Just Hangin’

Gibbons - Yin and Yang

The one thing we managed to get done last week during the time that Hubby took off of work besides getting the kids registered for school was take a trip to the zoo (hence the uptick in animal photos). I dubbed these two the Yin and Yang Monkeys.

I have been getting my kids registered for school for over 15 years now. I have done registration at the high school for 6 of those. In all that time, I never ran into the absolute cluster that registration was this year.

For us, high school registration is about getting schedules, locker assignments if they want one, making sure all appropriate paperwork has been filled out and turned in (which most of that is actually filled out the end of the previous year, but they ALWAYS lose at least one form) and paying whatever class fees you may have.

This year was the typical congestion at certain stations, locker assignments and schedule pick up. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was with the schedules themselves. Now, I’ve seen a few issues over the years. Missing room numbers. Missing teacher names. Even one class that had been scheduled even though my kid didn’t even qualify for the class. In the end, none of those things were really a big deal.

MC gets his schedule, we pay his class fees and walk off to get his Chromebook. He notices that he is missing a 6th hour class. We have to peel off and go try to talk to a counselor. There is a sign up sheet with an over hour wait. We are given the suggestion to come back the following morning when they open for the next grade’s registration to try and avoid the wait. Even though we kind of had plans, we still needed to be back again for BG to go through, we decide to just go with it and come back. I thought the whole thing bizarre, but didn’t really think much beyond that.

The next day, hubby and MC get up early, get in and get him taken care of. He can’t take the class he wanted because it was full, but it wasn’t a required class and didn’t really impact much so he filled that spot with a class he needed and all was good. He will miss out on one extra semester of math that he wanted, but… no big deal.

BG goes at her scheduled time, does all her stuff, but they point out this time when she is getting her schedule that she is also missing a class and needs to see the counselor. Now, she is going to be a freshman, so you would think that should be a no brainer on getting it fixed. She has a full 4 years worth of classes to work with. Nope. MAJOR issue.

See, she has several upper level classes already. Classes most freshmen don’t get to take, but she is because she is stupid smart. Those classes are only available at certain times. The class that she was missing was an art class that was only a semester. They had left her second semester class on her schedule even though she needed the first semester class as a pre-requisite to take the second one. We initially talked to a person acting as something of a guard dog for the counselors and weeding out easy fixes for students and were told there was no way she was going to be able to take that base level art class because of her other classes. She was given debate as an optional fill in and BG wasn’t happy, but thought “Sure”. Next thing we know, her second semester class is also gone because debate is a full year class.

Now, BG felt put on the spot when she accepted that class. There was a huge line and they just didn’t give her a whole lot of choice. The person listed a couple of other totally inappropriate classes for the goals that BG has, so she kind of had to take what was presented to her. We get home, talk about it and realize that she is going to have a major conflict with debate and dance as debate does competitions on Saturdays which are her ballet days. We pack up and head back to the school knowing we have about an hour. She is more than willing to upend her entire schedule to get this fixed.

One of the other issues with this, and it is kind of a big one, is that BG has her entire HS career planned out, as is one of the things they push in middle school. She has classes she wants to take later, like junior or senior year, that require lower level classes. By her not getting that one semester class, it has blown her chance of taking a much higher level art class later down the line completely out of the water because she won’t be able to take the basic class until sophomore year. She is beyond stressed and freaked out at this point.

We end up talking to yet another person, still not a counselor, and herd pretty much the same thing. None of her high level math and science classes are open any other time and there are only a very few crap classes available the hour she needs to fill, all of which are full year classes. Everything that she could take or was willing to take was either not offered that hour or was full. We explain she is wanting to take the higher level classes later and we get a suggestion to get a recommendation from her art teacher to skip the base level class, so she can take the second level class the next semester. But… we still have the problem of filling in the first semester class and even that hinged on approval from the HS art teacher and she wasn’t at the school that day. They had a suggestion for a class to fill that spot, but it was something ridiculous like “Hospitality and Travel”. Yes, in high school.

While standing there, we hear another student say “I don’t have a 3rd, 4th or 6th hour class, but I have two 7th hour classes” and I’m ready to beat my head against a wall. How in the hell do you manage to jack up a schedule that badly? Does your software not raise a red flag on missing hours? How do you manage to put 2 in the same hour? Seriously?! How is this mess even possible? We’d already heard from friends that all of their schedules were absolutely jacked up. Missing classes. Getting assigned random BS classes they didn’t sign up for, just an absolute mess when it came to the schedules this year. This is with the students signing up in plenty of time and giving a list of optional alternative classes if one of their first choices is full.

