November 17, 2008

No, Danielle doesn't go to Hogwarts

While the uniform might resemble something from a Harry Potter book, Danielle goes to an all girls school named Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramps. And even better -- the mascot is a Beaver. (This is not a joke). We've had a few requests for photos of Danielle in her uniform -- here you go. The lighting is all off, it was very early in the morning. And she learned how to tie a tie on the bus this morning.

Each Monday the girls have to dress in full uniform with the blazer, tie, etc., which we learned the hard way when we arrived her her first day on a Monday in October. Fortunately, there's a uniform store and they let her borrow some items. The other days they wear a white shirt and the kilt. There are other uniform rules like no make up, only natural colored hair, no more than two holes per ear and no colored nail polish. While it sounds militant, it makes preparing for school a lot easier and eliminates a lot of the drama (and we have not had one complaint about the uniform). It's a bit different from her school in Naperville. First off, this school is K-11 and has 450 girls total. Her 9th grade class is 40 girls (compared to 1,200 at Neuqua Valley High School). And some of her classes are in French. We have no idea how she's making it happen, but she is determined and is figuring it out. She gets to have classes in art history and media and has already made a fantastic Public Service Announcement about autism awareness using her computer. When we figure out how to upload it to the blog we will. All high school girls have to go to school with a MacBook and there is little work done on paper, most is all on the computer. It's quite facinating what they are learning. Danielle continues to play the flute and stays after school two days a week for an orchestra group. Each year the group takes a trip in April. Last year they went to Mexico City. This year you'll never believe where they are going -- CHICAGO! As it turns out they alternate an international destination with something drivable and this year it's, well Chicago. Actually she's looking forward to seeing the city through the eyes of her Canadian classmates. Plus we never took her to the Sears tower and she can finally do that.

In Quebec, high school goes until 11th grade. We're not sure what we'll do if we leave the country before or after that time. After 11th grade the kids go to what is called CEGEP, which is sort of like community college and they get a lot of the basics covered. Then, if they want to continue with higher education they go to "University" -- like McGill, University of British Columbia or several others.  The good news is, that if they choose to go to University, it's about $3,000 per year -- and that's for an excellent education. McGill is on par with Ivy league schools in the states. So, as you can see, taxes are high in Canada, but there are a lot of other things, like college, that are very much supplemented by tax dollars. Anyone with kids in college right now might appreciate a 3K/year tuition bill.

So that's Danielle's school update. It's very different but our thought was, when in Canada, do as the Canadians do. She's the only American girl in her class and is learning a lot about Canada (and the US) from her classmates. 

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