School Daze (Blogisode Two)

Beatrix and Sammy the Cat have a tea party on the bed in her new room.  Notice the hand prints, which we did this morning and almost caused me to drink heavily before 9 am.  But they are up and cute.

Beatrix and Sammy the Cat have a tea party on the bed in her new room. Notice the hand prints, which we did this morning and almost caused me to drink heavily before 9 am. But they are up and cute. **New bedspread and pillow (pictured later) courtesy of Lisa Zeitz.

I am sitting on the couch with my feet up looking at this computer thinking, Do I have a blog post in me tonight? Sorry to sound like such a wimp, but I am, and I’ll tell you why.  I just painted a bedroom pink and purple with a 4-year-old.

And I do mean WITH a 4-year-old.  There was no way she was going to trust me to paint that room myself.  It all started because she walked in 4 days ago and said, “Why is my room yellow?  It’s so yucky.  I want pink walls and a purple ceiling.”  Then she grabbed her water colors and pestered Rob and I for 48 hours straight to allow her to paint her room.  Sheer will.  Sheer determination.  Totally annoying.

Her room is a beautiful shade of yellow called “haystack” which I think is Benjamin Moore.  It is sunny and cheerful and it is my favorite room in our apartment.  We painted it before she was born (we didn’t know if she as going to be a boy or a girl) and then tricked it out with primary color accents.  So cute.

Wrong.  So yucky.

So after 72 hours of work including my dear friend Linda dropping everything (twice) to drive into town for a paint

Broadway star Linda Balgord paints for me in her free time, (as one does).  This is a sample of her excellent trim work.

Broadway star Linda Balgord paints for me in her free time, (as one does). This is a sample of her excellent trim work.  She would want me to tell you that my rental apartment has the most el-crappo trim, painted over multiple times and getting a clean line is impossible.  I think it looks amazing and you should have seen it when I did it (terrible).

color consultation (can we leave the trim yellow?  No.  Too dingy next to the pink) and then she actually painted the trim because she’s good at it and kind, the room is now done.  My house is a wreck–toys everywhere as I wait for the paint to dry, but hopefully I will have a picture for you by the time I publish this.

But for now, the paint is up and it’s pretty and it is time to get back to school.

The first question in our pop quiz was:

1)  Let’s start with an easy one.  In New York City all eighth graders must go through a high school selection process because New York City’s high schools (all 5 boroughs) are “unzoned” and if you don’t “apply” via the selection process you will not get into a school.  True or False?

The answer is TRUE.

For grades k-8 all students in New York City fall into a zone.  If your interest is peaked and you really want to see what

This very simple and clear map should up any confusion.  **Dripping with sarcasm.

This very simple and clear map should up any confusion. **Dripping with sarcasm.

I am talking about, you can go to this site and type in an address and you’ll see the list pop up.  If you don’t live in New York City, but still want to have fun, just type in my old address 114 W. 87th Street and you’ll see what I mean.

Looking at it you’ll see that the “zoned” school is P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School of the Arts and Technology.  Don’t be scared away by the name, it isn’t a performing arts school, it’s just called that and it might have a slight focus on the arts.  Charlotte, as an example, went to a school that specialized in chess and all that meant was that they played chess a few times and there was a chess team.  So the deal is, P.S. 166 is a fine school, not great, but there is also a list of other schools in District 3 that are near by, including a couple of really great schools.  So maybe you want to go to that school.  Great!  Be prepared to fill out paperwork and enter a lottery and probably send your little 4-year-old into a “playdate” test and get his or her IQ tested.  For real.  If you decide to go out of your zone it is cut throat.

Also, there are different districts.  The Upper West Side is District 3 and it is a largely terrific zone (always there are some clunkers) and I know a lot about it because Charlotte went to P.S. 9 and the M.S. 54 in the Delta Honors program.  Both are in District 3.  But, if you know me you might know that we no longer live in District 3, so how could Charlotte go to school there?  She was grandfathered in….basically, wherever you go to Kindergarten is where you are zoned until 8th grade, even if you move out of that district.  Maybe this rule has changed since Charlotte was a tot, but it was true then, and you can imagine that people moved into certain addresses in high rent zones for a year, got their kid qualified for the good schools, and then moved out and commuted their kids.  Why bother, you may wonder?  Is there such a difference in schools?  Yes.  There is.  Some of it is ridiculously snobby and pretentious (that isn’t all saved for the private school crowd, it is all over the public school system, too) and there is thinly veiled racism as well.  It’s rough.  Just get people talking about New York’s Gifted and Talented Program to see sparks fly.  While they are duking it out, bring up the state testing, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.  It gets ugly.

My high school student is already bored with this school conversation.  The pink and purple pre-schooler thinks her sister is funny (and she is sleeping on the Lisa Zeitz pillow).

My high school student is already bored with this school conversation. The pink and purple pre-schooler thinks her sister is funny (and she is sleeping on the Lisa Zeitz pillow).

But I digress and you may wonder what any of this has to do with high school.

Simple.  Once the kids go for 9th grade placement, all the districts and zones go out the window.  Does that mean you can live on Staten Island and go to school in the Bronx, a 2 hour commute by ferry and multiple trains?  Yes.  Do kids do it?  Yes, especially if they want to go to the much sought after Bronx Science High School.

But that is a specialized high school and I am getting, way, way ahead of myself.  Let’s all take a deep breath.

And we’ll pick up with the next question on Monday.  Have a great weekend.

Oh wait, and to answer a question that has come up, I still don’t know when my Lifetime TV show will be on, but I can tell you that it is supposed to be on “in the fall”.  The name of the show is My Life Is A Lifetime Movie (I’m not making that up)  and my episode is called “Not A Pornographer.” (I’m not making that up.)  Hopefully you can see why I am so excited to tell you about it just based on the titles alone.

In another (unexpected) announcement, I was just cast in my first feature film (which is about as likely as me saying “I was accepted to medical school”) but it is really true.  I play the small (but certainly pivotal) role of Sylvie in the film Gods Behaving Badly based on the best selling book of the same name.  I shoot for two days next week and I will tell you all about it.  There’s a lot about it if you Google the title, but I kind of like this one and it includes a cast list.

(For the nest post in this series GO HERE)

 

 

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About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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