It sure doesn’t feel like fall yet but it’s almost here. In August, our three youngest children embarked upon a new adventure. We made the change over to new schools for all three of them. This produced some anxiety for all of us because we were venturing into places where we did not know all the students and teachers in their classrooms.
In December of last year, my husband, daughter and I had the opportunity to tour this prospective new high school. We met with the principal, counselor and school resource officer. The environment was very welcoming and the students we met were very respectful and friendly as we toured the building and met with teachers.
I also had an opportunity to meet with the school superintendent. This is a man who functions in an executive leadership role to hire the best teachers and staff and keep a balanced budget. I was impressed he had to start and end our meeting on time to drive an afternoon bus route amidst a shortage of drivers. His commitment to the district and its students impressed me.
We attended two nights of open houses at the kids’ new schools. For our middle school student, this was an opportunity to meet teachers and find where his classrooms were located as he would be switching classes each period. The halls were crowded and some of the room numbers on his schedule were incorrect. Between the noise and uncertainty, he decided he just wanted to go home. I started to worry about this big change.
On the first day of school, all our children were up early and ready to head out the door on time. Our oldest son had a minor meltdown and there were a few tears. He explained he had no idea where to go for the first day and he didn’t know how to find all his classes. I got out the school map and his schedule and together, we highlighted all the places he needed to go that day. This kept him from having his mom walk around with him on the first day of school – a relief for both of us.
The first day of school jitters were not isolated to our children. I had to learn how to get through a new pattern of morning traffic and car lines at three different schools without breaking any rules. Every day gets a little bit easier. It has been a learning curve for all of us.
We are now entering the third week and the kids have all settled in. Our oldest daughter drives herself to school in Fayetteville and the other kids and I are making our way through drop off and pick up times with ease. Everyone is making friends and getting involved with school teams and activities.
We had the opportunity to watch our youngest daughter cheer for the junior high football team and gain their first win for the season. She has gotten involved with student council and will have an opportunity to join the school’s FFA chapter. The boys have found like-minded kids who enjoy sports and farm life.
As much as I hate change, necessary change can be good, neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’