Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And Now for Some Updates

A couple of weeks ago I had jury duty. It was mostly benign, aside from the guy a couple chairs down in the jury room who kept falling asleep and snoring.

(He was overweight and likely suffered from sleep apnea, thus is constantly sleep deprived. I would have mentioned one of my husband's college classmates who was diagnosed with sleep apnea in his early 20s and once started treatment had a complete change of life. Really. Was a kinda weird guy, up at all hours in college, always seemed groggy, barely graduated. Now he's completed several additional degrees and works in patent law, completely different personality, and so on. But I digress.)

At any rate, jury duty got me thinking about when I started this blog. It was jury duty that broke the writing dam I had built up. It was good to get some of that stuff out finally; it really helped me process some things that built up, and some things that have happened since. Now, 3 1/2 years later, I still have much to say, but am not blogging as much - mostly because of lack of time.

Most of the time I feel completely overwhelmed with schedules and commitments. When I do have down time from everything else, my thoughts are muddled. Too muddled, even, for writing them out. Hmmmm.

I thought, however, I'd update you on a few things.

First, the whole church thing. I wrote about it here. And here. And here. And several more places, too.

This spring a couple people were elected to the vestry that have some clue that all is not well. This was a particular coup as the rector tried to stack the vestry with his supporters. While still trying to claim the church is "growing." Uh-huh. The annual pledge drive only reached 40% of goal by deadline - and had started one month earlier. I hear they are still trying to secure adequate pledges.

A "wellness" survey was put out this spring, asking things like, "How often do you go to church now compared to 5 years ago?" and "Would you recommend St. _'s to your friends?" I filled that out. I said "no" to that last question, in case you were wondering.

Then there was a meeting, to which several people I know (who no longer attend) went - meant to be a venue for honesty and hopefully the start of healing. R, the rector, was supposed to be there just as an observer. But when one of those who has fallen away mentioned something specific (that wasn't even specifically about R), apparently he launched into a tirade. Several vestry members did observe this. He continued his lashing out after the meeting was over, and those that went are still shaken.

Several of us - actually, many of us - had hoped he'd realize things weren't going well and he'd leave on his own. We figured the best chance was this summer as his son graduated from high school and he wouldn't necessarily be tied down by schools. Well....the son was accepted to a good out-of-state university, but has told several people that "it has been decided" that he will attend a local community college. R is digging in his heels. Great.

I take the kids a couple towns north to a church every once in a while. Occasionally I miss church, but when our schedule is really busy, it's a relief not to have that on the schedule, too.

Next, the school start time thing, which I wrote about here, here, and here. And other places, too.

Well. I ran my friend's school committee campaign this spring. It was horribly stressful and I found my breaking point - but she was elected.

The candidate against the start time change engaged in some very dirty tricks. She lied. She called my candidate names. She tried to encourage bullet voting - which is not illegal, just ethically questionable. Even with the bullet voting, my friend won. On paper it doesn't look like a big victory - but if you think about how she overcame the bullet voting and dirty tricks, it's significant. If the other candidate had won, the start time would have been reversed at the April school committee meeting. Phew!

At the first start time committee meeting post election, I was floored when one of the antis went on and on about "keeping an open mind." Yeah, you first. Especially since, at the next meeting WHERE NONE OF THEM SHOWED UP we saw data from parent and teacher surveys that show increasing and strong acceptance and approval of the time change! AND decreased tardies at the middle school and high school, decreased disciplinary actions at the middle school and high school, and increased number of students on high honor roll at the middle school and high school. Academic performance at the upper elementary shows a slight increase - yes, it has benefited them, too! Tardies are up at the upper elementary school, it;s true - but when you break down statistics, a small number of students account for the majority of the tardies. While the school department won't release names to non-personnel, I asked one administrator if I could rattle off the surnames with ease. Meaning they are all the vocal antis. She just smiled.

Our superintendent decided to leave after all this - she took a beating. But we appear to have hired a really good new guy who starts August 1. I think he will shake things up, but it will be good for our district long-term.

Finally, the S and the friend's son thing. (Here, and here)

This is still very bothersome to me. S is fine, that's clear. M and P were able to resume their friendship somewhat, though it was fairly clearly being dissuaded by A. We haven't seem P much lately, though I haven't made any effort to deny M calling him, and so on.

I've tried to reach out to A, but aside from coming for a glass of wine in November, she's resisted. I can't blame her, but it's still sad. She's super cheery when she needs something from me - like a cub scout project or whatever.

This has meant that until recently it's been easy to keep D away from S. But when baseball season started, there were overlaps at the ball field. S would want to go to the playground, and D would be there. D is a little old for the playground, I think, but whatever. S would see him - she still thinks of him as a big brother because the families were close for so long - and want to play with him....and that would send my stomach to my throat. I would supervise far more closely in those circumstances (missing many great plays by M), and encourage S to hang with the girls, etc.

Next week is the final cub scout event at a climbing gym we've been to before, and it's for families. S will go ballistic if she doesn't get to go - so the whole family is going. D will be there. I'm pretty convinced this kid still doesn't know appropriate boundaries (I've observed him in other ways, and C has told me some odd things), so it all makes me nervous. I told C what was happening when it happened, and I think I will ask him to help make sure D and S are away from each other, but we have to be careful how we do this so we don't make a scene, so it's totally obvious. Ugh.

I sure hope that kid is getting some help.

Work is muddling along. It is what it is.

We've had some school stuff with C, nothing too terrible but some stuff. It's been his algebra class. For the first time, he's needed to make an effort. Sometimes he made that effort, and sometimes he didn't. Let's just say we were not invited to the middle school awards ceremony this year (which was tonight - and, I admit it, I've felt some stabs as local people on FB have commented on what a lovely evening it was), where kids who have remained on high honor roll get called out. And it's only math that's the issue. But his grade wasn't so bad, really. B+, each term. Not the worst thing in the world at all, I know. I know!

However, this algebra teacher has the power to mess with high school in a big way. The decision is whether C goes into the highest level math in 9th grade or the mid-level is up to her. While both courses count the same for GPA, they do track a kid's science courses. If he's not in the higher level 9th grade math, he can't do chemistry in 10th and physics in 11th - and no chance to get into the really cool electives in 12th (environmental science, for example). We're trying not to be helicopter parents, but it's about options. This is potentially closing doors. And there's no reason that anything he did in 8th grade should have such an impact on high school tracking.

The handbooks say he has to maintain an 85 average to stay the higher level. A B+ average would certainly meet that, right? Well the teacher is trying to push him lower, and playing games with hubster and me as we try to get clear answers on why she's doing this. She's not returning emails, and so on. It's infuriating and frustrating. C used to enjoy math, now he thinks he's bad at it and hates it. Ugh.

Just keep swimming, as Dory would say.