What do you think of this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
What do you think of this?
15
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:21pm
My neighbor has a DD who is the age to be entering Kindie this coming fall. She has been pretty sure that they are going to continue homeschooling, but she wanted to thoroughly check out all her options prior to making the final decision. Therefore, she contacted several private schools and got information about them, then visited the ones she was interested in, talking with the administration, teachers, checking out how classrooms work, and how the teachers interact with the kids.

Then she calls our local public elementary school. She tells them who she is, where she lives, etc. She tells them that her DD will be entering Kindie this fall, and she would like to come to the school for a tour, and meet the principal and teachers and just get a feel for the school before making a decision of what to do. She asks them when would be convenient for them. Their response? "Oh, we don't do that.". She said, "ummm, I have a child entering your school, and you will not allow me to meet with the teachers or have a look at the school beforehand?", and they repeated that they could allow "just anyone" to enter their school, and she could see the school at the open house the month after her DD started, "like everyone else".

OMG!!!!! *I* almost came unglued at that, and I don't have kids there! She was shaking, she was so upset, and now she is adament that her child will not be going there. I can't say I blame her, but I hate this school anyway. See, I have been IN there, and it is dirty, it is icky, the teachers SUCK! Somehow this ONE elementary school seems to have picked all the reject teachers from around the country! It is horrible. But I just cannot BELIEVE that they won't meet with a parent prior to said parent entering their child. Especially if that parent is considering placing the kid in private school or homeschooling. I mean, the school loses money for every child not enrolled! UGH UGH UGH

PLEASE tell me this isn't normal!

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:25pm
Not normal for here and there is no way I'd send my child to a school that wouldn't allow me to come in for a tour, meeting, observation. I'd stay far away from that situation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:40pm
I have to say that I find that attitude appalling, but it isn't the first time I've come up against it. We're in kind of an unusual situation ourselves -- our kids are in an elementary magnet school, but most of the kids come from one Middle School district. This year my kid starts bringing home all kinds of neat stuff from the Middle School he WON'T be going to -- stuff like they throw a spaghetti dinner in the spring for new 6th graders and their families, passes to a school basketball game, stuff like that. Nice but useless to us because we can't go there. So I think we must be missing something from the school we're assigned to and I call them to and say that we'd like to get on their mailing list and I got a big "hunh?" So I say we're considering them or a private school and I'd like to learn aobut their curriculum, policies, etc., and I get "Well, we have an opn house in the fall, the week before school starts to explain things to you." When I pointed out that we had to make our decision by May 15th, I did get a "Well, you can talk to the principal and see if she wants to give you a tour." Not very enticing. I did eventually call the principal and suggest a more welcoming attitude toward new families (to tell the truth, though, we're so excited about the private school we've chosen that I don't think we'd be going to PS anyway).

If your friend is upset about this treatment (I would be) have her contact a member of the school board, preferably in writing, and tell them what happened and why she's decided against the school.

This is one aspect of the SAHM/WOHM debate that astounds me -- when my kids were little, I got to interview all kinds of providers, choose one that fit our needs and our philosophies, and to some extent, we even had control over the community of other children in the environoment. Yet some criticized us for "abandoning" our kids to daycare. Then when they're five, we're just supposed to unthinkingly throw them into the assigned public cschool and assume the professionals are doing their jobs? And that's OK?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 1:51pm
Hmmm, not the norm here. The only reason I could think of to refuse a tour would be that they don't want "strangers" in the school during school hours when all the kids are there. However, you did say she asked for a time that would be convenient for the school giving them a chance to schedule a meeting either before or after school hours so it doesn't seem that there is any excuse. I wouldn't send my kid to a day care center I couldn't see beforehand, why would I send my kid to a school I couldn't see?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 3:45pm
Well, it does sound pretty unusual. In my experience, I have been allowed to visit or tour any school I ever wanted to, if I called up and explained who I was and why I wanted to visit. No, they usually don't allow people to walk in off the streets to observe classes, and some principals are better than others about tours and such, but I got to take DS to the magnet school last year during the day, so he could see what he would be doing this year, when he entered the GT program.

Remember that the private schools are selling a product, so they have an interest in having people come see what they're selling. In the case of a not-so-good public school, maybe they just don't want anyone to see what's going on, hence the discouragement of visits.

If I were her, I would definitely contact someone higher up in the school system, and if she keeps going high enough, someone might get her a visit to the school. But I think I'd hesitate to send a child to that school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 3:57pm
I think this is for safety.My kids school has an open house for us to meet everyone.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 3:59pm
We have a similar policy at our school with regard to meeting with the principal. She is much too busy to meet with every new parent each year, so we have an open house (PRIOR to the start of the school year) where she is approachable. From a practical stand point, it depends on the size of your school. Our school is one of the smallest elementary schools in the county and it has 530 children in Kindergarden through 6th grade. There can be anywhere from 60-90 new kindergardeners each year plus 50-70 or so new students (in other grades)- so it would be impossible for the principal to meet individual with each family and do all the other things she does. This is a very highly respected school in a well run county system.

I know you can arrange a tour of the school and depending upon availability meet with a teacher - but that teacher may or may not be your child's teacher as the classes are not determined until the summer.

Janet

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 4:03pm
My son's school is VERY picky about who comes in there, and I'm glad. It's a safety issue.

I don't know why they couldn't offer to show her the school when classes aren't going on, but the sad truth is that ANYONE could call and say they were the parent of a prospective student, and while chances are good that the person would be telling the truth, there's always the off chance that they might actually have other motives for wanting access to the school.

I applaud our school's efforts for keeping strangers away from the students, and I really think that that's probably all this is.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 5:41pm
Not normal at all.

My DDs have attended at total of 15 schools and I don't think any of them would have treated the parent of a potential student like that. In fact today was the 8th grade award prensentation at DD3's middle school and the principal for the school that most of them will be attending next year was there and invited the parents and students to stop by anytime to check them out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 6:35pm
Was your friend wanting a dog and pony show? Public schools have alot of students, they don't have time to entertain parents at their beckon call. Every school I have ever heard of has open houses on a regular basis where you can tour the school and meet the staff. One on one guided tours to see how the teacher interacts with students is ridiculous. I, for one, as a parent don't want strangers off the street in my dd's school when i am not there to oversee. Furthermore, I would prefer her teacher concentrate on her students rather than inquiring minds.

If your friend thinks the school should drop what they are doing to entertain her, then should stick to homeschooling or private schools (they have all the time in the world there as their goal is to admit children to their school versus focus soley on education).

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 8:19pm
We use private school and the principal gives the tours, not the teachers because they don't want to disrupt the value of education which is of the utmost importance. However they do schedule tours throughout the school year and yes, they do allow parents to sit in quietly and observe classes to see how things are done. I've yet to hear one complaint about these practices, all have been good reports about how the school handles these ventures.

And if the open house for public school can be attended the year before enrollment or anytime before enrollment then that is a great idea. But to enroll your child and have the open house after the fact is a moot point. Our public schools do allow guided tours, again by counselors/principals, and for you to set up a time to meet and talk w/teachers (before/after school, during their planning period, etc) which is important imho when you are talking about putting your children in there from 7:15 to afternoon.

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