Have you ever touched a bear?

Our daughter will be starting middle school next year, and because we live in New York City, we’re in the process of going to open houses, filling out applications, and having tours and interviews. It’s a tough decision to make. Elementary school has been great, and we want the transition to be as smooth as possible. We’ve had to take a hard look at our priorities in education, and we’ve decided on the only ranking method that makes sense to us: the quality of the brownies the school puts out at their open house.

School brownies will be judged on moistness, density, flavor, size (4 bites is optimal,) add-ins, and variety. As a service to other parents who are or will be going through the same process, we intend to publish our results in graph form. This may encourage some of the lower-ranking schools to step up their game. No need to thank us; we see it as our civic duty. Also, the presence of oatmeal raisin cookies on the same tray will negatively impact a school’s score, particularly if they are posing as chocolate chip.

Being interviewed can be very stressful for a fifth grader. The kids get a little coaching from their current school to help put them more at ease, and one of their suggestions was to have questions ready to ask the admissions director. When she couldn’t think of any, my husband Lou suggested she ask, “Have you ever touched a bear?”

Part of the evening at the school we visited last night included a mini English class. During the session, we reviewed William Carlos Williams’ poem, “This Is Just To Say.” At the end of the session, we were encouraged to write our own poems. Here is Lou’s poem in its entirety. Judge for yourself, but I consider it a masterpiece.

This Is Just To Say
by Louis Flees

This is just to Say
That I touched your bear
He was so soft and so furry
Please don’t be mad
I think he liked it.

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