Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Manning school preview - Jan. 20

I drank the Manning Kool-Aid. And it was good.

For starters, the residential neighborhood felt very safe, the staff was welcoming and accommodating, and their after-school programs are phenomenal. Here is the winter line-up (K1 will “likely” be able to participate in after-school next year, the principal told us):
  • Monday: BU Wizard Science program, BU arts & craft studio, Spontaneous Celebrations stilt walking & drumming
  • Tuesday: Spanish in Motion, karate, Showa, French
  • Wednesday: Lego club (before school), yoga, I think musical instruments were mentioned, but I don’t see it on the official list
  • Thursdays: Chess club before school, Showa, French, fencing
  • Fridays: Tony Williams School of Dance, Ballet Rox, hip hop, movies
Why can’t all schools model their after-school programs after this one? Money? Organization?

About half of this year’s third graders were offered placement in advanced work. I think the Manning has done a good job in recent years of convincing children to stay instead of leave for AWC in the fourth grade. The special classes for all students are science, music, art, gym, and library.

They just added a K1 integrated classroom. It may be going on the ground floor where the second grade currently is.
Now I have to snap back to reality because there’s no way we’re getting into that school at K1. There are 15 spots, 8 of those will go to regular education K1 students, 7 to special education K0 and K1 students. The principal, who just started this year, said there are at least three incoming siblings guaranteed K1 spots. That leaves, at best, 5 spots. We’re not in the walk zone, so we’re probably competing for 1-4 open seats. In other words, we have no chance.

I love this school so much, but I can’t bring myself to put it in my top three (You get put on the wait list for your top three schools.). I can’t see wasting a wait list spot like that, no matter how much I love a school. Strategy-wise, if you’re intent on sending your child to the Manning at K1, you almost have to put it as your #1 choice to have a shot at getting in. I already have one Hail Mary school in my top 3, so I have to be practical about this. Sadly, the Manning will likely be choice #4 for us.

There’s always next year. The K2 classroom has a normal number of seats.

For more on the Manning, see the post from my visit in 2008.


Anonymous said...

Geeky Mama - can you tell us what your top 4 choices were?

Geeky Mama said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'd prefer not to for now. Once the first-round results are out, I'll gladly share my whole list.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great blog! What does it mean in this post, you get on the wait list for your top 3 schools? Is this true no matter what your top 3 are? How does that work in terms of choice strategy? (I'll dig a little deeper and see if I can find the an explanation somewhere else here.)

Suzanne said...

Your blog is exactly the kind of thing I've wanted to see for years! I'm in the East Zone, and have gone through so much of this kind of hunting with my 3 kids (15, 12 and 5). I've always wanted to share my opinions on various schools with others, and it always seemed like there was no-one else out there to talk to about the hunt. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We used to live about 6 houses from the Manning school in JP. It is a wonderful and safe neighborhood. We moved to Newton for the schools. One of our kids ended up using the special ed resources in a serious way. Knowing what I know now - that in a town like Newton you can work with the administration and get good educational programs for your children - I am so glad that we moved out of JP. I know that there is no way we could have got that in the BPS. Many families in the JP Manning school neighborhood sent their children to private schools until they got into Boston Latin - which has a stellar reputation. Good Luck in the BPS. The early years are much easier than the later ones - middle and high school. I hope you make it!

Geeky Mama said...

For the wait list question:

You're automatically waitlisted at your top three schools on your list. So let's say you get assigned to your fifth choice school. You're still on the wait list for the top three. As people who get into those schools choose not to go, you move up on the wait list. Some wait lists move faster than others.

As far as strategy goes, some say that it might behoove you not to put the three most popular schools in your zone in your top three. It might help to put one slightly less popular school that you're still very happy with as #3.

I hope that helps.

Geeky Mama said...

Also, if you get your #3 school, you're still waitlisted for #1 & #2 unless you take your name off the list.