Here's what the building looks like without snow.
From back in January - Wynn had a great time.
This is what we in the education business call a "text-rich environment". No worries about how much teachers can put up on the walls here...
A sudden change of fortune Friday night - we got a call from Yinghua Academy, the Mandarin immersion school from the Minneapolis district asking if we were still interested in having Wynn attend!
As you recall back in January 2011, we toured this building and put Wynn in the enrollment lottery for getting into one of the two Kindergarten classes they had available. In February we found out her number was too high, and so we began the enrollment process for our local White Bear Lake elementary. Well, it turns out that Yinghua was able to get more money and more native-Mandarin teachers, so they now offer four Kindergarten classes.
Still, it took two kids to leave the school before Wynn's number finally came up to the top of the list.
Ann and I had to wrestle hard with the decision Friday night and Saturday morning - Wynn just left the preschool she'd attended for four years and all her friends from there; she's been so enthusiastic about her teacher and being in a big building these past two weeks; and the building where she's at does get good test scores and has a strong community support base. Plus, it's literally five minutes' drive from our house.
Yinghua has a solid math and language program, also very strong test scores. And she would learn Mandarin now - White Bear doesn't even touch it partially until middle-school. Yes, the commute would be longer for both me and Ann - her especially; the school's about 10-15 minutes on the far side of my office. Certainly the parent profile of this new school is different - they've seen a huge number of adopted kids. We'll be among fellow travelers at parent meetings.
We don't have any reservations about Wynn's resilience or her ability to thrive in a new environment - but it is going to be hard on her this particular week, with her second ear surgery on Wednesday (more on that later). She was so gung-ho on making new friends here in White Bear, and now she's going to have to say goodbye already.
But we drove her past the new school Saturday afternoon, and will be taking her there again Tuesday evening for "curriculum night." Ann is going to try to arrange a walk-through at the school with Wynn Friday afternoon to meet the teachers & staff. Wynn's first day will be next Monday, the 26th.
With our acceptance, we've already fired off a list of questions to the administrator on how to get Wynn up and running, figure out her speech-therapy schedule, set up extended-day hours, and such. We've got to pick up fresh supplies again, and this school has uniforms that we have to scramble to find in her size. Can't say I'm looking forward to all the paperwork, either, both on the admission side for Minneapolis and the transfer-out side for White Bear.
Still, a new door has opened on Wynn's future. It's what we wanted for her in the first place. And when something as pleasantly unexpected like this happens - like how we were matched with Wynn in the very beginning - we have to jump through that door.