by Smart Coos
Alina Adams: Getting Into NYC Kindergarten
Alina Adams is a mother of three, and the NYT best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, romance novels, and figure-skating mysteries. Her latest is “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten,” the book of tips and inside secrets for those who can’t afford a private consultant to guide them through the Draconian processes of finding an acceptable school, but still care deeply about their children’s education. She also leads workshops on the subject for individuals, community groups and preschools.
We were very happy to be able to learn more about Alina as we sat down with her for an interview.
What was the inspiration behind your books? Why have you continued?
I believe in school choice. But it’s impossible to make an informed choice if you don’t know what all your options are. In NYC, parents can pick from public, private, religious, magnet, gifted, dual language, traditional and progressive. Some pay thousands of dollars for a consultant. I wanted to write a book for people who don’t have those resources. I list all that’s available and I also have links to where you go to register for public school, G&T testing, charter school applications and more.
How many kids do you have? What is the age of your youngest and oldest? If more than one, did you plan to have that age gap?
My kids are 15, 11 and 8. I would have liked a slightly smaller gap between the older two. Three years felt about right for me. I was too scared to have them any closer together. Too much work!
What is your fondest memory as a mother? Your not so fondest memory? Why?
My kids are funny. I love hearing what comes out of their mouths, especially when they make me look at something in a brand new way. For instance, on Passover, after hearing about the Death of the First Born, my daughter asked, “I thought God was supposed to be the good guy in this story.” On the other hand, one thing I cannot abide is whining. Followed closely by self-pity. And boredom. If a child dares claim they’re bored, I tell them to clean the house.
How does motherhood influence your work? Your business decisions?
“Getting Into NYC Kindergarten” sprang directly out of my own experience. The Department of Education is almost impossible to get a straight answer out of (not to mention, they have a tendency to change their own rules mid-application cycle). The process for applying to public school is different from charter, which is different from private, which is different from Gifted & Talented. I wished there was one unified place to go for all the information parents needed. So I made one.
If you could tell a new mother ONE thing and only one thing, what would it be?
The baby doesn’t care what its room, toys, outfits or stroller look like. The baby only cares that you are there to feed it, change it, pick it up when it cries and maybe an occasional game of peek-a-boo. Don’t stay up nights worrying about the former. You’ll be up enough as it is for the latter.
You have written several books, which of them was your favorite to write? Why? Which book was the most challenging? Why?
My Figure Skating Mystery series was the most fun to write. I spent many years working as a writer/producer/researcher for TV skating broadcasts. I know a lot of behind the scenes dirt. Everyone always asked me, “When are you going to write a book?” And I would always answer, “When I am sure I never want to work again.” I couldn’t write a non-fiction book and name names, so I wrote five novels where I told the gossip I’d always wanted to tell, but any resemblance to characters living or dead is completely coincidental. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. The hardest book to write was “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten.” If people were going to be counting on it, I had to triple-check that everything was accurate. Couldn’t make stuff up like in fiction.
What does the future look like for you, your family and your business?
In NYC, getting into Kindergarten is only one-third of the battle. My oldest applied to high-school two years ago, and the NYC high-school process makes the Kindergarten one look like puppies and kittens in a basket. I’ve got two more kids to apply to high-school, and then my oldest is already talking about college. My hope for “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten” is that it becomes the go-to resource for parents going through the process. I want to update it every year to make sure it stays current.
Twitter: @IamAlinaAdams and @NYGiftedEd Link: http://AlinaAdams.com
Book Link: Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/NYCKBook
You can also find her on Facebook