Friday, September 01, 2006

Colorado again

Now it's Colorado for a lengthy stay: till Christmas. Allison and I left Kansas City Friday and drove through without any trouble. I've made this 500 mile drive so many times it seems like no big thing. I brought along a dear young friend, Taylor, since it's Labor Day weekend and she thought she could grab few extra vacation days from school. She just turned 16, so this is kind of a birthday treat. She is like family and like a big sister to Allison who has only brothers. Sara flies out tomorrow for a week so we will soon be four girls on the loose. Robert isn't coming for another week. He felt he had too much to wrap up at home.
I visited the Summit Cove Elementary principal this morning and learned Allison could not be considered for enrollment there due to our Silverthorne condo's address. That was a different answer than I got earlier when I spoke on the phone to someone at the district office. I guess I was misinformed. The principal said she had a duty to the people who live within the school boundries to limit enrollment from the outside. Only a few students who have a "compulsory educational reason" were given exception.

I only wanted to see this "better" school for myself before accepting the one in our boundry, the one that is over 50% hispanic. I understand the thinking behind boundries, I understand that people make home-buying decisions on the strengths of the local school and they want to protect that advantage. We did the same when we bought our home in a KC suburb years ago. It's just now that I'm on the other side of the tracks that I see clearly the exclusion at work.

Interestingly, the school at Silverthorne is a beautiful facility. I felt good about enrolling Allie there. It has the same quality of goodies like computer labs and spacious cafeterias, well-equiped gymnasiums, libraries and playgrounds. The reading specialist tested her and agreed she should be in second grade even though she is young. Remember, we skipped kindergarten altogether and went straight to first in Mexico. We peeked into her classroom and met her very welcoming teacher. Allison should feel right at home with the spanish-speaking kids. She left the school exuberant and fully ready to get started. I realize how important it is for her to be in school.
It will be interesting to see how our perceptions of the area change once we become "residents." Summit County is a vacation destination. And although we are technically on a long, long vacation being here day after day with a kid in school will require some structure. I'm thinking I'd like to take a simple job to feel a little more connected. But who will want me, this transient? I feel too old to work the ski lifts, and too spoiled to wait tables or on women in dressing rooms. Robert won't be working and will want me free to play with him. But I remember how bored I was at times in Loreto all those months. You lose so much focus when you have nothing required of you. I don't know how retirees stay happy. Especially since having fun every day usually requires plenty of spending money. I'm probably thinking too much which is normal for me. Mostly, I'm happy for Allison to have something to dig into, and for Taylor, who deserves some happy carefree times.

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