I had even asked at that point if we could talk to a counselor, if they may be able to do something to rearrange things and the lady got really snotty with me and wouldn’t let us. We ended up having to stick an absolute crap class for BG in the hour spot she needed to fill so we could go home and try to get her middle school art teacher to recommend her for skipping a class. The woman had the balls to even say, “Well, they do painting in there. That’s the same as art.” Really? You are going to say THAT to an artist’s face?

We come back home. BG shoots off an email to her MS art teacher. Hubby starts looking into the class that they stuck her in this time and the one semester class they had recommended if she were able to work out the skip. Turns out, that class isn’t a semester. It is a full year. And is only available to juniors and seniors. REALLY??? Did you see the high level Algebra 2 class and just assume she was in a higher grade?

I get it. These people have been dealing with the BS of the schedules for days, with kids whining about not getting the classes they want or wanting different classes  so they could be with their friends. BG was missing a class entirely. The district pushes really  hard for these kids to create plans for FOUR years of high school, with the thought of what they want to do in COLLEGE and taking classes towards that goal and yet they are absolutely okay with upending that plan before my kid even starts the first day. WTF?

BG thankfully heard back right away from her teacher and got a glowing recommendation. The teacher then immediately emailed everyone she needed to to get the ball rolling from her end. Hubby emailed the counselor with several questions and suggestions on the missing semester class. Even suggested an online class to fill that spot as the HS offers several, but that wasn’t something that even came up in all this mess.

We spent nearly all of 2 days running back and forth to the high school trying to get the mess straightened out. We managed to get in our trip to the zoo, but all that walking managed to set MC back a bit on his healing so we had to cancel the plans for the rest of our week so that was the only thing we got in. It was a good thing that was the one we did because he needed some pictures for a summer assignment for AP Biology (yes, my kid did a crap ton of homework over the summer while healing from surgery).

We finally hear back from the counselor that evening and BG FINALLY has a schedule that doesn’t jack up everything she wanted to do in HS. She has her art class and her open semester is now an online class that delves into various different art forms. It isn’t one she would have taken, but because she skipped the base level class, she could afford to take that kind of blow off class.

I realize that a major problem with this whole situation is that BG is extremely diverse. She is extremely smart (MC is as well, but he is way more focused), but she is also really creative. Most students are usually only one or the other, never both. At least not adamantly both. Most are willing to sacrifice one over the other. BG is not. She wants that diversity in her learning and I will do whatever it takes to ensure she gets it. I wouldn’t have pushed as hard as I had if I didn’t believe it was important.

The whole thing was beyond frustrating. I heard at some point that the counselors were only given one day to put the kids’ schedules together. Sorry, that was a bad idea. There is no way you can go through that many students and get them set up in the classes they need on that short amount of time, as was evidenced by the huge number of students needing to talk to counselors because they were missing classes. There is no excuse for that. Then to feel like they didn’t even want to bother to help get this situation resolved in a way that actually worked is beyond me. We shouldn’t have had to push so hard. There should not have been so much crap involved. Especially not when something as simple as an online course fixed a big part of the problem and that suggestion came from us.

I am extremely grateful that BG is now happy with her schedule. She is intimidated with the concept that her art teacher is now more than likely going to expect more from her having skipped the base level class, but I’m confident that she can pull it off. She did when she skipped a full year of math to start Algebra in 6th grade. It was hard, but she not only did it, but did it with flying colors. Because that is what SHE wanted.

I’m proud of her for standing up for what was important to her and demanding that the school get it right. She is like me in that she abhors confrontation and being difficult, but she did it anyway.

It was a stupidly insane week and we didn’t do the things we really wanted to, MC took a backslide on his healing, but… things are working out. They go back to school later in the week and I’m going to be in the house by myself again. It is going to be quiet. I’m going to miss the kids coming down to talk or pester me, or to mess with the cats. I have a ton of things on my to do list, and the quiet will push me to get them done so I don’t notice it as much. I know that once I get into a routine, things will be fine, but it feels different this year with them both being in high school. I won’t even be taking BG to school this year. She will be going with MC when Hubby takes them. Just one more sign they are both growing up. I’m really not quite ready for it, but I’m still extremely proud of them both.

 

Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

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