Newsletter - January 1, 2019Posted by Wendy Cobb on 1/1/2019 12:00:00 PM
HAPPY NEW YEAR FOUNDERS COMMUNITY!
We hope the new year brings everyone happiness, good health, and peace.
In recent weeks we have been reviewing and revising our dismissal procedures at Founders. Our number one concern for all of our 425 students is that everyone is safe. Ensuring our students arrive safely at home each day is a collective effort, one that includes teachers, front office staff, administrators, parents, and after school programs and providers. Founders staff has been working closely with after school programs to make sure all of our procedures are working in concert.
Changes we have made to our procedures to improve the dismissal process:
- We are now dismissing students who are attending the Y program, Parks and Rec programs, and the Edge before regular dismissal so those activities have a chance to let us know in the office if there are students missing that are expected to be there. There are adults from the Y program and Parks and Rec present to meet students and attendance is taken immediately. Programs then contact the office if there are any questions or inconsistencies.
- Teachers are using a common dismissal form that indicates student plans for each day and any changes that have been communicated by families. Teachers are checking in with students each morning to see that they know what their plan is. If students are not clear on their plan, the office is then notified and they follow up with the family. When students are dismissed, the teacher ensures that every child is where they need to be and the form is then dropped off in the office. These are then consulted when and if there are questions.
- Teachers have worked with students to review and practice dismissal procedures, using a Responsive Classroom approach.
Families also play an important role in successfully ensuring students are where they need to be at the end of the day.
Some of the challenges we are experiencing that families can help us with:
- Students are sometimes coming down to the office or telling bus duty staff at the last minute that they are going home with a friend, yet we have not heard from a family member about this. We cannot allow students to change their plans without hearing from a parent. They may say something such as, “My mom told me it was okay.” Maybe that is the case, but we don’t know for sure. We then need to contact the parents to check in about this change during a very busy dismissal time. Sometimes we can't get in touch with parents right away, as buses wait for us to check on this. If we cannot contact the parent, the student needs to follow the plan as we have it in their file for that day.
- Students often come to the office, sometimes at dismissal or close to it, not knowing what their plan is. For example, they think their parent told them to stay at the Y or to take the bus but they are not sure. Again, we need to go with the initial plan. This has improved however, in recent weeks.
- Parents are sometimes popping in and retrieving their child directly from the bus line, without signing them out first. Parents obviously have every right to pick up their child when plans change, however students need to be signed out with the registrar, who is always in the cafeteria at dismissal time. We will then retrieve your child from the bus line. This helps us know that your child has left with an approved adult. We cannot be too safe about this. Keep in mind, our buses arrive early this year, so popping in at the last moment might mean your child has already gotten on the bus.
- We are receiving many last minute changes for after school plans on a daily basis. The office receives anywhere from 40-60 changes per day, (closer to 60 on most days).
What families can do to support a successful dismissal process:
Dismissal time is 3:00, with the exception of Tuesdays, which is 2:00 pm.
- Be sure the front office and your child's classroom teacher has an updated regular schedule for each day after school.
- If your child's after school plans change in any way, please contact the front office and your child's classroom teacher. Contacting both parties ensures the change is communicated clearly. Teachers may not always have an opportunity to check their email (especially if it's a late in the day change) due to their instructional time with students. Be as specific as you can when communicating the change. For example: Include your child's first and last name and their teacher's name. If they are taking a different bus, include any details that tell the bus driver where they are going - an address, to ensure they are dropped off at the correct location. If the change is for more than one day, specify this in your correspondence. The teacher and the office will note these changes on the dismissal form. If they are changing from taking a bus to walking, we need to know about this as well. ANY changes need to be communicated.
- A reminder that Tuesday is an early release day. Students are dismissed at 2:00 pm on Tuesdays.
Ways to report a change - as early as possible is best. Changes that are communicated after 2:00 (after 1:00 on Tuesdays) are challenging.
- Email - To the classroom teacher and the office - registrar email address firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the office - 879-6326 - We will then communicate the change to your child's teacher.
- Send in a hand-written note that can then be shared with the office and the teacher.
Thank you for helping us to ensure the safety of all our students.
Reminder About Lice
With colder weather upon us, there is always a risk of that pesky little creature - lice - to find their way into our school. While we have seen very little of this so far this year (only a few cases), we want to be proactive and send out a reminder. We know that most schools at any time may have a small number of children infected with head lice and cases of head lice often increase following school breaks. This is a reminder to always check your child at home. Schools no longer conduct widespread head checks, which was common practice many years ago. If a child reports to the nurse's office with a concern, nurse Smith will take a look. If lice is found, parents are notified and treatment options are shared. Weekly checks at home throughout the year are a great way to detect cases early. Encourage your children to not share hats, combs, brushes, and hair accessories with their friends. It's a good idea to keep hats in their coat sleeves. Also, if your child attends sleep-overs, you may want to consider checking their heads for signs of lice.
IMPORTANT Dates to Remember
- Thursday, January 10 (7:00-8:00 pm) - Chorus Concert
- Monday, January 21 - MLK Day - No School - Teacher Inservice
- Friday, January 25 - Report cards go home
- February 5-11 FMS Book Fair
- Thursday, February 21 (7:00-8:00 pm) Band Concert
- February 25 - March 1 - Winter Break/No School
Aunt Dot's Place
We are a local Food Bank serving the residents of Essex, Essex Jct., Jericho, Underhill & Westford. We have no paid staff and all of our funding comes from our generous community. Aunt Dot's Place is a registered 501c3 charitable corporation and is an independent organization with no official ties to any religious or secular institutions.
Tuesday 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Thursday 9:00am - 11:00am
Saturday 9:00am - 11:00am
Location: 51 Center Rd, Essex
Serving the communities of Essex, Essex Junction, Jericho, Underhill, and Westford.
In January buy a Fight Hunger Bag at Hannaford's to Support Aunt Dot's
The program is simple!
During the month of January, every Fight Hunger bag sold at the Hannaford store located at: 21A Essex Way, Essex Junction VT will generate a $1 donation to support
Aunt Dot's Place - Food Shelf!
Please consider donating to Aunt Dot's Place. Your donation will stay in your local community and benefit your neighbors experiencing food insecurity.