Welcome to year 4 of High School 411!
If you signed up just for updates, I’ll let you know when those start kicking in. These slow month emails will be filled with more general information and insights - hit delete if you’re not interested.
I wanted to share that on Thursday I had coffee with my little one’s middle school principal. She asked how he was doing, knowing his first two years at Brooklyn Tech ranged from tolerable to horrendous, so bad at times I looked seriously into pulling him out.
Amazingly, almost miraculously, things clicked this year and he’s good, sometimes great. He’s a social science research major (Tech has a majors system for 11/12th grades - we’ll get more into this) and he found his niche. He loves sociology and human geography and comes home talking about articles they’re reading, discussions they’ve had about global culture and current politics. He is an engaged, motivated, and enthusiastic 16 year old, working his butt off at both school and SAT prep.
I had no idea that was even a possibility.
For two years he was sure, and he’d pretty much convinced me, that we made the wrong choice, that he was at the wrong school. He’d gotten offers from Tech and Baruch, in district 2, the latter one of the smallest schools in the city. He wished, every day, for community, for knowing everyone, for a more local school, to be on a basketball team, to not feel lost in the sea of faceless hoodies (his analogy) that comes with being in a school with 5600 other students.
Trying to make a decision about where a 13 year old should spend the next four years is pretty much a crap shoot. Who Jack was at the beginning of 8th grade was different than he was at the end of 8th grade. Who he is a a junior is sometimes unrecognizable from who he was as a freshman. I thought, when making the decision about where he should go, that bigger was better. That he’d get bored at a smaller school and disengage. That variety and options would serve him well. But he yearned for exactly what we turned down.
From this place I can say that you never know. Yes, a smaller school would have been a MUCH better fit for him. But at a smaller school there are far less academic options and perhaps he would have been bored and unchallenged as he got older. Who knows. After going through the whole high school admissions process you can only hope that the next steps will work out. Sometimes kids find great fits. Sometimes it takes awhile. Sometimes changing it up is what makes the difference.
It’s all part of the journey. And high school is just one step. Good to hold onto that thought as you start thinking about this process.