As D’s Mom scrambles to buy school supplies on the day before school starts, she’s feeling flustered among the throngs of last-minute shoppers at the office supply store… but among all the commotion, she’s happy that things turned out as she hoped for: her daughter had won the lottery.
D’s family found out that D had won the lottery
Even though it’s not the lottery where you win lots of money, for D’s family, it’s a better lottery: It’s where D won the opportunity to attend an elementary school outside of her attendance area.
See, D’s attendance area dictated that she go to her neighborhood elementary school (i.e. her base school). And her base school is a great school, but D’s family was hoping for her to attend another school that had a language immersion program not available at her base school.
How did D get on the list for this language immersion program?
D’s family put her name into the language immersion lottery at the new school many months in advance. And they waited, and waited… and waited. When they didn’t hear from Fairfax County Schools up until the end of August, D’s Mom went out and bought the school supplies requested by D’s base elementary school.
But, almost at the last minute, on Saturday afternoon before school started, they were notified that there was a spot for D in the language immersion program! And they were all very excited. But there are downsides to winning the lottery…
There are some downsides to winning the lottery
One of them is that there is no bus transportation available for kids who live outside of the school boundary, so D will have to be driven back and forth to school.
Another downside is scrambling at the last minute to buy supplies for the new school. As D’s Mom wondered: “Why did they wait to let them know at the last minute?”
There could be many reasons for the wait, but one that I can think of, is that the language immersion program must be available to all the children who live within its elementary school boundary. Only when there are available spots, they can be given to children from outside the boundary. Sometimes, it’s not clear until the last minute who will be attending the program, since some parents are also waiting on other placement decisions.
The good news is that winning this lottery is a very big opportunity for D to enrich her education starting now and affecting the rest of her life.
Congratulations, my Dear D!
And Happy New School Year, Everyone! May you learn lots this year and, above all, enjoy your journey.
Photo by atoach on flickr.com/photos/atoach/7604370836/