Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We Love Our Neighborhood School!

By Veronica Doyle

I walk my kids to school every morning, and I love it. On our way up the hill each day we greet other morning walkers, wave hello to friends driving by, and sometimes drill spelling words. It’s a short walk, and I know most people don’t live quite that  close to their neighborhood school, but many do, and yet they don’t attend the school that is in their own backyard.  The school choice program is so popular in SDUSD, that “choicing out” of Clairemont schools and into other clusters, is the norm in some neighborhoods. I would rather it be the exception.

Several years ago I had the same misgivings that many families with preschool age children in Clairemont experience. My thoughts went something like this:   “I like my neighborhood. The school looks fine. But none of my neighbors go there. What is wrong with it? Should I too choice to another school, another cluster? ”  

So I took a step back and decided to do some research about my school. I spoke to other parents whose children attended it. I visited the Kindergarten classrooms and observed the teachers. I took a magnifying glass to the test scores and demographics and drew my own conclusions.   And I was satisfied- at least enough to give the school a try.  

And am I glad I did! My daughter is in third grade now and my son is in kindergarten. They are thriving and learning and having a great educational experience. Certainly I have my moments when I wonder, “Did I make the right choice?” But then I see how happy my kids are, I hear about the great things happening at the middle schools (Innovation and CPMA) and high school (Madison), and I am confident that staying in my neighborhood and attending Hawthorne Elementary has been the right choice for my family.

Veronica Doyle has lived in Clairemont for 12 years. A former teacher, she is home full-time with her 3 children.  She would love to read about other families' experiences in their neighborhood schools.

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