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Time of change coming

My son started kindergarten when Liberty Ridge Elementary opened in 2003. It was a brand new school. Two years later, my daughter became a kindergartener at the same school.

We like the school and the staff. Liberty Ridge is the only school we know. And it is the closest school to our home.

We couldn't be happier than we are.

When District 833's school board made the final decision to change the school attendance boundary last April, the result meant my daughter will have to move to Middleton Elementary School as a fourth-grader.

My son will graduate from the elementary school this year and move on to Lake Junior High School, soon to be Lake Middle School. But my daughter still has two more years to go. So she has to move to a different school.

Change is hard for most people.

I remember the series of articles carried in the Woodbury Bulletin about the issue.

There were neighborhood petitions to have their kids go to a different school or stay in the same school.

There were letters to the editors from readers who expressed their opinions as to which plan should be the best.

There were heated debates. There was even a lawsuit.

Everyone had valid points.

I don't see why kids have to be bused past several schools to get to their new ones. I wish kids living in the same neighborhood didn't have to be split up and go to different schools.

But I can also understand the concern and resistance parents had whose kids have to change to a different school.

People often buy houses in a certain area because they like a particular school. It's hard for them to accept the change.

I know people who like Liberty Ridge and don't want to go to a different school. But I also know people who like Middleton or Red Rock and don't want to move to a different school.

Once we are used to a school, we like it and get attached to it. We tend to think this is the best one and the only one we want.

While I was not too thrilled about the boundary change for us, I was not really concerned about it.

Yes, Middleton is not as new as Liberty Ridge. It is a little further away for us. It will be a totally new environment for my family.

And while my daughter seems to know everyone at Liberty Ridge, at least in her own grade level, she will only know some at Middleton.

But for me, a school is a school. A school is more than a name or a building. What makes a school good is the dedicated teachers, the actively involved parents and the kids.

It doesn't matter so much which school in Woodbury my daughter will go to. What matters more is what teachers she will have.

I know some teachers at Liberty Ridge came from Middleton. There must be good teachers at Middleton, as well.

Several weeks ago I had a chance encounter with a young woman. During our very brief conversation, I found out (Didn't I tell you in my last column that I like to ask questions?) that her daughter goes to Middleton.

After the boundary change next school year, she will go to Liberty Ridge. The woman knows both schools.

She told me that she preferred to have her daughter stay in Middleton.

That brief conversation erased any concern I might still had about the school change for my daughter.

During the week of March 8, my daughter visited Middleton during her school day with all the kids at her school that will go to Middleton.

That same evening we went together for a tour of the school and a presentation by the principal.

We both liked what we saw and experienced. We also liked the Middleton principal.

My daughter imitated several times how the principal introduced herself to the kids during their day time tour. She thought the principal was good and funny.

That same week, my son and I also visited the Lake Junior High School, which will be renamed Lake Middle School when he enters the sixth grade. There was a presentation by the principal and other school officials.

I really appreciate our school district's efforts in organizing these transition meetings for students and parents, even though the actual change won't happen till six months later.

They give families an opportunity to visit their new school, to meet the people, to have their questions answered.

I could see that the schools and staff are working hard to prepare for the boundary change and also for the change in grade configuration, both starting in the fall.

I can say that I am very comfortable now with the school change for my daughter. I am sure she will do fine at either school.

We might lose something we had at Liberty Ridge, but we could also gain something we didn't have before.

With any change, there is a new opportunity.

When changes come, they inevitably will, we need to embrace them and make the best out of them.