I have a rainy day rant, but not about the rain. haha
My kids attend an after school program in our town, and have been attending the same one in this town since my oldest started Kindergarten five years ago. It is only two days a week. Actually, they have kept this same 2-day a week schedule for daycare/preK at a sister facility a couple of towns away since they turned 2.9 years of age, so way before attending elementary school.
Before starting Kindergarten, my oldest daughter was all signed up for this after-school program, ready to attend the main facility. The main facility is less than fifteen minutes from the house. This is where she was supposed to attend, as we walked through the facility at an open house the Summer before starting school, and though it was a bit pricier, we were so happy to see it was a bigger school and had more amenities than the sister location we were accustomed to. But, right before school started, like the day before, we were notified that they out-posted the overflow of some local children to a church location. This affected my family. The last-minute notice stunk, and I had the slightest concern of her being at an unfamiliar church, as we are Roman Catholic and this was a Lutheran Church, but I got over that fast. The church location ended up being less than a mile from our home!, and they discounted our monthly fee, as this new location didn’t have as many amenities as the main branch we were promised. The discount came from them without me saying anything.
Wow, awesome, right? Finally, I get to pay less for something! 😛
Well, like I mentioned, my children have been attending this after-school site now for five years. They know the drill. They get picked up from school with a bus, which drives by our house (the kids have always loved seeing), and they are dropped off to the site with the staff awaiting their arrival. A tiny blurb about this location. They used space in a local Church. This church had newly renovated, very large rooms where the staff and children had access to a few bathrooms, a full kitchen, an outside yard and driveway for basketball, and it also had separators for homework space and anything they needed to do. It wasn’t this gorgeous space, but it was a wonderful space where my kids loved doing crafts and felt at home over the past five years. It was kept clean, because after school the teachers stayed behind to set it back up for the Church’s use. The church also rented space in their parking lot to the Merrimack Valley Transit commuters, it was super handy for those needing the bus to travel straight to Boston but also had kids in the after-school program.
Never once did my kids come home with a complaint nor an issue in five years. They loved their teaching staff and the children at the site were from their school or a few from a neighboring elementary school. My only issue has been that their main facilitator/teacher, has always changed year to year. Now turnover is not something they can help in this field, but aside from that complaint I had none. The best part was, though, they have always had an assistant who was constant, and whom my children adore. Her connection with my two kids is something special, especially with my oldest daughter. So what made it great was this assistant, really. She brightened up the place and made it a joy for my kids.
So fast forward to this year enrolling them.
Last year the after-school site had major turn over and with the main branch under a HUGE construction project, no one ever got the enrollment paperwork to me like in years past, and which totally slipped my mind till the school year ended. When I contacted the main facility to sign up my kids, I happened to talk to the new after school coordinator. What a nice person. Thankfully. We talked a lot, and he advised me that the church location would be back in full swing for Fall, and all I needed to do was come up to the main branch to sign the kids up. Which is what I did. Sent in the paperwork ASAP, only to get a phone call the next week advising that they closed the out-posted church location, as not enough local kids signed up. They weren’t leaving me hanging, because my kids could attend the main facility. If my kids were to attend the main branch, which was further away, the monthly price per kid would go up to the normal fee, but they’d be participating in way more. After little discussion with the Mr., we agreed it was worth it to have them attend the bigger location even though it would hinder our nightly commute some.
Bummer for the wallet, toldya I always pay out for something and never get a break for long. Bummer for the commute too, but this is life.
The girls started school this year, and on day one they attended their first day of after-school on the new bus and a the new location. Me, I was nervous all day. Them? They were so happy, but so was I in the end. I saw their new classrooms finished from that walk through years ago when they were just metal studs. Wow, they were great, large clean, working classrooms separated by grades. Their teacher’s assistant was there!; who greeted me like family she hadn’t seen in a decade..hugs, kisses, and just overall joy telling me she hung out with my children and how impressed she is with their growth over the Summer. It was so great. Then, my oldest daughter’s bff, who didn’t make it to the same fourth grade home room, was there, and the kids met some pretty rad kids from other schools, who happen to be super diverse (I LOVE THIS).
We were given their class schedules this first day, and learned of when they get to swim, and take ‘cooking’ classes. How they hit the basketball courts and have use of the branch’s facilities, which are all brand spankin’ new! SO BIG! And more are on their way, like an outdoor park and more classrooms.
Awesome! I was so relieved, as I had many concerns with it being new to them and so far away. I wanted it to be really worth the upgrade in price and location!
