Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Open House, take 1

In an effort to reduce crowding both on campus and in the parking lot, my sons' school has several open house nights. Tonight was Parker's night. I left the boys with Steve *despite Parker's pleas to go with me* and drove to school. Parking was (surprisingly) easy. We all gathered in the cafeteria for a welcome message from the Principal, who promised to keep it short, knowing there were parents who had children at other schools also holding open house, and she wanted to be respectful of every one's time (bonus point #1).

She went over the general rules and regulations. Evidently, this year the emergency alert system will text your cell phone (if the office has it on file) if there is a problem. I'm thinking - that's pretty high-tech and rather cool! She also wants to hold an emergency response night to help train the parents in what we are to do in case of an emergency. I'm guessing all of us dashing to the school in total panic and chaos demanding our children and being completely unreasonable and irrational is NOT what she wants to see.

She talked about programs at the school, advised us of the difference between making a donation to the school and taking advantage of Arizona's Tax Credit for Education regulations. She mentioned the possibility of our school becoming an IB school. (International Baccalaureate - which would be WICKED COOL)

And then she said this: "I wanted to find a nice way to put this, but there is not a nice way to put it. Your children need to be in school, on time, every day." She went on to explain how tardiness teaches the children that it is OK to be late, taking kids on vacation during the middle of school teaches them school is not important since missing 2 weeks is commonplace. She was completely direct, pulled no punches and made no apologies. She reminded parents that school has very generous vacation times built into the school year, and she ran the point home that our attendance directly impacts both the funding we receive from the government and the state. Our attendance also impacts our Arizona Grading system - of which we are proudly an EXCELLING school.

"But the best AIMS scores in the state won't make up for poor attendance. We need you to get your children here, every day, on time, with no excuses."

This woman is now my personal hero.

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