The Other Neighborhood Schools in My Neighborhood

Penn Alexander has commanded all the attention in these parts, what with anxious parents now lining up 24 hours ahead of 1st grade registration ever since it was announced earlier this year that even 1st grade wasn't guaranteed to families living in the school's catchment area. Heck, I was walking my daughter to school just as they were letting these anxious parents in the door, and so I snapped a photo and posted it on my Twitter and Facebook pages, and four friends sympathetically responded to see if I had made it in. (Kindergarteners automatically get 1st grade spots, so we're good.)

To be sure, with one more I need to get in, and with the school having such an influence on property values and parental psyches around here, Penn Alexander is prominent in my thoughts and prayers. But my morning run yesterday reminded me there are other schools that warrant thoughts and prayers.

Since we joined the Y last weekend, I've decided to make a detour at the end of my outdoor runs a couple of times a week to quickly pump some iron before heading home and getting the kids up. Though the slow jog home is only six or seven blocks in length, I passed by three schools: the new West Philadelphia High School, the old West Philadelphia High School, and Lea Elementary School.

I have fond memories of the latter two, having spoken or tutored in them in my twenties. And, should there be no room for Aaron at Penn Alexander starting next year, he'll likely end up at Lea. So I have a personal connection to these places, more than just their close proximity to my home and my gym. And I know hundreds of other parents have just as much a tie or more to these schools as places where their kids are educated, make friends, or get into trouble, as the case may be.

So let's keep an eye on all the news about Penn Alexander. But, when you see a story, say a prayer for West and Lea as well, for they need it too.

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