in late May. He’s also been enrolled in a day camp south of the Trans-Canada for the summer so we’re going to be doing a bit of extra driving this summer.

But as far as the school choice process went, that was it. The school is close to our house therefore that’s where he’s going. We didn’t do much more research beyond discovering that principal seemed like a nice person and they’re very good at keeping in touch with the parents.

Where I grew up, my elementary and junior high school were on the same street as me so guess where I went to school for nine years? School years were different in that Ancient Land, in the Before Times. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t enrolled in French Immersion because that was at a different school and my parents couldn’t be arsed to bus me over there.

I mention this because a recent reddit thread took the position that West Island high schools are, by and large, terrible. This didn’t include elementary schools but there seemed to be a general agreement that parents tend to put their kids in private school because it’s cheap and the quality of the public drops as a result. Or something. And “cheap” by the original poster’s measure is somewhere between $4,000 and $12,000 which is a bit out of our budget range by approximately $4,000 to $12,000.

In fact, the very idea of even looking for schools beyond their proximity is a recent one for me but perhaps it’s because I’m from a small city and you just went to your neighbourhood school. Mind you, once I got to high school, I had a choice of going to neighbourhood high school or any other school in the area. I lived in the suburbs but chose to go the school in town because it had a better reputation (and because my elder siblings went there). So maybe getting picky about schools isn’t so new, at least when it comes to high schools and maybe the high school choice is more of an issue than the elementary school choice.

I don’t know if this is a general consensus among West Islanders who aren’t discussing education on reddit but it does make me wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Anyway, the West Island Mommies Facebook Group seems to like the school so I guess we’re ok. They have ice cream on Fridays and I hardly think those fancy pants posh private schools can say the same thing.

 

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