Working the school system
Meet six parents who beat the odds and got their child into a dream public school. Here are their tips and tales from the trenches.
By Leslie Crawford , GreatSchools Staff
Los Angeles, CA
Tip #2: Be patient – sometimes the impossible happens.
Suzie Kane's eldest son Elliot had just graduated middle school and was already enrolled in a Los Angeles public high school when she and her husband began worrying that their son "couldn't survive the massive LAUD school" he was assigned.
It was more than a long shot, but they went ahead and put in their application to High Tech La School, a public charter, in June after all the spots had been assigned. They were number 90 on the waiting list. Still, she, her husband, and son toured the small, project-based high school and decided it was the one for Elliot. "We were definitely praying hard!" says Kane
Although it seemed like they didn't stand a chance, Kane didn't give up. Throughout the summer, she called the school to see to see if they'd moved up on the list. "I kept calling and would say, 'How is the list looking? Have we budged?'" While Kane doesn't know if it made a difference to check in with the school, still she wanted to make the personal connection and remind them that she remained hopeful and determined. After all, the same approach had worked when she gently persisted for both elementary and middle school.
Their hope had all but faded by summer's end. Then two days before school was to start, while she and her son were out buying school clothes, she got a call from the school saying Elliot had a spot. "We were shocked. We absolutely thought we weren't getting in." Kane says they were so ecstatic they began dancing in the store. "That phone call has changed our whole lives. My son has found the school that is perfect for him."
Kane's words of wisdom:
"It's important if possible to connect with an administrator or staff and put a voice to your name. And be nice."
Next: Cheryl Pope »