A Chandler teaching assistant burst into the Lower School office last Tuesday at the end of the school day and began feverishly rifling through a copy of the parent-student handbook. “Do we have a policy against bringing toys to school?” she asked through gritted teeth
“Nervcited” was how one fourth grade parent described her daughter on the first morning of the school year. By Friday afternoon, following two full days of transition, much of the initial anxiety and euphoria had worn off and weary Chandler students were ready for Labor Day weekend. There were no tears in kindergarten, not a drop – no students or parents broke down in the courtyard.
Before my son left the house last week on the first day of his senior year at Saint Francis High School, I asked him to stand in the spot in the driveway where he stood on the first day of kindergarten thirteen years ago.
“Don’t track your kid like a FedEx package,” read the headline of an article in last Friday’s L.A. Times in which columnist Patt Morrison interviewed Lenore Skenazy, the founder of the Free Range Kids movement.
On Thursday evening, parents of Chandler’s seventh grade class met in the Ahmanson for ‘High School Information Night’. Led by Middle School Director Jill Bergeron, who is coming to the end of her first year in charge of the placement process, parents received an overview of what to expect next year.
On Friday morning, as the kindergarten students crossed the courtyard on their return to class after visiting the second grade butterfly garden, they started skipping, jumping, and cheering. What was going on? Were they spontaneously overwhelmed by the joy of learning?
Grandparents and special friends crossed continents, states, counties and Armada Drive to join their grandchildren and young friends at Chandler on the day before Thanksgiving. A record-breaking number of attendees experienced record-breaking November temperatures last Tuesday.
At Friday night’s second grade parent party, hosted by Shahab and Nadia Shamsi, I asked several parents what points about Chandler they would emphasize to visitors at Saturday’s open house if they were me. The trifecta of community, teachers and program surfaced in everyone’s responses.
“Eighth graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27%, while those who play sports, go to religious services or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk significantly,” writes Jean Tenge in an article in September’s Atlantic, ‘Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation.’
On Friday morning in the gym, kindergarten heads dropped a little when Athletic Director Bill Anderson announced that the jump-roping segment of the P.E. program was ending. Heads rose when the students learned that hula hooping was starting on Monday.