Tours and info prior to K registration? UPDATED - we got the tour - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-19-2005, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is scheduled to start kindergarten this fall. As part of our thinking, we're looking at several schools (including our local public) and philosophies (Waldorf and Montessori amongt them) and are also strongly considering homeschooling. The public school registration is next month.

So I've been calling places, setting up appointments and receiving info and applications. Most of the schools require apps back by the end of February or March. When I called the public school to ask about tours, open houses, etc. I was told that these things only happen AFTER registration.

"Well, uh, how do I know I want my son to attend if I don't see the school, meet the teachers and/or discuss the curriculum?"

"Most people just register. We don't deal with questions like that."

"Well, can I talk to a guidance counselor or principal or someone else who can speak to the type of information I'm looking for?"

"Well, like I said, most people just register their children. We assume your son will be coming."

When I said that it wasn't my assumption at all and I very much wanted to talk to someone, I was told that a woman named Molly would call me back next week. I asked, but was not told, Molly's position.

Am I expecting too much? Seriously - are we really expected to send our children to the public school without so much as a single question as to what their experiences will be? Am I nuts?
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#2 of 14 Old 02-20-2005, 05:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chalupamom
Am I expecting too much? Seriously - are we really expected to send our children to the public school without so much as a single question as to what their experiences will be? Am I nuts?
No, yes, and no.

Public school is the common default choice for most people, and the schools just coast along with that assumption. There is very little competition, so why do they have to sell themselves to you?

This is my conclusion, I am sure there is more to it. But public schools, IME, act like they own your kids and they know best, so be prepared.
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#3 of 14 Old 02-20-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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I am considering private school for my DD next year (she'll be in kindergarten) but I called my local public school and asked for a tour. They set one up for me in March, I can meet the principal, the teachers, get a tour and ask any questions that I wish.

I don't know if my area is unusual but I would press for more info if I were you.

And no, you're not nuts .
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#4 of 14 Old 02-20-2005, 06:27 PM
 
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I'm in the city of Ch'ville and I've always been able to schedule a tour of public schools well in advance of kindergarten registration day. I know I'm not the only parent to have done this and the office staff have always acted like it was totally normal for parents to do this sort of thing, and I toured kindergartens in three of the city's six elementary schools. I don't know why the people in your district are behaving like such buttheads.
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#5 of 14 Old 02-20-2005, 07:51 PM
 
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Its interesting that posted this. My dd would be going into K next year but we currently have her in a montessori which we plan to have her finish through age 6. So she won't be changing schools until grade 1. However I wanted to visit both the private and public schools in our area as well as Montessoris that go past kindergarten, ours doesn't. I have wondered what the response would be at our public school since like a pp said they really have no competition. Actually in our area you can petition to go to other schools in the district so I guess there is some competition. Anyway you've got my curiosity up so I'll be calling this week. I wonder what is a "normal" response to those questions.

Micky
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#6 of 14 Old 02-20-2005, 09:50 PM
 
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My son started kindergarten last August. I went for an observation of classes last April. At that time, no one was ready to sit down for an in-depth discussion about *my* son (they have to worry about current students first), but they were *so* excited about having a parent who was proactive. They gave me plenty of time to ask questions, observe, whatever. I had to go through proper channels, of course (I'm in Colorado, and Columbine still looms heavily), but they told me to come back anytime. That attitude has not changed since he's been attending. I am on a first-name basis with many teachers and the secretary and the principal. So no -- you are not being unreasonable. If they are not ready to deal with your *questions* they probably aren't ready to deal with your *child*. Good luck.
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#7 of 14 Old 02-21-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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Asking questions and visiting schools before kindergarten is normal in our district also (near Chicago). We've been feeling like the delinquent ones because we haven't done it yet, and almost everyone we know has!

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#8 of 14 Old 02-21-2005, 03:10 PM
 
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The schools here do not have set registration days. They advertise it to get people to register their kids early so they have an idea of how many kids they'll have and how much funding they'll get. You could wait until after they'll do the tour before registering.

however I'd be wary of a school that wouldn't do tours at other times. We have a choice of public or catholic school here. Catholic school isn't an option for us so we went public. You generally go to the school closest to you(in our case 3 houses away) though you can ask the school board for permission to go to a different school.

When i registered my dd they asked me if i wanted a tour. I didn't because I knew she'd be going to the school, there are no other options for us. The schools at the other end of town are snooty and my kids won't attend them.

At the schools here you can walk in at any time to discuss anything. If it is with the teacher they prefer you wait until after school, noon or before school. The principal is always available. The secretary can answer most questions.

The only part of the school I am uncomfortable with(besides the lords prayer) is sitting in the staff room.
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#9 of 14 Old 02-23-2005, 11:37 AM
 
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Chalupamom: It sounds to me like maybe the person you got on the phone was either busy and just wanted you off the phone, really didn't know the answer to your questions and wasn't interested in getting them, or else was just a dingbat. I would really push to speak to someone who might have answers, not just someone answering the phone that day. You will probably get the info you need.
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#10 of 14 Old 02-23-2005, 11:44 AM
 
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we are still considering home schooling but I went and registered her in 2 public and 1 private school so that the final decision is still up to us.
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#11 of 14 Old 02-24-2005, 04:32 PM
 
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We are going throught the exact same thing!! I called our public school and said I wanted to come in and talk to them about kindergarten, meet teachers, see the rooms, etc. They told me to come during the SUMMER!!! I have to register for K at private school next week! It's ridiculous. I could not imagine registering/sending my daughter to any school where I had not met with faculty, had all my questions answered and seen the school!
We are going with private school!
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#12 of 14 Old 03-15-2005, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I got the tour. The bare minimum tour, that is: here's the library, here's the cafe, here's the gym, oh look! that's a student over there.

We weren't allowed to enter any rooms nor were we allowed to observe any student/teacher interaction, nor were we allowed to meet with a guidance counselor or administrative authority. The woman who gave us the tour could not answer questions about the school's educational approach or philosophy, nor could she speak to questions like, "Do you use phonics, whole language or some other approach when teaching reading?" When I said I wanted to meet with someone who could answer this, and other, questions she said, "Mr. X. has a lot of experience in these matters. He knows what he's doing and has been in adminstration for 30 years. We trust him."

Uh, right. So the end is that the Vice-Principal is supposed to be calling me tomorrow to talk. I have a 10 minute "appointment" during which my curriculum, standards and philosophy questions are all to be answered. Doesn't really matter, though. We've decided that our son will not be attending this school.
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#13 of 14 Old 03-15-2005, 10:28 PM
 
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It's exactly like that in our area. I'm appalled by the response I've had when I've asked to look around schools.

In fact, we are going to move to a district where there is an alternative public school that we like (this one does offer set tour days the year your chlid is due to start, but I went a year early and said nothing about dd's birthdate so I could get to look around.) I emailed the other schools in the district, to ask if I could do tours, to decide where to look for a house to rent.

The answer was that 'all the schools in the area are equally good' and that the principals do not have time to show prospective parents around. I was allowed to come and see the children arrive or leave from school one day though, and that should give me enough information to decide if I wanted to send my child there.

I am absolutely amazed that they do not expect parents to be proactive in choosing a school. YOu are supposed to just sign up at the local school and ask no questions. Amazing.
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#14 of 14 Old 03-15-2005, 11:08 PM
 
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WEM HS TWO AND TWO GO TO SCHOOL. wE'VE BEEN VERY LUCKY IN THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SIT ON CLASSES AT ASCHOOL, MEET WITH THE PRINCIAPL A FEW TIMES AND GET A
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