Hooray for After-School! (…I think.)

We may not live in the best school district, but I’ll fight anyone who says differently: our elementary school is one of the best. We have the best teachers (statewide awards of excellence say so), an understanding and accommodating principal, fantastic outreach programs, an emphasis on volunteerism and community involvement, and a good balance of school vs. parents when it comes to who’s responsible for teaching our kids different topics.

One of the other things I desperately love about our school is its After-School program. The school provides free after-school care for a set number of students for grades 3-5. The program manager at our school coordinates with the half-dozen interns from a local college who provide the actual care. The students are divided into three groups, and they rotate between homework/tutoring stations, physical activities like soccer, dodgeball, and other insane games we could never imagine, and crafts, computers, or some other activity.

Because the waiting list is long and the program is funded by a city-funded grant with specific guidelines, there are strict rules. Your child must behave (obviously), cannot miss more than three days (unless s/he was absent from school), and must be picked up by 5:45 p.m. It’s a great program with few faults – the biggest one being that After-School doesn’t meet on Fridays and you’re on your own for daycare. Bee has been counting down the years until she could attend just like her sister and this year she finally qualified.

Yesterday a friend of mine (whose son has been besties with Gracie all the way through school) asked if I was going to the mandatory meeting for After School. The one taking place right after school. That no one had mentioned. Seriously – no notes were sent home, no robo-call from the school, nothing. The school might be a little bad about last minute notices, but they are very liberal with the use of robo-calls. But I hadn’t heard a thing.

Turns out there was a booth for the After-School program at Meet the Teacher night. I have never once visited the booth and it has never been a problem before, but obviously something had changed. Turns out that the student liaison who had been managing the interns had graduated last year and no one else stepped up to manage their side of things, so the YMCA had taken over managing the program. And dropped the very first ball. Sigh.

I called the school to verify (and complain), and the school had to call the Y because they had no idea either. The meeting was indeed yesterday afternoon. I sent out texts to my friends who were hoping to send their kids so they wouldn’t miss the MANDATORY (yet secret) meeting and encouraged them to call the school and complain, too. Luckily they were able to cajole their bosses into letting them leave early with no notice, and my Ex volunteered to cover our end, so all’s well that end’s well, I guess.

Bee came tearing through the house, bouncing off the walls and the furniture last night. “Mom! Guess what?! I GOT INTO HIGH SCHOOL! …Um….I mean, After-School!” We laughed and she laughed and she continued telling me all about it, a mile a minute. Her bestie is also attending this year, and Gracie’s closest girlfriend from school is also going this year, so it looks like we averted a crisis.

But I don’t know, man. I hate borrowing trouble – especially when my cart is already so full – but this might not bode well for the new management.

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