school dilemma - need advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2003
school dilemma - need advice
16
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 1:17am
I am posting this here because I would very much appreciate advice/perspective from all types of mothers. I have 3 children and my oldest is currently in 1st grade. My dilemma is we bought our house in the area we did because of the great reputation the local school had. We were thrilled with the attentive teachers, friendly & welcoming faculty and warm environment ... this continued through our child's first year at the school. Now this year there is a new principle and some of the previous teachers are gone because they went to start up a new school in a newly built neighbourhood. 2 of these previous teachers were a joy to see every day, they always said good morning and had a positive attitude. They helped direct the morning chaos and they knew the kids and parents by name. It was wonderful to walk into the school every morning ... these were individuals that parents/ kids really appreciated and it felt good to leave your child in their hands.

Well, now this year things have changed and it is VERY disappointing! When I walked my child into the school and kissed her goodbye I stood back with a handful of other mothers, who were there previous years, to wave goodbye. I listened as the PE teacher growled at the student body (who must sit in the gym until final bell rings) about how she thought it was "ridiculous" that there were so many kids at school so early and that they should plan "better". I looked at my watch ...it was 8:06, class starts at 8:10!! Then she approached myself and a handful of other parents who were saying a final goodbye to their kids and asked us rudely if we had "some kind of problem". She made it very clear that our presence was not appreciated by her.

School has only been going 2 weeks and already parents are no longer allowed in the front area to pick up our children, we are made to stand outside on the curb side by traffic where the children are shuffled out. The first day this happened I could not locate my child, and no one knew where she was exactly ... well she was sitting inside waiting for me. I had to get very firm with the teacher guarding the door to let me inside to find this out!! Now we told via newsletter that all doors will be locked except for the front ( I have concerns about fire safety), that parents are no longer supposed to approach a teacher before, after or during school ... instead a formal appointment must be made or wait until quarterly conferences, parents are no longer able to visit the school for lunch, ect., students are supposed to be "dropped off" outside the school and we as parents are not allowed to enter because they say the doors need to be kept clear in case of emergency ... which I completely understand EXCEPT that an emergency vehicle would never get within a hundred yards of the school because of the chaos that is tolerated outside ... kids being dropped of, parents pulled over & parked in the fire lane, ect. I refuse to leave my 6 year old amongst the honking horns and traffic of the curbside of the school ... I want to fight for my right to walk my child safely inside! Is that too much to ask.

I know this is very long ... but my point besides the venting, is how do I get the school back to a friendly environment where parents are viewed as assets to the school, and are respected ... where a teacher/ faculty member knows you & your child and you can form some sort of relationship with those that work at the school. Right now there are many parents who feel insulted and are throwing up their hands ... there is talk of some leaving the school & pulling their kids out. I have an investment in this school ... I want my children to go here .... but I want it to be a school where I am not an intruder or a stranger and especially where I am not viewed as an inconvenience unless I am giving money for yet another fund raiser... I want to walk in & see smiling faces again instead of scowls and children crying because they are confused because instead of someone helping them they are yelled at & told to get to where they belong. My kid who looked forward to school all summer (crazy kid! Hahahaa!!) is now resisting because she says the teachers are in bad moods. This is crazy! What do I do & how without causing my child to be singled out by disgruntled faculty???

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 1:39am
Can you get some of these parents together and meet with the school/teacher reps/principles as a group and voice your concerns?
Avatar for homesicktxn
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 9:19am
This is kind of anti-parent attitude is in my list of top ten reasons to homeschool. Honey, I would have cussed that P.E. teacher out. I know that you probably won't homeschool, but it really just makes me angry that as soon as those kids walk into that school door, and they act as if you loose all control. WRONGO! This is still your child. You are still in control. I would write a formal complaint to the school board, and include the disrespectful attitude you got from the P.E. teacher. The locking of the doors and having to wait probably won't change because it is supposed to be a safety measure, but there *sounds* like there is an air of "ED-U-KAT-ORS" around there who shun parental involvement. Go to the next PTA meeting and bring it up there. Make an appointment with the principle and do NOT let him/her see you intimidated. Anyhow, I gotta run. HTH