Ok, so now. As I was walking into the main branch two weeks ago, I bumped into a former school mother I sort of knew who had recently been affected by a rezoning of the new elementary schools last year. We say hello and get to talking about her kids shift to the new school. They are doing well adjusting, which is nice. Her kids were always nice to mine, and that is a big change. She looks in a rush and so do I. haha Out of nowhere she starts in on my kids after-school program. She says…”I waved to your kids in the program here. Aren’t you so happy they are up at this branch?”. I reply with a yes, because they seem happy, and as long as they are I am. She continues on the conversation with her kids adjusting, and how they compete swim at this location, etc, etc.. She still is saying between breaths she is so busy and must run, but she seems glued to talk, so then she goes to say, “Your kids were at the Lutheran Church location right? Did you know that I CONSTANTLY complained to the staff about that location? So much so, that I got them to stop using that facility. My kids didn’t even go there, but I just hated it there. I just couldn’t bare to think that the families there were paying the same rate as the main branch, without a pool and stuff, and it just bothered me, so I kept complaining. And it was so dark. I just had to speak up.”.
I just commented back in a joking tone that the joke was on her cause we didn’t pay as much, but that not enough kids signed up and now they are up here where they were originally supposed to be. I explained to her how the program grew bigger than they expected, thus that location was born for our area but how now it’s not needed. I also made her understand that they adjusted the pricing to be fair, and that the location was a big hit with all the families involved. Then I went on my merry way to pick up frick and frack.
Then the very next day, I went to pick up my kids. I, however, wasn’t greeted by my kids favorite assistant as I had been. I realized I didn’t see her Tuesday either. Hey! Where is she? I missed seeing her too, as she is truly a ray of sunshine. I asked where she was, and one person said she was with the coordinator at another location for the day. Another person replied that they were back at the church, but she spoke so softly I thought I misunderstood. But thinking of that got me upset, but I got real upset when my kids repeated that she was in fact at the church location to me in the car later.
Did they re-open the site, and not tell me?! AND TOOK OUR FAVORITE ASSISTANT!!?!
But I held my thoughts, waiting to see the after-school coordinator in person to explain this to me.
Finally this Tuesday night, I arrived to pick up the girls, finding they were changing from swim in the bathrooms, and the coordinator was nearby. I took the opportunity to approach him about this issue, because it just didn’t make sense to me. I told him the whole thing; from being told about under enrollment, to the parent boasting to me that she complained, all to hearing of the assistant at another location..a location that was supposed to be closed. All was said anonymously of course. I never name names unless it’s important.
Through my whole talk he was giving me facial cues that he was surprised, and it was obvious his first time hearing it. He assured me that he had never heard of anyone complaining about that out-post location, from no members and definitely no non members, and he was certain that the director would’ve talked to him about it if it was factual. We discussed it, and became suspect that maybe that mother went to sign her kids up at that specific location, going right to that location not the main branch, finding it was shut down for the day or something; Maybe she looked in the windows at it all set back up for the Church to use it. We don’t know, but that sounded good to both of us. haha
He continued telling me about all the upcoming changes and all that happened over the Summer with enrollment. He assured me that they really didn’t have enough kids enrolled from my kids’ school to justify using the church location when I signed up, but right as September started there was an influx from the new, much larger, elementary school, and they needed to revisit using the location temporarily, but just for that school. They are using the space till Thanksgiving break, he says, where that assistant will be needed the most, and then they will come back up to the larger branch, when their new space will be available. This site is under a major construction job, as I mentioned, and is always changing and shifting to accommodate folks. So right now, those kids over at the church site do have a classroom at the branch, but it is currently a makeshift weight room till they finish the new workout area.
I am very satisfied with my kids at this main branch location, that isn’t my issue. Though it is farther away, they are participating in a lot of activities they wouldn’t have been able to at the church site..though, another point, they were promised to us when we initially enrolled five years ago. haha. BUT, one thing that is an issue is that I am sort of upset that some families are privy to using the closer, church, location and we are not. I know it’s for a few months, but saving a few hundred bucks on school and gas wouldn’t have been so shabby for us either.
Does this seem fair?? Am I being petty? I wouldn’t take them out of the large branch to go back to the church location, but it just sucks that I had to shift my whole world around to get my kids up at the bigger location when I didn’t have to till December, and, I am still upset with this school woman, too. She is going around putting her nose in business that doesn’t pertain to her. She could potentially be screwing things up for families she doesn’t realize are being affected, or maybe she does. I haven’t figured her out yet. It just bothers me to no end that this came out of her mouth to me.
Ok, I feel a bit better with this very wordy rant under my belt, but it is still baffling that the school is being used down the street without being made aware of it, AND, that people have big gossipy mouths with people they hardly know!! haha ugh, society!
Hope you are all havin’ a Happy Wednesday!!