Several years ago, some states started to implement a tax-free shopping weekend for school supplies. Everything from paper to clothing, backpacks to computers and crayons to protractors may be tax free, depending on where you live. This can result in a HUGE savings, especially if you are in college, supporting multiple school-aged children or even if you run an office. It can be a great time to stock up on necessities that you will need throughout the entire year, not just the first semester.
The hall above bisects the middle of the Southwood Early Childhood Center in Bloomington, MN. Once it was a grade school. In between that and the building's current usage it was once split amongst three groups: a Montessori school, a daycare center and a pilot special educational program named Family Focus. Toward the end of my time in that pilot program however, the Montessori school had moved a few blocks to the north, and I have no idea where the daycare center moved to.
During my time spent in the pilot program named “Family Focus” based at Southwood Elementary in Bloomington, MN, back in the 1980s, they sometimes would make an announcement right in the middle of the school day that would spin things 180 degrees as to how the rest of the day would go before we would assemble in the gym prior to going home.
When I went to Excelsior Elementary School, they did not see eye-to-eye with me nor I them. Heck, I was only, what, five or six years old when I got switched to there from Deephaven Elementary School as the Minnetonka School District sought to make something of me as a student.
During my stint at Excelsior, half of my day was spent in a regular class, half in a special education class, while lunch and recess still divided my mornings from my afternoons just like for the rest of the kids.
There is a hill with a modest-sized slope on the northeast side of the school closest to the playground. It is pictured above. Today it has a concrete retaining wall with a mural depicting happy or otherwise content students. The mural (which did not exist during my stint) is ironic in the extreme given that I once got caught up in something on that hill which did not leave me as happy a camper as those kids on the mural.
I used to look up to Matt Fox, a kid who was in the same special education program named “Family Focus” that I was in back in the 1980s. I can’t remember why I did.
Recently on the “Anomalies” Klat blog I posted an article entitled “To the time out room,” a succinct reminiscence of a place once located inside Southwood Elementary in Bloomington, Minnesota when it played host to a pilot program named Family Focus in the 1980s. Targeted at special needs students, these kinds of school rooms have been defended in some circles as providing a means to protect staff and students. It is not just my opinion but bitter personal experience that leads me to believe they must be banned instead.
As I noted in my post to “Anomalies,” Family Focus had a four-step disciplinary program. If you crossed the line in class, you got a “reminder;” if you crossed it a second time you got a “check mark;” if you crossed it a third time, you got stuck into a cubbyhole equipped with a hard plastic chair where a timer was placed before you set for either three or five minutes. If you crossed the line after that treatment, it was off to the “time out room.”
The street bordered by a sidewalk on the foreground is Terracewood Drive; Southwood Elementary is in the background. One day on that sidewalk a kid whose name I can’t remember (so let’s call him Sam) made a break and inspired another kid named Andre to join him. Here is the story.
When I wound up in a special pilot program known as Family Focus back in the late 1980s, I had to go to Southwood Elementary school in Bloomington, Minnesota. But unlike the school I had just come from –Excelsior Elementary in Excelsior, Minnesota- Southwood did not have its own school library. The result was that we had to be bused to much bigger nearby Westwood Elementary and use their library.
Many homeschooling parents go back and forth between public and private education, trying out every option until they find the best possible education for their children. I know homeschoolers that go to school part-time for certain subjects; I even know some who send some kids to school while others remain at home. Every child is different, so it makes sense that every child should have his or her individual learning path.
The families who have gone to public school this fall are reporting some really disturbing stories about how much school costs. Although I remember the majority of last year’s property taxes going to our public school—which we don’t use—families are still being asked to send in money for things every single week! Where is that tax money going to?
I’m not protesting paying teachers, but I sure would like to know why our public school friends have to send in $6 for a class t-shirt, $10 for supplies, and fifty cents every few days for popcorn, popsicles, and other treats. It’s only been in session for two weeks and one family has already spent $50! Many of these families are on limited incomes and cannot afford this constant call for spending—and now they’re being given fundraising programs to hand out and raise money for the school, the first of many for the year. None of these things have to do with learning.