or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Public School questions
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Public School questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I don't post here much, but I do lurk in this forum

I have a 4 yr old ds who will be going to kindergarten next fall. We would like to send him to private school, but with a 3 yr old, the tuition would be difficult to come up with (I stay home full time).

We are in one school district and my mother is another one. So I have the choice of 2 elementary schools. My question here is: What should I ask of the schools for them to convicne me to send my son there? Should I ask them what type of reading programs they have? How many computers? How many students? Exactly what?? Either school would be considered a "rural" school, so they should be smaller than a city school. I'm also very concerned with the whole "drop the kid off and drive away". I mean, they don't expect kindergartners to just be dropped off do they??

Thanks in advance for any replies. Have a great day
post #2 of 10
I like smaller sachool with active PTA. I would certianly go with a school with have large parent involvment. We have tons of free after shcool classes for grades 1-8 ran by parents, form chess to cooking! Ask how they teach kids to read? I liked phonics rather than whole text. How much homework (I really think 20 minutes per week for the K grade is plenty) Yes, you do just drop them off in the most of the Ks. One reason is fairness . Some kids have working moms and it would be unfair that some moms could stay with their kids and others could not. Teacher wants to establish classroom as a separate place etc. There are K teacher who are exact opposite and wnat you to stay if child has a separation issue. In my experiecen, staying just prolonges the anxiety. However, it does not mean that I never see my son in the classroom. In K, I volunteered to be teacher's healper once a wekk. It worked out great. I got to know everything, observe my son and help the teacher a lot! My son loved it. My son is in 1/2 grade and I still come to his classroom for art Program. I talk to the teacer 1-2 a week. It is very imporatnt. I hate when people say "You are leaving you child with stangr"...because I do not think of our teacher as a stanger. Teacher is not or should not be a stanger. when our assitat teacher was ill, all parent volunteered to bring food to her. Would you do it for a stanger?I am also active in PTA (not meetings but help with family Fun activities), I shaperone on field trips when I can etc.
it is importnat to prepare you child for K. Discuss what it is like, how exiting it is. Your school can also give you a K preparedness list which is very hepful. You can go over it with your child in the summer
Our son;s b-day is in spet, so we invited his entire class and parents to get to know each other, and it was great. you can also have get to know party in your house. It is great to knao eveyone
You can also consider waiting a year if you child is shy. We kept our older son in pre K group in our pre shcool for social reason and it was benefitial for us.
post #3 of 10
You can check out the school's report card from the state and peek at how well the kids test and how many of the teachers have master's degrees. I would sneak into a PTO meeting to chat with other parents about the teachers and staff, try to get a copy of the last newsletter to check out what is going on. The computers- bells & whistles are great to have, but what makes or breaks a good public school IMHO is how truly parent friendly it is and the teacher's personality. Interview the principal as if you are interviewing a nanny and ask for a tour of the school to see physical classroom. ASk flat out if any of the Kgnd teachers had student teachers in the last year and also if the Kdgn teachers are doing any grant writing - those will be classrooms to avoid. You should be able to get a look at the curriculum or goals/programs at your local public library. If the principal acts like they are doing you a favor or you are inconviencing them somehow, remember you pay their salary.

Louisana DOE report cards are in PDF format 2002 reports and I think they should be listing any ps not meeting state guidelines here also- FYI when reading the reports remember-
Because each state sets its own passing grades,report cards are vulnerable to grade inflation. Both Louisiana and Wisconsin report to parents that 88% of their fourth graders are good readers. But the National Assessment of Education Progress, a national test authorized by Congress, found only 15% of the fourth graders in Louisiana and 35% in Wisconsin were good readers.

I think this is pretty honest tool-
and you can use this too.
find any schools profile here

But none of these things beat actually hanging out at the school right before the Kdgns get released for the day and talking to another parent. You can request the Kdgn teacher you prefer and the principal should honor it if you do it in writing in June before the class lists are drawn up. Good luck!
mom of 4
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Alenushka, thanks so much for your input. I really appreicate it.

Vanna's mom, thank you so much for those links. I"m going to check them out at lenght after the kids go to bed tonight. Can I ask, are you in Louisiana?? Also, another great idea you had was to talk to other kinder parents.

Aaacckk, I'm really really having a hard time with the drop off at the curb thing. My ds doesn't have seperation issues, he does go to pre-k 3 times a week now and on Monday's I do drop him off, but there are teachers who take him out of the car and walk him straight to his classroom, so I know he's going to the right place and not in any danger of being snatched or whatever.

