My son started middle school, my daughter started high school, and I started panicking. We only have four years left before she goes off to college. Time is speeding up when I want it to slow down!
It didn’t help that visiting both schools for Open House only made me feel older. Seeing all the technology and other advances served as a reminder that this is a new generation. Today’s kids will never be given the chore of cleaning chalkboards and erasers, nor will they know what an overhead projector looks like.
Instead, they’ll have incredible resources like writing lab, math lab (which really would have come in handy for yours truly), and smart boards. The high school even has water bottle fillers and tech device charging stations!
More than these useful and fun tools, what really matters are the teachers. And that’s one thing that remains consistent: At both schools, there are good ones and the occasional not-so-great ones. My son is on a different team at Jefferson Middle than my daughter was, so we got to meet and learn about a whole new-to-us set of sixth grade teachers.
I really like the high school’s homeroom teacher policy. These teachers have the same students every morning for four years, and even read their names at graduation. My daughter’s explained that this allows the homeroom teachers to be mentors and have a non-academic relationship with the kids. Combined with the guidance counselors, this means our kids have access to multiple advocates and assistance outside of their regular classes.
The JMS Open House also provided a window into the latest town discussion. It really brought home just how difficult it is to be in a non-air-conditioned building. The few minutes we spent in the unventilated gym felt like having a hot flash in a Death Valley sauna. My son’s teachers were energetic, but it can’t be easy for them or the kids to concentrate and function all day. I’m glad the district is looking into this issue.
Having attended the same middle school and high school in NY, my husband and I have marveled at how much better the Mt. Lebanon learning environments are for our kids. So as I stress out about making a lot of family memories over the next four years, at least I know my kids are making good ones on their own.