Approximately 355 days ago we moved from Placentia, North Orange County, California to Spokane Washington, 10 days shy of any entire year. We chose Spokane for no state income tax, lower cost of living and better quality of life. Four seasons, smaller student to teacher ratios in classrooms, higher rated schools, where we could go in 4-6-and 8 hour concentric circles from our front door, and why the hell not all played into how we chose Spokane to be our new home. The past year has had more than a fair share of ups and downs. This post is Part 1 in a series of my family’s experience of living in Spokane.
School’s out for summer. We survived our first year at Spokane Public Schools. Coming from a Los Angeles Unified Public School alum, this is a false statement. Spokane Public Schools have lived up to their Schooldigger.com reports, reviews and rating. My kids didn’t survive, my kids flourished. My kids nervously began, seamlessly transitioned and finished strong. Cheers and many thanks to Placentia-Yorba Linda School District for building a fantastic foundation from which they could build.
Our school year in review provided many comparisons, from my eyes, and my boys perspective, between the two districts:
Spokane: Doors locked, campus accessible Placentia-Yorba Linda: Doors locked, campus locked
S: Volunteer registration and badges PYL: No registration, badges
S: Parent Teacher Group (PTG) PYL: Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
S: Elementary School start 9 AM release 3 PM, late start Thursday 9:30 AM; Middle School start 8:45 AM release 3:15 PM, late start 9:10 AM PYL: Elementary School Start 7:50 AM, release 2:15; early release Wednesday 1:15 PM
S: Elementary Student: Teacher ratio 24:1 PYL: Elementary Student:Teacher ratio 32-34:1
S: Good school lunch – per my 8 year old, a very critical foodie PYL: pack lunch most days
S: Music and Art Classes PYL: Band an available option for 5th & 6th graders only
S: Few to no assemblies PYL: Countless assemblies and time out of the classroom
S: Inconsistent field trips (4th grade went to Symphony; 3rd grade no field trip (WTH direct quote again from my 8 year old) PYL: Each class participated in 1-2 off campus field trips per year funded by the PTA
S: One big fundraiser PYL: One big fundraiser
S: No Halloween celebration in classroom, Fall Harvest celebration on selected day; after school Monster Mash PYL: Halloween with full costume parade
S: Book Fair is one week after school for parents and supervised children for books for children [gasp] PYL: Book Fair is one week each semester, books for teachers and school library
S: Elementary school allows children to wear flip flops PYL: In Southern California, no flip flops for elementary students
S: Snow day options (none this year!) PYL: Furlough days no matter what
S: 2 blocks away PYL: 3 doors to schools’ back gate
S: Common Core Practice School PYL: Common Core Practice School this year too
S: Awesome teachers PYL: Awesome teachers
S: Incredible volunteers PYL: Incredible volunteers
S: My children thrived PYL: My children thrived
We moved to a new school district and did not experience anything different than what we knew. The cafeteria is inside, not outside under an awning. There is a gymnasium, not a black top playground. From the list above, though flip flops made my eyebrows raise in surprise, the most important items on the list is that with the awesome teachers and incredible volunteers, my children thrived. My children learned, grew, made friends, and made memories. Moreover, mo better, they promoted to their respective grade level. Whew. Our research paid off and we chose great schools for our children.
Schools out for summer. Party on.