Friday, December 31, 2004

Planning Change

When I was in Grade school the baby boom was in full force. We had 3 classes for each grade. There were a little less than 100 kids in my 8th grade graduating class and over 1000 when I started High school.

Now the enrollment was at a critical low. The largest class had 27 kids, the average was 15. By this time, the full time computer teacher had been cut as had the librarian and art teacher. The principal was made to teach computer class. A job she resented and many times passed of to me and other subs. There was talk of schools closing and the rumors were flying. Finally we got the disturbing news. Our school would close and would be combined with another larger school down the road.

After the decision was made to consolidate, various committees were formed. My husband was on the main committee, so I heard the news as it happened. Meanwhile at school, I continued to teach only now I was substituting more and more because now the principal was deeply involved in the consolidation plans. She seemed extremely appreciative, sometimes calling me at the last minute to come up when she had a meeting to attend. The computers of course were a year older and breaking down more frequently. Since they would soon be discarded and not replaced, we tried to keep them running as best we could. It was a busy year. I felt busy but needed. The previous year, I had to back out of class several times when the panic hit or I was too depressed to get out of bed, but not this year. My work was good for me.

Meanwhile on the playground, the parents were speculating wildly about the shape of things to come and bemoaning the lack of information that was coming from the committees. There was little I could tell them, not knowing what was confidential or not, but I could understand their fears. We were receiving notes sporadically but there was no mechanism to ask questions, at least none that we knew of.

The church bulletins were not much help and the church’s websites had no information. The consolidation letters, which sometimes didn’t make it home were not online on our site and the other schools site was not functional. They were posted at school, but the school closed at dismissal time and a lot of people didn’t know they were there.

When I suggested making a web site that wasn’t a part of either school and devoted to the consolidation and the new school, my husband was interested. He took a prototype to a meeting and I was given the go ahead to continue. I felt a real part of the community and began to see my old self again. I told my ediets friends and my doctor that I hadn't felt this good in my life. No one said anything about me being manic and I am not sure to this day if I was or not. I just felt good.

I purchased web space, a pdf writer and a few other tools at my own expense and went to work. My goal was to create something unique that would not look like either site and thus not alienate either school. There were enough bad feelings now. I had a spot for the newsletters which were online by noon the day the schools received them. There was a page for parents to ask questions anonymously if they chose, and one for kids to do the same. They kids questions even came to my son’s box, so they would feel safe, since they would know they weren’t going to be identified by either principal. There was a page identifying the new uniform plaid, and other news as it came out. The prototype even showed a page listing a picture and short bio of each teacher as they were hired, so the students would feel more comfortable, starting a new school. All of this was reviewed by the committee and approved. I even received copies of emails complimenting my efforts It was nice to be able to contribute a skill I had. Our pastor had always asked for our time talents and treasures. Now I had something to give. A notice was placed in the consolidation notes notifying parents of the location of the site and the site had it’s debut. We were rolling.

I know now that what I wanted to provide was things that Aspies need to feel comfortable. Whether others need such things I do not know. I was convinced I was fulfilling a need and felt great about it. I may not be able to clean my house or even shower some mornings but I could work on this site all day long and sometimes did. It became my identity.

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