is this normal?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2004
is this normal?
10
Tue, 08-07-2012 - 9:44pm

My children start school tomorrow.  We are military and moved this summer for the first time in 6 years.  At our previous school, they had new student/kindergarten orientation and the new students got to meet their teachers at that time so they wouldn't be nervous entering a classroom where they were the new kid, not even knowing the teacher.

Well, we registered our kids and I asked if there was an orientation.  I was told for the kindergarteners only.  I asked when class lists would be out.  I was told today at 2.  I asked if the kids would get to meet their teachers at that time.  I was told yes.I confirmed it yesterday via email.  I show up at 2 today, only to be told the lists would be out at 3.  Okay, I go to the parking lot and wait for an hour.  When the lists came out, I went to find the classrooms with my kids.  My older one's door was locked and light off.   My younger one's light was on and there was someone in there.  Before I could stop him, he was knocking on the door.  The teacher opened the door and said that noone was allowed in until tomorrow. 

I guess, since I had children at the same school for 6 years, I just don't know the way schools work anymore.  Do most schools not have an orientation for new students or allow students to meet teachers unitl the first day of school?  One of the other schools in our district had information night last night, but kids don't get to meet the teachers until tomorrow.  Another school was having a big back to school bash with a bbq and a meet and greet your teacher tonight. 

I feel like telling the principal that her office staff isn't communicating correct information and that kindergarteners aren't the only new students.  I don't know if that's the tact I want to take right now.  I could be emotional since I've been here a month and won't have my house until tomorrow (living in a long term hotel suite isn't fun) and my stuff won't be delievered until Friday.  So, am I over reacting?

Thanks for any info/advice.

Kellie

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 4:38pm

Yes, there is a time and place to bring things up.......... but not in such a way that gets you labeled as a 'problem parent' (yes that we me who make the comment).  I find that if you are new, it's better to see how things work and what the dynamics of the school is before making suggestions.  One might be able to find a sympathetic ear on the staff somewhere that can help with your cause, or one may find that the Principal is one that listens to no one but him/herself (so making suggestions is like hitting your head on a brick wall).  Being the new parent and telling them that their system stinks can make people defensive-- I prefer a lighter hand. I am well known by the staff at our boys' school-- known for being a hands on parent, known for asking questions, known for checking in with the teachers and staff regularly, known for caring for the entire student body and staff-- but also known for speaking my mind when necessary.  But I do it in such a way that no one has a need to feel defensive.

 

If one tries to tackle an issue when emotions are high, sometimes things can get out of hand.... so waiting a few days until emotions calm down a bit is often a better tactic (unless actual harm to the child is imminent).




Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Fri, 08-10-2012 - 5:37pm
I hope they didn't make you wait. Or put your kids down for not having a parent there. (In a military area they should be used to only one parent being on duty!)

A friend of ours is starting 6th grade this year and has to attend a "Mandatory" orientation. It is right in the middle of 4-H fair (which this girl has gone to nationals for her area, I think it is fair to say that this is important to her and her family.) The mom was stressing how to get all the stuff done that needed to be done - fair is the opposite end of our large county.

I asked her what will they do if she doesn't show up? Make her stay home from school? I am sure that there will be other kids who planned vacations way in advance who will not be there either.

A son a friend last year won first place for his 4-H cow and was supposed to go to state fair. But there was a hurricane, which meant that state fair was delayed, to the first day of school. His mother decided it was more important for him to attend that first day of ninth grade than to go to fair, be allowed get his prize money, and auction his cow for a couple of thousand dollars toward college. He ended up sitting in the gym and listening the staff read the student handbook aloud. Great use of time.

In reality, there is nothing that happens the first day while parents and kids are there that can't be handled later or with a letter home. I think with my daughter the teacher had a handout for us that explained everything exactly that she said.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
In reply to: t09w
Thu, 08-09-2012 - 9:05pm

I know things vary from one school to another, but this seems very unorganized and unprofessional. As a former teacher, I find it appalling that the teacher would tell you that no one was allowed in. Sounds like a teacher who didn't want to spend time. Even as a high school teacher, had a student or parent come to my class wanting to meet me, I would have stopped what I was doing and spent time with them.

Another poster suggested you not say anything at the school or you'll be labeled as a complainer (I can't remember the exact words, but something along those lines). I don't agree. I wish more parents would speak up when things are goofy, don't make sense, or just plain wrong. Things can't change for the better without people speaking up. I speak up a lot at my son's school. Sometimes it's a compliment about something that has been done very well, sometimes it's to question what went on. I don't do it in a nasty way. Some of the things I've brought up to teachers or administrators have been changed because of my comments. I get tired of other parents just complaining to one another, but not being willing to speak up. That frustrates me. So please, speak up and try to make things better for future parents and students. That's my advice.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 10:02pm

We were bumped to a neighboring school zone for 1st grade due to crowding at our K school.  There wasn't "orientation" per se, but the school office facilitated setting up a meeting for us to say hello and get a tour with ds a week or so before school started.  I guess it's water under the bridge for you by now; hope the first day went well!

