Moms Columns & Blogs

Don't speak Boundary? Here's a handy lexicon

Ever been involved in a school boundary change? I'm in one. And the three options leave me at three different schools. Kind of nerve-racking. But I figure as long as I stay involved in my child's education, it'll all be okay.

My biggest problem has been learning all the jargon. Negotiating my way through the process has been like visiting a foreign country. But with excitable, passionate Americans.

So, for those of you who are in one of these, or fear you might be one day, here's a list of terms, as I have come to understand them:

"Options" are ideas for student placement that come from the school system's Planning office. Then the parents find everything that's wrong with them and send them back.

Then Planning says come up with something better, and we come up with something better, and then Planning sends out something better. But then you're not necessarily sure it's better, but it's probably better than what you're scared you might get. Oh, and nothing's optional. I thought I could just pick one. You can't.

A "Boundary" is the designated area where a group of students are placed. It is also the area around every parent in every school. Don't cross it. You may think your opinion is best for everyone's child, but if you think that, that's your clue it's probably not.

A "Boundary LINE" is the line that creeps across your forehead and under your eyes while you're trying to stick to the boundary thing. Aveda makes a great product for this, and it's so small you can put it in your pocket and apply it during school board meetings.

A "Task Force" is a group of people with a common position who force you to do tasks. You go to meetings, make calls, send e-mails and write proposals.

A "Magnet" is an object that produces a magnetic field. I use mine to hold all the boundary maps up on my refrigerator. Sometimes the casing around the magnet breaks off, making it a "Partial Magnet." This is most undesirable because once it becomes a partial magnet, there is a chance it could fall off the refrigerator and disappear.

I was freaking out at first that my kids have to go to their "Home School." I always thought home schooling was when the parents educate the children at home.

Now I know it's a verb for attending a school in your neighborhood: "Hey, where ya going, over to the school?" "Yeah, I'm home schooling it today!" I better call my sister, because she's been teaching her four kids at home for 11 years.

A "Walk Zone" is a 1/3 mile radius around a school. It is also the distance you need to keep from anyone going through a boundary change. Send them an e-mail, or call them, cookies are good. Just respect the zone until they tell you it's okay to come over.

I hope this helps. Because it really is difficult. But in the end we all do what is best for children. Whether you're public or private, magnet, neighborhood school or home schooling, we all value a great education.

Now I really need to go call my sister.