tiistai 14. elokuuta 2012

Sonja's school

This is in English, because mom needs to do some studies to understand what's going on in her daughters school.

Sonja is starting Ardrey Kell High School in two weeks and that's a school everyone tells us to be Great, Superb, The Best. Why is that? One reason is, that it's located near Ballantyne area, which is (one of) the richest areas in here. School is also pretty new, built and started in 2006 and everybody tells that the principle (I haven't seen him) David Switzer is a really good principle. Sonja said, that he was funny, when he introduces himself in Knights Camp (wellcome day for ninth graders), but almost everybody are "funny" (telling jokes and making you laught) in here.

On statistics AK (=Ardrey Kell) is a great school: Graduation rate in AK is over 90 (I'll tell the precise number when I find it again) and from graduates 91% got in the Colleges! In this year the internet says, that 73% of graduates got in to 4 years colleges, which I think could say the university or polytechnic university level in Finland. I'm not familiar with all the numbers yet, but going to college/university is expensive in here (people ar pretty surprised when I tell them that we'll send Sonja back to Finland to university, cause it's FREE), so maybe this tells something about AK: AK students had scholarships worth over 13 million dollars in 2012 and "only" 3,6 millions out of that were Athletic scholarships!

To compare in West Charlotte High the graduation rate was 54% and this school just hired a new (with extremely high paycheck) principle to fix this. It was on newspapers and if I got it right, this new principles old school wasn't too happy about this. One thing that can give a little explanation to all this is here:
  • in AK there is about 2400 students in which 65% are White, 13% African-American, 3% American-Indian, 11% Asian-Pacific and 7% Hispanic. 1% is noted multicultural.
  • in West Charlotte 85% are African-American.
But don't think that West Charlotte is a bad choice, not at all, it's one of the oldest high schools and has a good reputation, great tutoring programs and they really are trying to help all the students to achieve good careers! But how would I put this: I feel pretty safe and privileged living here in (almost) Ballantyne.

But back to AK. In it's mission is said that they implement a challenging curriculum leading to the development of creative and independent thinkers who have a strong sense of honour, respect and service. All right, they can try to make my Finnish girl participating honourable Knights program, which means helping people and voluntarily work, I have nothing agains that. But what makes me happy, is that in their values they promise to respect everyone's individual talent and you can take many Honour-courses (kind of higher level courses) AND take some College courses allready in High School. You can became a great athletic in AK, but I don't think that's main goal to my girl, so it's great that you can also have many drama/acting courses and chorus, which Sonja is starting with (not reading Shakespeare in first year!).

I think I have allready told this, but she is also taking Spanish for a new language and Psychology as a volunteer subject. I'm not pushing her to study what I did, but I'm just saying that after reading psychology in here, the first two years in Tampere University psychology faculty would be a piece of cake... Well, I got to my university studies by accident, so I'll give her some time (but it's important to pick up the subjects that are required to graduation; that comes more important next year).

And what about the clubs! There is a few to pick up. Sonja can join the German club (unfortunately there is no Swedish club, but she could start one..) or latin. I hope she goes to dance club or drama, science, book, history, frisbee... you name it. They have these known from TV-series alpha-beta-clubs or young republicans / young democrats. But I have nothing to say about that, she can pick herself.

What I still need to do, is to join to posting list for parents. They have pretty much information on internet page, but to follow your kid's studies you need to have your own account, just like in Finland. School also gives you automatic phone calls in case of some changes etc. And we need to give one more emergency number (a friend, a neighbour, a colleague) to the school. And I'll be given a lot more information on next weeks Wednesday, when there's an open house for 9th graders and their parents.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll understand everything a bit better then. It's so much easier to read and understant than listen and understand; an another thing to give my respect to my kid!

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