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 3:52pm

Most schools have orientation for K students only.  Very few include new (not K) students.  Some have elaborate back-to-school get togthers, some have brief 'meet-the-teacher' open houses, and some have none of that.

 

I know the whole move has been emontionally draining for all of you, but making a fuss at the school at this point will not make things better.  More likely it will get you listed as 'that nutty Mom' by the staff (and not in a good way).  The best thing to do is take a deep breath, try to relax, and plan on having good times at this school.  I find a positive attitude can go along way toward making everyone mosr at ease.  I too dislike being dropped in new places with no knowledge of the place, but I find if I try to be positive things usually turn out better that I had hoped.

 

Good luck!  :smileyhappy:




Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 12:34pm

We only have orientation for kindergarten and freshman (our schools are k-8 so unless you move or transfer you are in the same school until high school) Orientation for kindy usually is on the first day of school or some schools start kindy a few days after. Don't know any schools around here that hold an orientation before school for elementary. My neice starts middle school this year, its a new school her town is k-5 and 6-8 schools and she has orientation next week but school doesn't start for her until September 5th. Most high schools here will do the day before the actual start date as freshman orientation. Teachers do have to report the day before schools are closed to students and parents until the actual first day.

Our school the communication isn't that great. Some staff and teachers are great at it others have like no people skills. The VP was so hung up on the darn contract (he was the union rep at the time it was written and apparently very proud) school starts at 8:15 and per contract teachers start at 8:15 on the NOSE. Now many teachers get parents work so will have before school hours. Well getting past him even with an appointment in the morning. First time I DS was sick I called the school. Well was trained in day care CALL. I call "well why are you calling just send a note" but in the handbook it says call. So we are apparently supposed to call but when you do you get the attitude but when you don't you get the recording phone call. Stating your kid was out. Oh somedays I really worry. If they can't all be on one page what are they teaching the kids???

Sounds like its a very stressful time with the start of school and DH being away. Sometimes that magnifies a situation. Start of the school year can be crazy for everyone so hopefully things will smooth out.

Photobucket
Community Leader
Registered: 06-27-2006
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 9:44am
I always hated moving for this exact reason! I totally agree that it would be so great for schools to have new student orientation for all levels of new students. Most don't, unfortunately.

We'll be starting a new school this year as well (along with Riley starting school for the first time) and I haven't seen anything regarding new student registration. So, I guess I'll haul them Monday morning and get them registered. *sigh*

As for the kids, I'm sure they will be fine and have no problems with the transition. Sometimes, it's harder on us than them. :smileytongue:

BTW, how did the first day go?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 7:50am

Kellie - {{hugs}} first of all - sounds like a crazy week, especially with your dh gone! We moved into our current house the day before school started, literally. When people asked "when did you move in," I replied, "well, my husband is unloading the truck right now!" I know how stressful it is.

I think you should definitely forward that email and nicely let the office/principal know what really happened "for other new parents next year." Honestly, that's pretty ridiculous. All the schools in our district do different things but they all at least have a quick meet-and-greet to drop off school supplies and meet the teachers. And there is a separate new student orientation. You're completely not over-reacting; it doesn't sound like they're doing a lot to help new families. Our PTA also has a welcoming committee; notifying the PTA that this is a real need in the community might be another avenue to help.

I hope your move in and your kids' first day of school goes well!!

Theresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2004
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 1:12am
I hope they don't expect me to wait while they explain things. I have two children at this school and one at the nearby middle school that I have to get to school. Last year they had a bus for kids going to the elementary school from our neighborhood. This year they don't. They don't have a middle school bus either and the middle school gets out an hour later. The schools are 1/2 mile apart but too far for me to go home between pick ups. So far this school system isn't impressing me! Oh, and my husband is gone this week thanks to a military school, so this is all on me! Kellie
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
In reply to: t09w
Wed, 08-08-2012 - 12:20am
I think it sucks. But it is probably how they have "always" done it. The school my daughter started at I went in ahead of time to meet the teacher and they thought I was nuts. I was supposed to show up with my child and take her to the classroom and then wait while the teacher explained how things worked in her room, need for volunteers, need for supplies. The crazy thing is, this was supposed to happen every year, K-6. I have 3 kids that potentially would have been there!

Oh, and school lists didn't come out until 2 days before school started. It was a ploy to keep parents from trying to switch kids around. They had a wait period of 3 weeks then you could switch, if there was room. My daughter's kinder teacher lost 8 boys at that point - I wish I had realized why because this school had an unwritten policy that the teacher the older sibling had for kinder would be the same for the younger. And this teacher was NOT a good match for my active but sweet son with speech issues. I tried to have it so he didn't get her, but they did, so the day before school started I had to tell him that he was homeschooling with his sister who I had also pulled (because she is gifted and they didn't have programs due to cuts.) He was very disappointed, but it was a great thing in the end.

I hope that your kids have a great day tomorrow. Do check with the office and see if you are supposed to go into the classrooms in the morning. This was not communicated clearly at my daughter's school. My family had always had the tradition of kids getting on the bus and getting photos taken the first day of kinder. I would have not gone had they not told me when I went in to meet the teacher.