Thanks again
post #5 of 10
Nope I'm in Il. You know you can just park up the block and walk them to the door. Lots of kids walk to school w/parents and no one can force you to leave your child at the curb to walk alone to the door. My older kids teachers were always at the door waiting but that was the time to chat with other moms and arrange playdates etc.. so I always parked and walked them in. When I was reaching many parents walked their kids right into my room, usually bringing snack or something or wanting to see kids artwork or class hamster
You know, I worried more about my ds leaving the line walking to wander around the playground equipment then get locked outside of the school and not be able to walk around to find the front door and push the right button to get allowed to enter then a snatching. Hope you find the info you need!
post #6 of 10


O,issunderstood you. I thought you meant leaving in the clasroom. No, one one leave kids at the curb in our school until 1 grade and in one specific place where prinicipal greets them. In K grade you wait with them at the door, and then the teacher takes them in. In fact, our K has a separate area for luch and playground. Our school is k-8, but later in K grade they get a reading buddy from 2 grade and they do a lot of other intergrade activities too
post #7 of 10
I think it is normal to have all these anxieties about kindergarten when your first baby is going there! I agree with others who have said to just go hang around the school you think you want, talking to other parents and such. Before my son went to k-garten, I went and observed in each of the two available k-garten classrooms, so I could form an opinion of which teacher would suit him. You'd think that k-garten classrooms are essentially similar, but these two were quite different from one another in attitude and tone, and even amount of sunshine getting in the windows, so my choice was clear, and luckily he got the teacher I wanted for him.

In our district there were many, many transitional activities to get everyone "warmed up" for k-garten. The teachers visited the primary preschool inthe area to meet the children. The children then got to visit the k-garten twice, once to see the room, and another time just to ride the bus to school to get used to that. Then, the kindergarten teacher sent postcards several times during the summer to my son. She also asked them to plant a sunflower seed in June that would be grown around the time k-garten started. I think these were wonderful ideas that kept my son (and his worried parents!!!) looking forward to kindergareten, and they helped us to get to know the teacher too. By the time we brought him the first day, we were very comfortable. His teacher greeted all the k-gartners and had them meet under a big beach umbrella on the front steps. The parents stood by (some of us weeping with joy and waved goodbye to our little 'uns. It was a great experience.

So, I would agree, that the school that is most welcoming to parents, and most supportive to chidlren, is the one for me. I think it would be unusual to find a school that supportive that didn't also have strong academics.

Good luck with your decision!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassuring words Lauren I didn't have this big of a problem when he went to pre-k. LOL. I guess because this is the "real deal" and we "have" to go to school every day, wake up, get dressed, you know, be part of the real world??

I'm going to be making an appointment with both schools next week, and then in the next few weeks, hang out a bit at the school (if they admin says it's ok) and check it out. I do know they have open house in the spring for incoming students and then again like 2 weeks before school starts. These schools are pretty small, k-4th grade, then they transfer to a middle.

Thanks again for the info and for calming me down
post #9 of 10
I just wanted to ask about this drop off and drive away thing. I have never heard of this. That sounds crazy to me. I can't imagine why it would be perceived as "unfair" to other kids to have the help of one of their classmates' moms in the classroom. Any teacher I know, public school or not, is thrilled to have a parent helping in the classroom. My son goes to a parent cooperative nursery school and the parents take turns working in the classroom in addition to the credentialed teacher/director. But not all the parents work; some are non participating; they choose to pay more money instead of work in the classroom. Nobody perceives this as unfair to the children whose parents are not there, in fact many of the kids love going on the days their parents are *not* going to be there! Drop off and drive away is pretty harsh and is not something I would tolerate at any school. Not being able to afford private school should not put you in the position of compromising your and your child's comfort.
post #10 of 10
One of the elem and our only middle school has drop off for several reasons,
they have small parking areas that once the staff parks are gone the closest next place is on side streets which are one way and don't have much parking
the school is on a very busy street and there is a very long block you would have to walk down and then cross at the corner (no stop sign or light and it is 4 lanes) and then walk back up to the front of the school to get to the right door (picture a very icy cold snow windy chicago day 8:15am, easily 100 cars lined up on the block with lots of mommas and dads on their way to work in a hurry) 500+ kids go to that school

At the middle school it is so huge, the kids have had two arrival times to stagger out the crowd and rows of buses and cars plus kids walking, I can't imagine a group that large of adults filing in anywhere orderly without someone directing them, they all walk down a little sidewalk on the side of the school and a one way carpool lane is constantly in motion dumping kids out into that group making there way in.
so they have one lane you can drop off and only the passenger side of van/car doors are supposed to open and the kids flow out to the walk. Actually the drop off is easy, it's the pick up that I have trouble with, when I go get my neighbors kids I don't know what color jacket or anything and they finally know how to look for my van cause I tie a scarf on the attenna now. Even if the kids are in your car, you can not pass or pull forward till the cars lined up in front of you have their passengers inside, today was no exception.
Made me really glad we homeschool now so we only do it as a favor for neighbors once in a while. It may sound crazy but the school were prob built way before the road was so busy and they were added onto so the parking lots were not designed for the numbers needed. There was a funny movie I think Mr Mom that had a great pick up drop off scene at a school where the main charactor goes to pick up his kid, all the parents are honking at him cause he doesn't know the routine. Worth seeing it was very real and funny.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at School
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Public School questions