My daughter goes to public school, but within her public school is another "school" that is part of, but separate on many levels, from the "general population." It is The Co-Op, and we are part of it. We are so fortunate to be part of it because it is an awesome model for education, but it can be filled with some snobby people. Not us, though. We're normal.
Last year was a huge stress because it was an application/lottery system to get in. We, along with a friend from preschool, won the lottery and made it into the Kindergarten co-op. It has been the most wonderful experience-- parent involvement is a requirement, which is awesome. We have to have 90 hours of volunteer time at the end of the year-- 30 hours per trimester. I work once a week, go on every field trip, bake cookies, pies and other food for the teachers and just generally act like the PTA moms I once made fun of. Okay, I still make fun of some of them.
Today Wayne and I worked the Box Top breakfast, which is where kids bring in General Mills Box Tops, and then they get a free breakfast of sugary cereals and Costco muffins with apple juice. The woman who was running the show told me, because I was collecting the Box Tops, that I only allow kids with Box Tops to have breakfast.
I really didn't want the job, but no one else stepped up. So I was the Box Top Bouncer.
How do you tell kids, who are wet (it was raining) and hungry that they can't eat breakfast? You don't. Well, I don't anyway.
The thing is, kids bring in Box Tops all the freaking time to their teachers. There were kids today who brought in hundreds of Box Tops. Some were smart and doled out their many Box Tops to their friends, so they all could eat because they only needed to have ONE Box Top to eat breakfast. But some were just sad. There were kids who stood on the fringes and stared at the cereal and muffins longingly. There were kids who tried to psyche me out and pretended to put a Box Top in my collection box, just so they could get a muffin and cereal.
I told the three kids who tried to psyche me out that they do not need to try to play me like that. I am not stupid, and I can see that you are not actually putting a Box Top in the box. Just let me know, and I will be fine. Don't lie. The way the Box Top breakfast is run, though, it kind of makes a kid have to lie if s/he wants some food.
One girl, a 4th grader, came up to me and said that she didn't have a Box Top, but she didn't get breakfast this morning and her tummy hurt. Go, eat, now! Please! She came up to me afterwards and was chatting with me; she thanked me for letting her eat because now her tummy doesn't hurt.
I could've cried (you know how emotional I am this week).
On top of wanting me to keep kids from food because they didn't have a 10-cent Box Top (I had kids offer to pay me for the food-- just go eat...don't pay me!), the Lady-in-Charge, who is a co-op mom (most of the volunteers there this morning were co-op parents, and the majority were from my daughter's class) actually started decreasing the amount of cereal served to the kids. She was afraid we would run out.
In the end, we had a TON of cereal and muffins left. The muffins went to the teachers' lounge (totally cool), and the cereal went to...wait for it...
The Co-Op Teachers to give to the Co-Op Kids for snacks.
Maybe this was a co-op sponsored event; I'm not sure. If it was, I can see giving the cereal to the Co-Op teachers; the Co-Op has their own funds that is separate from the PTA funds. But if it was PTA funds that were used and only the Co-Op classes got left-over cereal, it just seems a tad sketchy to me.
It just seems so weird to me that many of the people who are in the co-op are so damn elitist.
I said to the woman who was in charge, "Some of the older kids..." "are so RUDE," she interrupted. Um, no, sneaky was the word I was going for.
I just really feel that there is such an elitist attitude from many of the parents in the co-op-- especially from those who have been part of the co-op for awhile. The lady in charge really seemed disgusted by some of the kids that came in for breakfast; it was really disgraceful. The school is part of her community, and she should be less critical and exclusive when it comes to those kids.
Regardless of the parents in the program, I really hope we get in next year! I turned in our app this week, and I have some hours to catch up on in order to be considered for application. I should be fine, though. Chances are slim that we'll win the lottery again this year; there are only a few openings, and kids who have an older sib in the co-op have pretty much a guaranteed slot. However, if we get in for next year, we are good through 6th grade!
My friend, Stacy, and I are going to be stressing over this damn co-op lottery for the next month. Ugh.