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School Daze

December 13, 2010

Maybe I’m being too harsh.

It’s certainly possible.

But I am really fed up with the school system in our area.

I haven’t taken a poll of the parents, so my numbers may be slightly skewed. However, I’m willing to bet the farm that the percentage of families in which both parents work is significantly higher than it was, say, back in the days of June and Ward. I’m betting it’s probably somewhere upwards of 75%. And yet, we still seem to be doing everything with the assumption that one parent is home and able to hop on over to the school for (insert event here) at the instant the school determines it should be so.

For example, this past week the school had the First Trimester Awards Assembly. Freddy, who kicked some serious academic butt in the first trimester, was slated to receive an award for getting a 4.0 grade point average.

Really, the entire point is moot because Freddy was ill on the day of the ceremony. But had he been well, I would have needed to be present, at the school, in order to watch him receive his award, whistle or catcall loudly enough that he would know I was there and feel properly proud/embarrassed, and then take some pictures afterward to capture the whole momentous occasion for posterity.

Problem Number One is that I had no idea what time I was supposed to be there.

Let me take responsibility where I should–it has been posted on the school calendar for some time now that awards would be distributed on December 1. However, there has never been a posted time. I certainly could have called the school and asked what time the ceremony would be held for my sixth grader.

In years past, though, we received an e-mail from the school or a note home, letting us know the specifics. In years past, we didn’t plan to attend unless we received said note home or e-mail, because we often had kiddos who were teetering on the edge of the Honor Roll. This was the school’s way of making sure that parents didn’t show up expecting Little Johnnie or Little Susie to get an award and then have to leave in an embarrassed huff because he or she actually hadn’t turned in the homework assignment, or aced the test, or whatever.

I? Didn’t get an e-mail. Or a note home.

I got nothing. No communication whatsoever from the school.

Had I received something from the school, that would have led into Problem Number Two.

Said communication would have stated that the awards ceremony was smack dab in the middle of the school day. At, like, 10:15 in the morning. Late enough that I would have to drive to work, spend approximately an hour and a half deleting at random reading through my 75,000 e-mail messages, get back in the car, drive 30 minutes to the school, circle the school building 600 times searching for a parking spot since the district saw fit to put in 4.3 parking spaces in front of the school, park in the fire lane because by that time it would be that or walk from 3 miles away, spend an hour waiting for the administration to get organized and hand out the awards, do the aforementioned watching, whistling, and picture-taking, drive 30 minutes back to my office, and recoup what was left of my day, so I could get in the car yet again at 5:30pm and drive 30 minutes home.

Far be it for them to a) start the dang thing at 8:25 in the morning, when school starts, so I could drive five minutes to the school, witness the award being given, whistle, picture-take, and head to my office; or b) hold the ceremony in the evening when I could actually get there without being away from work for a huge chunk of midday time.

And really? Do they not know the timing of these things in advance?

Do they arrive at school on the day of the awards ceremony (or even the day prior) and throw darts at a target on the wall in which the little red circles are arbitrary times? I mean, honestly, if they know what they are, couldn’t they just post them on the calendar on the website? Maybe a week or two in advance? So that if I do have to take the time off of work, at least I’m not doing it on a moment’s notice, rescheduling my 57 trillion meetings on my Blackberry in the car on the way… which is dangerous… and illegal… ahem.

This lack of organization is not just at the Awards Assembly level. It stretches across all activities and everything school-related. It has been a thorn in my side for several years now… hmm, just the number of years my children have been in school. What a coincidence.

But wait. There’s more. It’s not just organization that is a challenge. It seems that there are also significant issues with the proper use of the English language. I admit, I’m not 100% perfect in that arena. So I can give a little quarter. But seriously? These people are teaching my children. They’re responsible for their ability to communicate coherently.

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I do understand that the school is not entirely responsible for these things. I understand that I, as a parent, also have skin in that game. I do, however, pay taxes, and a good portion of those taxes goes towards educating my monkeys. So I have concern when things come home that are blatantly misspelled and/or grammatically incorrect.

Like this one in the weekly announcements:
“I.D.’s – Student’s, thank you for doing a great job wearing your I.D.’s.”
I’ve always had an issue with the crazy overuse of apostrophes. Did no one else learn about apostrophes signifying ownership?

And this on the front of my child’s GRAMMAR notebook, on a pre-printed label that made it clear that EACH. AND. EVERY. CHILD. IN. THE. FIFTH. GRADE had the same:
Like Kelsey? Did no one notice this all year? Not even the actual person teaching g-r-a-m-m-A-r?

Pay attention, people. Plan ahead. Communicate clearly. Use spell check. And for the love of all that is holy, have someone proofread before you send a note home to every parent or post it on the website.

Seriously, it costs you in the credibility department.

And? It wreaks havoc with the new, more positive me…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. The Step In Mom permalink
    December 13, 2010 11:22 am

    Our school system is the same freaking way! Like when they sent SS home with a sticker on his shirt letting us know he would be getting an award at the PTA meeting, starting at 6 pm, that night. Wouldn’t you know I don’t pick him up from the babysitters until 6:15….

    Really, you didn’t know before that day there would be an awards ceremony… ugh.

  2. Krysta permalink
    December 13, 2010 11:34 am

    I feel your pain/frustration. I can’t lay all of the blame on the schools because most of the time they give the info to the kids who forget until the day of the band concert to tell me “hey, I have a band concert tonight”.

    Oh and cuz..I be in need of your email address pretty please. I lost it when I upgraded my Office software several moons ago.

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