Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There have to be better ways

My oldest starts Kindergarten next Monday. It's a big milestone.

But what's making me anxious isn't worry about him. He'll do fine. He loves school. He's never looked back, since the first day of preschool 3 years ago.

What's bothering me is the lack of information from the school.

Now, I admit I'm type-A when it comes to things like this. I'm a planner and a doer. I like to know what's going on. 

But here we are less than a week before school starts and I have no information - no bus number or time, no teacher name, etc. 

Talking to friends with kids already in the school, I've heard there's a teacher meet and greet before school starts. But I haven't received any information about it. Apparently that is when we'll find out who his teacher is and where his classroom will be. 

I did look on the school's website and find that it is scheduled for Friday afternoon. But why did I have to look at the website for that information? I'm on the school's list-serv. I've received emails with the school supply lists and notice that we'll be getting a book rental bill.

Apparently money is more important than students. At least, that's what the lack of communication regarding something as basic as the date and time of the meet and greet indicates to me. That date has to have been set weeks or months ago. Yet the first notice I got was looking it up for myself. Which I only did because other parents told me there should be such a thing.

I spoke to the transportation secretary today. Bus info was mailed today, so we should have it by tomorrow. I sure hope so. Per the school's website, Wil needs to know his bus number and where it picks up and drops off. With a 5 year old (probably older kids too), that requires a few days of repetition. Luckily our bus stop should be at the corner, just 1 house away.

I called and spoke to the school secretary today. I had a few questions. She explained. I mentioned that I hadn't received any emails regarding the meet and greet and had to look it up myself.

She claimed the information had been sent and I must have missed it. And that I should have been told about it when I registered my child. Back in April. Because I should remember something from 4 months ago. (Although she admitted that maybe they hadn't set the date that far back.) I pointed out that being new to the system, I didn't know how it worked. Even if I was told something 4 months ago, in the midst of all the form-filling, it may not have registered.

An email about School Welcome and Meet the Teacher was sent about a half hour after my phone call, with letters of introduction from the new principle and assistant principle. I guess they forgot to send it earlier.

I still think there could be better ways to do all this.

Communicating better would be a big help.

We live in the 21st Century. I understand that the current system is better than when they just posted the lists on the school doors the night before and parents crowded around to see what class their kid was in. But that doesn't make this better.

The school claims they are still making class lists. That, since more kids are enrolling every day, they can't finalize the lists until the day before school. I call BS. Plenty of other school systems (example: neighboring RBB) can send a letter a few days, in not a week or two, before school starts with pertinent class information. If the majority of students have already enrolled, they should have pretty balanced classes already, and should just need to add new students as they come in.

As it is, they are punishing those of us who registered early, making us wait for folks who, for whatever reason, couldn't or didn't register earlier. Why can't there be an early cutoff point, say August 1st, when the class rosters are prepared? Are there really SO many more students (more than, say 25% of any given class) registering late that would throw off the balance of a class?

There have to be better ways to do all this.


  1. When I think back to my days as a student, this is *exactly* the kind of BS that comes to mind. Endless disorganization. And when I complained, they just said, "Well, everyone *else* seems to know." I suspect that a lot of the parents who are registering at the last minute are doing so for the same reasons you're having trouble-- lack of communication & organization on the school's part. Sorry to hear you're subject to their disorganization. I hope things improve once the school year gets rolling and everyone (including the school) finds their groove.

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  3. True about communication! Nowadays with e-mail, SMS, twitter and so on, you'd think it would be easy and quick to spread the news...

    The change of principal and vice-principal this year could certainly be part of the explanation. They are probably discovering some new things and are also doing them a little differently. Communication style and content might change for that reason.

    That said, I think it is really too harsh when you write "Apparently money is more important than students". That school is one of the best public schools in town, with a very good reputation. You already know that. Yes, they might be slow before school starts, but they cannot be accused of being poorly organized or not caring about the students. The teachers and staff are really hard working, and the parents are very supportive.

    Mostly, we have tried to let them do their job and we have had a good experience so far.


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