Perspectives in Parenting: Why Public School is Right for My Family

Motherhood comes with a host of choices to make about what is best for you, your family, and your child. We at Alamo City Moms Blog have a variety of moms who want to embrace these choices instead of feeling guilty or judged for them! We are continuing our series, Perspectives in Parenting, with a look at education. Five of our contributors will share their experiences of choosing schools for their children. Don’t miss our other perspectives on private school, charter school, home school, and special education.

Ryan and I have been married since 2003. I became an immediate stepmom to twin boys, who were in preschool when we got married. Our daughters, Eleanor and Sadie, followed. All four of our kids went to different private preschools here in San Antonio. The twins went to the Jewish Community Center. Eleanor went to The Circle School. And Sadie went to St. David’s Episcopal School. We were kind of like the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disney World. We played dreidel with the boys, sent our healing love to Mother Earth at morning Circle time with Eleanor, and attended chapel with Sadie. All of our kids had great pre-K experiences that were right for them at the time. But once it was time for Kindergarten, our choice to send our children to public school was a no-brainer.

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Grant and Eric on their first day of kindergarten, 2003.

Ryan and I both attended public school as children. I went to schools in the San Marcos Independent School District from Kindergarten through high school, and Ryan went to public schools in Litchfield, Connecticut. Ryan’s parents were both public school teachers, and my mom had a brief stint as a junior high school teacher in Lockhart, Texas. On a recent early morning dog walk, Ryan and I discussed why we feel that public school is the right fit for our family.

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My friend Kati and yours truly on the last day of school at Owen Goodnight Junior High in 1987.

We decided to live in a community with exceptionally good public schools, so it makes sense to take advantage of that.

Ryan and I wanted to live in the Alamo Heights area primarily because of the reputation of its public school district. While we knew we could get more “bang for our buck” in other parts of town (maybe a new house with a lot more square footage), we decided it was worth it to pay more for an older, smaller home in Terrell Hills because of the benefits that would come from living in a good public school district.

Our public schools reflect, support, and strengthen the community we live in.

Alamo Heights has a remarkably diverse student population, reflecting the world that our kids are living in and will likely inhabit and work in as adults. This district profile demonstrates these demographics. We feel like this microcosm will prepare our kids to succeed by introducing them to a variety of different people who come from different backgrounds and have different ideas. By attending and supporting our local public school, we also feel like we are an active part of a community, which we both feel is slowly eroding in modern society. We love seeing our friends and neighbors at school sporting events, class parties, concerts, performances, parades, fundraising events and carnivals. We feel like our community whole-heartedly subscribes to the notion that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and we often call on neighbors and are called upon to help get kids to and from various school and extracurricular activities.  This all contributes to a sense of community and symbiosis that Ryan and I support and believe in.

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Eleanor and friends at the Woodridge Elementary fall carnival

The price is right.

Ryan and I both have full-time careers as attorneys, but raising four kids can be a financial strain. By taking advantage of our public school system, we can better afford the other special stuff we want for both ourselves and our kids, like family vacations, summer camps, and a wide variety of after-school extracurricular activities from scouting to horseback riding.

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Sadie and Snickers. Sadie is passionate about horses and takes a weekly riding lesson at Oakwell Farms Equestrian Center.

The resources are awesome.

Both of our daughters independently chose to ride the bus to school on their very first day of Kindergarten. Ryan and I love the independence that our kids have gained within the safe confines of our local school district. Our daughters have thrived in the district’s Spanish Immersion program, which was a big reason why we were drawn to AHISD. The boys are currently enjoying the rocketry program at the high school, a challenging course load that is guaranteed to prepare them for college, and they sing in the choir. And the vast majority of teachers whom all four of our children have had, from Kindergarten to high school, have been caring, compassionate, inspiring, and smart. Think about it: we have had at least two kids in the school district since the boys started Kindergarten in 2003. That means our children have had a combined total of over 30 different, fantastic educators, and our kids have really benefited from that.

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Eric, Sadie, Eleanor, and Grant are about to board the school bus to the Majestic to see The Lion King in December. The trip was organized by the high school choir department.

Some of my closest friends have chosen different paths for their children, and we all share a profound respect for each other’s decisions and experiences. Although Ryan and I have chosen public school for our brood, I think we are all so fortunate to live in a city that boasts first-rate public and private schools for all of our children.

 

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