Monday, April 12, 2010

High School

As I reached the train platform this morning, I noticed a high school girl wearing sweatpants and a backpack who had just exited the train and was walking down, presumably to go to school. I assume that she was on her way to nearby Schurz High School. In about 6 years, high school for The Boy will be on our minds. It's really not that far away. If schools get better by parent/community involvement and marketing power, maybe it's time to get involved in the local high schools in the hopes that by the time my 7-year-old is ready for them, they'll be worth attending?

However, high school is still a daunting thought to me. First, there are only a handful of selective enrollment high schools in the city, which means that competition is fierce. One group, the North Side High School Initiative, is trying to start the process to improve options at the high school level. Unfortunately, this group is from/focused on wards 32, 42, 46 and 47; I'm in ward 39. 

Second, and slightly more upsetting, is the issue of school violence at the high school level. Last week, I attended the League of Women Voters' lunch talk on school violence in CPS. Unfortunately, I missed the first 5 and the last 20 minutes of the presentation because I had to work, and missed the speaker's name. However, he was an administrator with Chicago Public Schools and presented data from a September 2009 PowerPoint deck on school violence. While the deck did present some good information (80% of school violence takes place in 38 schools, for example), the presenter had taken the CPS spin class, and could/would not give me specific answers to some of my questions (like the names of the 38 schools). 

I'm committed to CPS through 8th grade, but will we be city-dwellers after 2017? It has nothing to do with street cred; I'm not sure I can hack the politics of everything. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too Good to Be Real

That's how The Girl described her Snookelfritz sweet mint ice cream. I would describe it as too rich for my milk-intolerant self (the things we do as parents...stopped drinking milk when The Tot was a babe and haven't been able to tolerate much of it since), but: if you love milk, ice cream, and fresh ingredients, I highly recommend that you try it. We found Snookelfritz and lots of other organic goodies (farm eggs! fresh cream! a giant pretzel bun! arugula!) at the April Green City Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where The Girl and I began our long Saturday morning Mama-The Girl playdate. (Yes, my five-year-old is weird: her idea of a good time is helping me at the grocery store, do the laundry, etc. I hope as her abilities grow, she'll start thinking that a mother's chores include going to work as well.)

Anyway, we went to the Green City Market. For some reason, I thought it was outside and found primo parking just off North Avenue. We ended up walking all the way up to the butterfly museum and back, passing tons of joggers and families of three pushing strollers. It was a long walk for me, let alone a not-quite 5-year-old with short legs. It was a beautiful day, but quite windy. We stopped at Starbucks for some iced tea on the long walk back. The side trip sparked a conversation about the origin of the name Starbuck. The Girl's theory is that it's called Starbucks because you can get drinks for a buck there. 

By the time we returned to the car, we were both pretty tired, but still had to go to Trader Joe's to do the bulk of our food shopping. A man about my father's age heard our conversation and was chuckling at the girl's reasoning for what went in my cart versus hers. I'm glad that we are so amusing, but it was actually quite refreshing to run errands with just one fairly helpful little person, in the city on a gorgeous spring day.