Monday, October 20, 2014

#MicroblogMonday: Winning the (School) Lottery

This whole job thing has taken an unexpected (i.e., U.S.) turn, which has really thrown me for a loop.   I was merrily going along, really focused on staying abroad for a few more years, bobbing happily upon my personal ocean of school selection ignorance, with no plans to move back to the U.S. and have to make any real efforts to find the "right" school.  But then this whole job thing went in a different direction, and now I'm like. . .oh, crap!  I'm a small town New England girl.  Where I'm from, there is only one game in town, and everyone goes there.

But now we're seriously contemplating moving back to the U.S. for a while, to a big city with lots of choice.  And in the U.S. these days, "lots of choice" means school lotteries.  I really, really, really want to keep the girls in bilingual education.  They both are speaking Spanish really well and have great accents, and it's something that is just important to me.  I really want to raise bilingual children.  And I've deluded myself into thinking that it's totally doable, so I've got that going for me.

The thing is, I've never lived in the U.S. with school age children, and I was never a city kid, so I know nothing about lotteries.  And, as I research the bilingual education options, I've come to realize that I'm really going to have to participate in one or more school lotteries in order to have a realistic shot at getting them into a bilingual school.

Anyone out there have any wisdom to share about managing a school lottery process?  Do those school fairs that they hold in one location, with dozens of schools represented, have any use at all?  Should I really attend an open house at every school we are looking at, or can I just prioritize based on my research and then just visit the ones we get into?  What do you wish you had known before you went through a lottery process?


Rachel Lewis said...

The idea of moving countries and school lotteries seems daunting to me. I have no advice for you.

However, a friend of mine is raising her children to speak Albanian (her husbaNd's native language), along with English.

If she can do that in Wyoming... I think you have a fair shot.

Saskia said...

My kid goes to a Spanish immersion public school in the Boston area. While he got in via a lottery, there's a strong preference given to kids who already speak Spanish. My bet is that the same is true in many places.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

While I know people who have gone the school lottery route, I know many more who just applied to a private bilingual school and went that route. Pricey (though most give financial aid) but more of a given? I've heard they've changed the way they do the lottery for Oyster downtown. It used to involve getting in a line a day or two before the lottery and waiting there.