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balletmomoftwo

Changing Schools; switching programs

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chauffeur

DancesInHerSleep, our DD left a studio nearly two years ago under somewhat similar circumstances (changes being made primarily to increase revenues, which in turn boosted the asking price when the director sold the place without warning). The only insight I can possibly offer is that, unless your DD has signed a contract obligating her to perform in your current school's Nutcracker, it really might be better to leave now than after the Nutcracker. It was much harder for our DD to leave after the emotional high of Nutcracker, plus there's something just ever so bleak about making big changes in dark and dreary January. In early fall, things still feel new and a new school now would be much less traumatic than in January. Best of luck, though. What a rotten situation.

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dancemaven

So sad! Unfortunately, I agree with Ms. Leigh that probably there is very little that you can say to that director that will alter the current course of the school. She (they) have gone down that path for some reason--who knows what---but it appears that it would be unlikely that they would be willing to change any time soon enough. Luckily, it appears your DD has another fine option. I'd seriously consider switching sooner than later.

 

I have not had to switch dance studios, but I have had to switch private academic schools for my daughters. Nothing changed so quickly as did your studio's, but the changes occurred over a couple of years. For the first year or so, I talked alot to the headmaster and the people "in charge". Early on it appeared that they were truly interested in their constituents' input and perspective. Then it evolved into paying lip service to our concerns. By the time I left, they just called me names and dismissed my concerns. It has been a number of years since we left. We were some of the early "defectors". More and more have followed, each year the numbers leaving increase. The school may soon realize its misdirection as those early changes are now being tested as those first kids enter high school relatively unprepared.

 

My point is: Sometimes only the loss of money and bodies gets through to an administration. If your school is dedicated to its "new" philosophy, then it is probably willing to let you "misguided" folks leave so that it can get on with populating its classes with folks more in-line with its current philosophy.

 

Just go with dignity and don't look back. Best wishes!

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BW

DancesInHerSleep, I'm so relieved you've gotten so many responses to your post. I'm going to offer my bit here, to everyone who's posted previously that you are facing a futile "discussion". Having been a "defector" myself, I cast my lot with the majority here and urge you to follow dancemaven's advice where she's suggested

Just go with dignity and don't look back.
and add to that my "Best Wishes" too!

 

I know how tempting it is to want to vent your righteous indignation, but you will not influence people in any way that will be helpful to your daughter. It's time to make the move.

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Treefrog

Yes, it does sound like it's time to leave. It's a hard thing to do, but I bet that once it's done you will feel LOTS better.

 

I had a good (casual) talk with our AD -- it helps that I take class from her once a week. I came to realize that there's not much the school can do if parents disregard the school's recommendations and send their kids to the more advanced class. The school would rather keep the kids dancing than lose them altogether. However, I came away with the clear impression that the teachers will not "teach down" to these kids. Ultimately, the kids are the ones who lose; it already shows in their technique.

 

The school is trying to adjust the schedule where it can. There is talk of making a new modern class to accomodate the intermediate dancers, or at least adding a half hour to the existing class so the intermediates can stay on and work on harder technique. Something similar may happen with the beginning pointe class, which currently mixes recent beginners with dancers who went on pointe last year.

 

My DD -- one of those more advanced beginners -- told me a horror story about one of the recent beginners (4th time on pointe) deciding she should work in center with everyone else when they had a substitute teacher. All the other kids tried to dissuade her, to no avail. My older DD opined that kids should not be allowed on pointe at all unless they understand their own limitations and are ready to protect themselves. Sounds good to me.

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mini cooper

To follow up on BW's comment:

 

We only THINK that voicing righteous indignation feels good. But it really doesn't. Besides that, it looks a bit ridiculous - especially if you have already decided to leave soon. As paranoid as they sound about people leaving, a quiet exit would make the most sense.

 

Clearly it looks as though the decision is being made for you.

 

As a side note, our school does not publish their schedule. Each child is given their schedule. They do this so parents cannot take it upon themselves to take their child to another class - up or down. If a child needs to make up a class, a parent must visit with the teacher to determine an appropriate make-up class.

 

At first, I thought this was a bit odd, but after the situation described here, it makes perfect sense!

 

Many of us have been in your shoes (as defectors!). These decisions are never easy, and never fun. But, you will feel so much better after the change is made.