April

mom to 2 boys and 3 girls

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 11:40pm
this is probably the best idea. if the parents make enough noise, they might see some change. i cant believe "educators" have this ugly attitude. if they were smart, they would welcome the parents, and life would be easier on *everyone* all the way around. i cant imagine being told i cant go eat lunch with my first grader.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:12am
Well first let me assure you the doors all open from the inside so no need to worry about the fire hazard of the doors being locked. Remember why the doors are locked... this prevents strangers from coming into the school and also keeps check points to one place of entry. So hang in there with that one.

Now.... having a little more expereince than you... my youngest is in 3rd grade. I will tell you it is hard to change the whole school. I think stepping back and being observant for a little while longer. Could be that the gym teacher was reprimanded by the principal for "allowing" parents to hang around, could be the new principal is trying to tighten the strings on the school, could be any number of things. Personally, I would make an appointment with the principal and have a written list of concerns. Speak only for yourself and your experience and respect that she may have an agenda that is a little less warm fuzzy... and that could just be different than what you are used to. I know for our K-2 school when we first met the principal he seemed like a control freak - yeah sir type guy.... but as our 3rd one left his school last year I was in tears... I did not want to have to leave. It takes time to get the school environment all about the kids... and possibly this new principal was brought in to make some tough changes.... that are not going over well.

Now if things just get to a point where you truly feel it is about control and not about the kids... go to your superintendent and let him know who you are and your concerns. When my youngest was in 3rd grade the principal was awful... great with the kids but did not have a clue about management. The PTA got together and we did nt run him out of town but we just let the super know we were not ok with status quo.... a child in my son's class was tossing chairs and was in my son's eyes being rewared by doing it.... oer the principal's plan. So then I was on the hiring committee for the new principal and she interviewed well and had all the credentials... but I am still not sure... it has been 3 years. So always remember to avoid getting sucked into the mass metality... form your own opinion and remember 1st grade is a little less warm fuzzy than K and proceed carefully. Good luck ~ Courtney

Courtney

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day... there's a great big beautiful tom

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:21pm
DO NOT GO TO THE PTA MEETING AND MAKE AN ISSUE OF THIS. The PTA does not run the school. As the Treasurer of our school's PTP I can assure you that the PTA has no say over the policies of the school. Those are decided by the principal and other managing staff at the school. Please set up a meeting with those people who are making the decisions, probably the principal or assistant principal.

Generally, the role of a PTA (or other parent teacher organization) is to enrich the school experience by providing things not included in the school's budget. In our school we run enrichment programs like Meet The Masters, Math Superstars, Reader's Teas, etc. We do not have ANY say in how the school policies and procedures are set up. And if parents try to bring these issues up at our general meetings we always politely tell them that we have no control over these issues and that they must meet with the school administration to resolve such issues.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:49pm
Only replying to your concerns for fire safety. In the States on public buildings even if the door can not be opened from the outside to get in, a door can be opened from the insides to get out.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:50pm
Go to the school board with your concerns and with a bunch of like minded parents in tow.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:53pm
This is just my 2 cents... nothing more. If it me I may consider taking my children out of the school they are in now to the smaller school. To from what i read in your post... it may be the healthier enviorment for everyone.
Avatar for homesicktxn
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 8:43am
hmmm. I did not know that. It has been a while since i was in PTA, and I was thinking it was more like a parents group thing. Sorry.

April

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 2:06pm
The PTA does not run the school, but if there are parents with serious concerns about the way the school is being run, they have every right to coolective bargaining, and the PTA should be able to exert some leverage over school policies, or at least present the concerns in a reasonable fashion.

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