OK, today was the big school visit day. Jennifer, Vivian and I went to four PPSD South Providence elementary schools. None had any sort of formal tours for Open Elementary Schools week, but we got personal tours from the principal at all but Broad Street, where I'd met the principal on Tuesday (as he would be out today, so we just met with a teacher). So, basically, here's the working list in order of tentative selection rank:
- 1a. Reservoir: They've got the flashy test scores now and dynamic administration. An actual playground, evidence of parents pitching in, community involvement etc. It is in a more middle class neighborhood (the triangle). The free and reduced lunch numbers are in the 80's, but I bet it is more "reduced" than the other schools we looked at. Very small, which is nice, but also a relative longshot to get into.
- 1b. Fortes: Right now I have Fortes after Reservoir only because Fortes is just way easier to get into. If we started at Reservoir and changed our mind and wanted to move into Fortes, that would probably be possible, but transferring into Reservoir would be much harder. We all like the vibe at Fortes, I did some work there years ago and spent a lot of time with their longtime principal and a number of faculty who are still around. The building still looks great inside and the classrooms seemed particularly well supplied. The other issue there is that it is only K-1 (as of this year), so I need to look into what's going on in the 2-5 side of the building (in addition to an apparently nasty mold problem...).
- Broad Street: I will not lose any sleep if that is where Vivian ends up.
- Sackett Street: This is the closest PPSD elementary to us and a turnaround school. This to me seems like a well-run bad fit at this point. All data, reading, writing and remediation. If Vivian ended up there we would be working on options, but not panicking. Not a bad place, but not for us.
Highlander (charter) would be in the mix with Reservoir and Fortes, with proximity being its trump card. Cuffee will probably be spammed with an application, and we'll worry about it if we win the lottery.
The above is highly idiosyncratic, incompletely informed, and based on things like proximity, personal relationships, extra-curricular opportunities, and political prognostication as much as any evaluation of the objective quality of any of the above schools. Also, no wagering, please.