Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beethoven school preview - Nov. 14

I think it’s a sign of preview burn-out when you can’t really remember anything distinct from a school visit. If this had been one of my earlier school visits, I’m sure I would have loads more to say. They all seem to blend together at this point. And again, I was distracted on this tour because I brought my son along … and he had a little accident, which he announced, on one of the chairs in the auditorium. Yep, that was us. So if you have more to contribute on this school, feel free to do so in the comments section because I’m sure I missed a lot today.

I’d estimate there were about 40 parents on this tour, the most I’ve seen yet.

The Beethoven will be the feeder school for the Ohrenberger beginning next year. Beethoven is currently K2-5 and will transition to K1-2. The West Roxbury Bulletin had a write-up and an accompanying editorial about the merger this week.

Right now, the Beethoven's start time for next year, I believe, is 7:30, but they’re trying to get that pushed back a bit. (Our child gets up around 5, but I imagine this isn’t the case in most households.) If it were to stay at 7:30, they would start up an after-school program in place of their current before-school program.

They hope to bring the Ohrenberger K1 teachers down to the Beethoven since Beethoven currently begins at K2. In return, the upper grade teachers at Beethoven hope to transition over to Ohrenberger.

The K2 kids will move to another classroom so the K1 kids will have a classrooms with restrooms attached. We peeked inside the classrooms and they looked very bright and spacious.
They expect to have 44 K1 and 44 K2 seats available next year since they don’t currently have any K1 kids advancing to K2.

The younger children will have access to the side playground at recess, while the older kids will play on the blacktop area out front. They also have an auditorium, as I mentioned, and the Parents Council bought basketball hoops for it.

A science specialist comes into the classrooms to teach science once a week or so. Grades 3-5 have a mandatory science fair. It’s optional for grades K-2.

Their special subjects are art, social studies, music, computers, and physical education. Children were tuning their violins in the auditorium when we came in. Grades 3-5 can learn to play musical instruments through the Making Music Matter program.

I liked the principal’s approach to discipline. She said that if an infraction occurred on the playground, the children involved would help clean up trash on the playground. If it was a lunchroom incident, the children would have to eat lunch with her, and she wouldn’t speak to them during that time. Often, she said, the children start to talk to each other instead.
They handed out a sheet listing their recent MCAS performance. It appears they fell in between state and city averages in most cases.

This isn’t a peanut-free zone, but they do try to make the area safe for kids with peanut allergies, naturally.

The principal warned us that the library was small. I was fully expecting a closet, but it wasn’t actually that small. I’ve seen smaller in this district. Their library program is parent run.

My son isn’t eligible for K1 until 2010. I think I just may revisit Beethoven next fall to see how the transition went.

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