Starting in the fall of 1989, I taught at the Robert Reid Laboratory School in Cheney. In 1985/86, the Cheney school district entered into an agreement with EWU to staff the school with teachers and make it one of the Cheney school district schools. Teacher training would continue to be a focus and the teachers working in the school for the district took many practicum students, allowed countless students to observe through the towers, and often spoke to classes of education students on campus. Reid was considered sort of a "choice" school, and wasn't really tied to any particular parts of Cheney.
I was already sort of familiar with Reid after transferring my son to that school two years earlier. I'm just going to say this now, for the first time, and by the time I get finished talking about this woman, you will all be wanting to meet her! I moved my son his kindergarten year to Reid so that he could have Leslie Cicero, the most fabulous kindergarten teacher ever!! My son was a bright student who by the time he was in kindergarten could already read and do pretty high math problems in his head. He had a vivid imagination and wrote and illustrated numerous stories (volumes!) about a world he created full of shapes that were his characters. This fascination sometimes took precedent over other required school work. His first kindergarten teacher did not seem to appreciate him for who he was and by December, he was refusing to go to school. At that time I was still teaching in Spokane, twenty-six miles away, and was struggling to figure out what to do. And then some people started to talk about Leslie, and I thought, she is the teacher for him. I moved him after Christmas break and what a difference it made for him! Because Leslie valued individuality, encouraged drama through literature and poetry, and had a very creative nature, he blossomed. I watch children today in school situations that are not compatible for them and what I see happening is them practicing school the wrong way. That was what was happening for my son. With the intervention of a not only compatible, but also a highly creative and capable teacher, he started practicing school the right way. I am forever indebted to her! Thank you Leslie!
So you can imagine how I felt when I found out I would not only be at Reid to teach preschool, but that my classroom would be next door to hers! Score! That was the beginning of a great ten year partnership. I will have more to say about my time at Reid over the next several weeks. Here is a picture from the front page of the Cheney Free Press in August of 1989, showing the new teachers hired by the district that year. Got to love small town papers!