marshmallow pops for a crazy first day of school and a bit about the Washington DC school system

My little darling started school yesterday. Real school. All day school. She’s only 4 (as of Saturday, rainbow birthday party pics are forthcoming), but here in Washington, DC, the public schools start at age 3, though we didn’t take advantage last year.

Now a bit about the school system in DC. (Anyone totally uninterested in DC schools, skip this entire paragraph. And then you’ll jump right to my daughter’s newfound fame.) The DC public school system problems are too big to cover in a post about marshmallows. I will say, the schools are one reason many move to Maryland and Virginia. We decided to stick it out in DC. Sadly, the best public schools are in neighborhoods where homes start around one million bucks. Not in our budget. Private schools in this area are between 20 and 30 grand a year. Not in our budget. In Washington DC, you may theoretically send your child to any public school, even out of your neighborhood. But priority is given to neighborhood kids, and then you and hundreds or thousands of parents enter their kids in a lottery for the remaining spots. The best public schools have very few spots. We had no luck. Enter choice number 2: Charter schools. DC has many. Charter schools are essentially public schools (same structure, same calendar) that are privately run. Like all schools everywhere, there are great charter schools and less than great charter schools. You do the research, apply, and your kid enters the lottery. The best charter schools have a ridiculous number of applications, and getting in on the lottery is like, well…. winnng the lottery. Of all our applications, we were accepted to only one, a brand spanking new charter school. The newness makes this high risk, but I have high hopes for this one… I’m pretty impressed so far. One downside of our charter school scenario is that the school is about a twenty minute commute each way. Sigh. And the public school for our neighborhood is right next to our house. Really, we live next door. Each morning as we pile in the car for our commute in rush hour traffic, that proximity will taunt me. Sigh again.

my daughter’s crazy atypical first day of school

On the first day of school, the Mayor chooses a few schools to visit. Of the couple hundred DC schools, he chose my daughter’s. She and all of her new classmates sat in a circle with the teacher, dozens of parents, politicos, TV cameras and reporters packed in behind them, as the Mayor of DC read them a book (though he did more ad libbing than reading, and got more than a few chuckles from the parents). Then on my way home after picking her up, I get a call from the school. Apparently a reporter snapped my daughter’s picture while she was napping on her cot, and they’d like my permission to publish said picture in The Washington Post. My first response, of course, was “Oh my god, she NAPPED? How did you get her to nap?” So for my daughter’s first day of school–ever!–she hung with the mayor and got her pic in the Post. Pretty memorable.

Also, I made some back to school marshmallows on a stick.
PS. Here’s the Washington Post article about DC charter schools. My daughter is napping in the Gallery photo number 9. I know, napping. I can’t believe it.

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  1. bridget {bake at 350} says

    "Oh my god, she NAPPED? How did you get her to nap?" Haha!!! THAT made me laugh out loud! :) She is SO darn CUTE, Meaghan! Is she holding a little kitty?

    The marshmallows are darling, as usual!

  2. Tracy V. says

    Totally feel your pain on the school systems. I have to tell you though, as I talk to friends and family I am finding most systems in most states seem flawed. Some more than others. I live in Florida, home of some of the WORST schools ever. My kids go to a Charter school now. It's an A school (thank goodness) but they still have to follow the same rules as Public which is administering and teaching to the FCAT, which is a standardized test. It's so flawed and so agravating. All I can do is help my kids at home as much as I can and pray that they do not become part of "dumb america"!! LOL So far so good!! haha
    Love your blog!
    Tracy V

  3. Maggie says

    What a little cutie! And I love her name!! So glad she is a napping at school, now is that rubbing off on her and she is going to nap at home too :-)

  4. Trish - Sweetology101 says

    Oh my! What a little cutie cuddled up with her curly hair and little stuffy! She is a cute kid and now a international superstar and NOT riding on her mom's coat tails for fame. Well..I LOVE your marshies and I will FOR SURE be adding these to Sophia's lunch box when she goes back. Have you ever watched Waiting for Superman….excellent documentary….you da bee's knees.

  5. rudie2shoes says

    She's a cutie pie napping in her cot! Love your blog. I hope you & your family are doing ok & didn't feel too much of an aftershock after the Virginia Earthquake this morning! We felt it here in NY & NJ!

  6. Chic Cookies says

    Just added Waiting for Superman to my Netflix queue. And hmmm, she does have a flair for the dramatic. Ugh. Thanks Rudie2Shoes! We're all OK, even my husband down in VA! Scary though.

  7. Hinna says

    I'm a teacher in Toronto, Canada and I can tell you that rough schools are not only rough on the kids, but the teachers too. With absentee parents, social issues, and learning disabilities, we no longer just teach the curriculum. We have to cajole parents to be interested in their child's education. We become role models, "social workers" and "counsellors" and at times take food from our lunches and give them to our students just so they won't go hungry. And when we do teach, we have to teach students who are at, below, and above grade level all in the same classroom! It is very hard, yet very rewarding work.

    By the way, your daughter is adorable!

  8. Chic Cookies says

    As I was writing I was also contemplating almost exactly that… the challenges teachers have to face in the same environments! Such a huge topic to cover.

  9. Red Couch Recipes says

    Love the marshmallows and the first day of school story. She went in with a bang. Hope your new charter school turns out well. Joni

  10. Sue says

    Meaghan, Your daughter looks so cute, cozy, and comfy! Maybe you'll have to purchase a set-p like that and she'll nap at home:)
    What a memorable first day!
    Yes, you definitely need to see "Waiting for Superman"!
    Love the marshmallows:)

  11. Jenni Price illustration says

    Wow what an exciting first day for your daughter…and for you too!

    Of course I just totally love your Marshmallow pop art…I've just never seen this before. It's so cool!

  12. party flyers says

    Sounds exciting for your little girl. Oh, sweet! Who would want to destroy such cute mallows by eating it. Love those little school stuff on those marshmallows, totally needs to be crafty to create such yummy pieces.

  13. Buttercream Bakehouse says

    wow! That sound like such a hassle with your school system. We live in Northern Virginia and have heard about D.C. school systems being like that. Good luck to you.

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