Margaret stayed at #3 on the Brown wait list for most of the summer, and we often stopped at open houses in Newton after Margaret's ballroom lessons. We really like Somerville, but not so much that we'll send our kids to crappy schools just to stay here. Then in mid-August I got a call from the school district saying that there was a spot for Margaret at the Brown school, and was I still interested? I assured the caller that we would take the spot. I understand why she thought there was a possibility that we might turn it down, after all Margaret had been to orientation and everything at West Somerville and had been under the impression for months that she was going there. Introducing a change of plan to a five year old can be dicey, but this is where my willingness to be blunt and not politically correct served me well. It turns out that, "the Brown school is much better," is an argument that works really well on Margaret and the deviation from original expectations was never a problem.
It did become apparent right away why that the Brown school is different from the other public schools in the district. The instructions from the district indicated I should go to the initial parent-teacher conferences that all the schools were doing for new kindergarten students during one of the non-scheduled periods and that we'd be told which teacher we'd get then. However, I got those written instructions two days after we'd verbally accepted the spot, which was also a day after the principal of Brown had called me, welcomed us to the school, told us which teacher Margaret was going to have, and found us a scheduled parent-teacher slot that worked for us. There was also a get together at Sound Bites for new students, and loads of other 'welcome to Brown' stuff. In short, both the Brown principal and the PTA have their acts together, and they are clearly interested in getting the details right.
Not everything is perfect with the Brown school; it is a public school, and definitely not as nice a a private Montessori school would be, but we'd have to move to the north shore or something like that to even think of sending the kids to private school. So far the biggest issues seem to be tied up with the fact that Margaret's teacher right now is actually a long term sub for the normal teacher who is out on maternity leave, and there is nothing hugely, just minor stuff that I am probably overly picky about. All in all, we are happy enough that moving to a better district isn't something we feel we have to do right now, though it does remain a consideration.
It occurs to me that I have a least one more post worth of Brown verses the rest of the district stuff, but if I try to get it all in this post I won't post anything for months, if ever, so I'll publish this now, but there may be more latter. If you're particularly interested in my thoughts on Somerville schools, I will take requests for things to address in the next school-related post.