 

MC

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thedriver
I know how tempting it is to want to vent your righteous indignation, but you will not influence people in any way that will be helpful to your daughter. It's time to make the move.

DancesInHerSleep, You are wise in seeking the advice of BT and I agree with BW – forget the verbal confrontation with the AD just leave quietly. When my DD was younger, I unfortunately went to the AD with another mother and we voiced our and other parents concerns about problems at the studio. The result was total denial by the AD, we were labeled troublemakers and our DDs were ignored and made to feel unwelcome. The group of parents that elected us their spokesmen quickly distanced themselves. I learned a valuable lesson – DON’T be the bearer of bad news. Good luck

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LMCtech

At our school we are very rigid with level and schedule. If you can't make our schedule for the level we have placed your student then you must go somewhere else. We have the luxury of doing that, but not all ballet schools do.

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Siegelife

My dd may switch dance schools in our area. I'm wondering if we just go and not say anything or if we have to let them know. I don't feel like the current school would accept it very well and it would definately put us in an ackward position. The current school doesn't do evaluations do very well at letting parents know progress etc. and it feels like the staff are unaproachable. So, if we change schools would it be necessary to say something?

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BW

Been there thrice and have always let the school know because in two cases we had gotten to be very close to teachers, etc. Third school was a different story and a long one that I'll spare you - with them we waited to they got around to calling to ask if daughter was returning for the next semester and we told them "No, she's going to The Washington School of Ballet." :wink:

 

Often schools one is leaving (unless your daughter is going off to a residential program of not or a school that is sooooo far superior and well known than the current one) do not take things particularly well. Most will maintain a level of decorum, while others - to their discredit - will not.

 

Personally, I think it is always wise to do the "right thing" and be polite. One does not need to go into all of the reasons for the move...think of it as breaking up with someone or declining a date with someone you have known for quite some time... In most cases it's never wise to be accused of being rude...even if one is shown rudeness in return.

 

There endeth my sermon. :shrug:

 

I hope you'll get some other points of view on this difficult transition. I do know that it is never easy, but you need to remember why the move is being made and stand firm if your decision has been made.

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Victoria Leigh

If you do decide to make the move, then I think it is best to tell them, but of course you are under no obligation to tell them anything more than that you have to decided to stop daughter's classes. If you wish to tell them why, fine, but you don't have to. However, I know you have been investigating, and I do hope you will wait until you are very sure that the training is better in the other school. It's really hard to know. If she can work in both schools for a little while, with the knowledge of both directors, that might be best until she is sure and so are you.

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Siegelife

Hi Victoria. Thanks for all of your advice. I'm not changing schools yet. The first school was the only one she ever attended. I thought it was the best in the area since they do the local Nutcracker etc and are attached to a company. My not being a serious dancer when I was younger didn't know the difference until now. I plan on dd attending the two schools for now. Tuition is paid through the end of Feb. She will take her two classes a week at the current school and take three classes at the new school. I thought we'd just do one class at the new school. However, I don't think we'll get much information just by the one class a week. The three classes are all back to back on one particular day. It will be an hour technique, half hour pre-pointe-in slippers and then another hour and fifteen minutes of technique. Her classes at the current school are one day of 1 1/2 hrs of technique and the other day of 1 1/2 hrs of technique and 1/2 hour of pre-pointe. All this in a week. Is it too much? Also, the time will come when dd is moved up to the next level. When she does it will totally conflict with second schools classes. So, we'll need to know by then where we're going to be. Assume that it won't be until next semester in summer if it happens. Until then I guess it's ok to keep hush hush between the two schools about the other school? Sometimes I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack about all of this. :wink:

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Victoria Leigh

Siegelife, I'm not at all in favor of 3 classes in one day, especially two of them technique classes, for that age child. Too much. Do the first two only, would be my suggestion.

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Siegelife

Ok, we'll try the first two for now. We'll see how it all goes next week. Thanks again.

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Victoria Leigh

I really think that would be best. Pre-pointe can be a bit hard on the feet and ankles, and I think another technique class after that would really be redundant and possibly damaging.

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Siegelife

Do you think that a week in summer with CPYB will be OK? Not harmful? DD will be 10 in June. When is the cutoff for being ten?

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