No Mom Left Behind?

I guess it should come as no surprise when a day goes badly after it begins with a wet cat nuzzling you in order to draw your attention to the remains of a bird it has deposited on the bedroom rug.

Remember the Mozart piece Snowman has been practicing for the All State auditions? Well, one of the drawbacks of attending Hippy Dippy High School is they don’t yet have a music program. Everyone assured us that he could audition for All State anyway, but apparently no one thought to tell us how to get an application form or what the deadlines were. Tonight, when I was checking the date for the auditions, it finally occured to me that we might need to actually apply in order for Snowman to audition.

The deadline?


To say that I am disappointed is to put it mildly, since he has put so much time into preparing for this audition that will now never be. If he were attending a regular high school rather than a new and innovative one, the band teacher would have issued a reminder, would in fact have supplied the audition application forms and sent them in, as was done in middle school.

I wonder what the home schoolers do? Lord knows they participate in all these arts activities. But my boy, who goes to the shiny new Expeditionary Learning High School? Not so much. If he wanted to play football or soccer or tennis or basketball, he would merely choose to affiliate with one of the other high schools in town. But for music, there is nothing in place, since band takes place during the day at the other schools, rather than after school.

I feel like an idiot for not looking into this sooner. We have no way to even print out the form, since it has to be done by a teacher or school administrator.

The Father of My Children is going to make some calls tomorrow, and Snowman is going to speak to the principal of Hippy Dippy High School.

I want things to go smoothly for my children, want to see them have opportunities for wonderful experiences. I loathe feeling helpless, sitting reading the by-laws of the Music Educators Association and trying to figure out where he fits in to the rules. 

I often feel this way about things associated with Hippy Dippy High School. I want to like it. I really do. But the Progress Report comes home, and the grading scale is Greek to me, even though it comes with explanatory material time and time again. All I can see is that the top two marks are Honors grades (4.0 and 3.75, or "Exceeds the Standards"), and everything else is apparently crap, because the threshold they expect every student to achieve (3.0 or "Meets the Standards") is so close to the "everything else" that I cannot differentiate between them.

The boy works hard. He is a good boy. He is helpful at home, he practices his clarinet, he goes to church willingly, he spends long hours on his homework. The principal of the school tells me they like to think of him as an example of what’s great about kids at Hippy Dippy High School. I wish I were smart enough or young enough or flexible enough to understand their system, which is as mind-boggling to me as Emergent is in the church world. It’s as if some younger, cooler people are speaking a mysterious language, and I do not have the key to comprehending it.  It’s probably a good thing they don’t have to abide by "No Mom Left Behind," or they would definitely get a grade of "Does Not Meet the Standards," which by the way is a 1.0. And that would be my Mothering Snowman grade for today.

18 thoughts on “No Mom Left Behind?”

  1. Oh, sh-t, Songbird. Ad infinitum.
    I’m so sorry to hear about this, for both you and Snowman, because the frustration is different for both of you in some ways.
    Is the deadline much passed? Can you get Hippy Dippy High School to call and make an appeal?
    Having lived in the youth musician state of mind for so long, I feel a good deal of empathy. Argh.
    Will keep you both in my thoughts.

  2. Good grief. But it sounds like the fault is more the school’s than yours. Hugs to you and Snowman, and many hopes that it will eventually be resolved in Snowman’s favor.
    I went to a high school with an idiosyncratic grading system. I believe its opacity for parents was considered a feature, not a bug…

  3. I guess I had missed the memo on him attending hippy dippy. Man, that stinks! I hiope they can work out some deal where the principal accepts the ‘my bad’ and snowman gets to play.

  4. Oh how sad this happened. I was in All State several times and looked forward to it. Let’s hope that something can be worked out for the positive for your child on this! Keep us posted.

  5. Honestly, I think all parents feel like that sometimes–and I’m speaking as a teacher, and as a parent who got the LAST SLOT for #2 son’s p.confs and just barely found out about #1 son’s p. confs. Schools are cultures in and of themselves, and are therefore VERY hard to “read” or absorb from the outside. I was taken aback to find that out when I started having kids in school, since I thought “the school thing” was all the same and hey, I’m a professional at it! But no one is except the immediate members.
    So despair not. Breathe.
    Best, Becky

  6. Becky, you make me feel better. And I think it’s a good reminder to those of us comfortable with church culture about how opaque our systems and language may seem to the newcomer, too.

  7. Honestly, I think this is more about Hippy Dippy High School than it is about you. Assuming that one of the things that makes them Hippy Dippy is a committment to educating each child according to his or her needs, they had a responsibility to see that Snowman’s need to audition was filled. This should not have been entirely your responsibility.
    BTW, we all have moments when we feel like we’ve failed to catch the parenting ball. Sometime I will tell you about the time I made my Eldest walk around on a broken foot for a week, while I told him he was fine, and needed to stop being so overly dramatic.
    Oh, and my high school also had an idisyncratic grading system (an A was a “1” … so you can imagine how much explaining was required. “No, really … a 2.5 GPA is good!”). A letter of explanation (with a call from the school counselor, if necessary), should suffice.

  8. re opaque grading systems and college admission: It is the job of the high school to provide enough information with the transcript for colleges to make sense of what the grades mean. College admissions offices are used to having to do this, but you might want to check with the school about how they do this. And if you have specific issues, email me and I’ll ask LD#2 who is in fact a college admissions counselor.

  9. Oh, Songbird, I hope the school can work this out for you. All-State was a great experience for me, and I know Snowman would love it.
    I think every mother has the sinking sensation that we’re missing something. I forgot so many birthday party invitations for 8-year-old that I finally bought a palm pilot to keep up — and we still miss deadlines.

  10. Oh…piglets! What a miserable thing…Totally identify with the failed parent accolade, though…but they seem to love us anyway.
    Solidarity hugs xxx

  11. It’s. not. your. fault.
    Cut yourself some slack here. God will work it out – maybe not the way you planned – but hang on to His hand. But it starts with forgiving yourself.
    You are not a bad mother. The fact you feel bad for your kid is part of the proof of that. But go easy on yourself friend!
    PS as a teacher I have a confession I don’t understand the grading system either – and here in Finland what enfuriates me most is that’s it’s really hard – read impossible- to rewards students who try hard (really hard) but who don’t make the mark. Crazy!
    DD is one of those, where as TS is bone idle, but does ok. It isn’t fair!!! And I get very frustrated!

  12. in my state growing up, one could not participate in All-State unless one went to a school with a music program. Which is ultimately why I decided against moving all the way to the college (where I was taking all my other classes already).
    I hope this works out–and I second the “not your fault” comments above. Someone at the school should have helped. And also I have to say that had this happened at my house, it would have been my fault and not my mom’s, so I applaud you for not making him feel bad when he’s already been working hard.
    Good luck.

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