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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First Day of School

Over at the KUOW Public Insight Network, they are doing a story on your first day of school experience. Here's a link if you are interested in reporting out what your day was like.

Also, if you feel like writing here as well, please let us know how it went for you and your child and any info on what the day seemed like at your school.

15 comments:

seattle said...

Great first day at Hale (according to my kid) yesterday. The cafeteria is under construction so they have set up a tented outdoor lunchroom called the Nathan Hale Cafe. While not ideal, I thought that was a creative, effective, solution. They are also advertising and promoting the $1 breakfast!

School construction is in the last phase, and it should all be over by March, 2011.

Arnold said...

Despite the swirl of District controversy, it was wonderful to see my children excited for school. My elementary daughter's excitement kept her awake until 11pm. I dropped my daughter off at elementry school. The school was filled with teachers, parents, children and emotion. I couldn't help but to stop by the K class and look at our youngest school members...class complete with parents crying and not wanting to leave. ;) My middle school daughter is equally excited to start school. Feels exciting.

Unknown said...

I have a 'good news" report. Last year it took my daughter's bus more than an hour to get home for most of the first week of school. Indeed, it took 1.5+ hours the first day, and I freaked out. The transportation hotline wasn't being answered, so I even called 911.

A moment ago I got a robo call from the District telling me about a procedure in place the first week of school that could delay elementary buses for an hour. Kudos for this bright moment of good communication. Knowing this in advance I have no reason for a freakout until much later this evening. Oh yes, and my 8th grader finally has a cell phone, so I can track her myself.

Lori said...

Just got that too, Rosie. This is my second grader's first-ever experience taking the bus to school. The driver told me this morning that he would probably be 30 minutes late this afternoon. Good to know: I'm taking a book and maybe a small camping chair with me to wait at the bus stop this afternoon!

And yes, my daughter was also excited and nervous today. She started at a new school, but she has two friends in her homeroom, an enthusiastic new teacher that we got to meet last week, and we are all cautiously optimistic that she's going to have a good year. Despite any kvetching on my part about the district, I still have faith in things at the local level.

ParentofThree said...

Great start for all my kids. Agree, that on the "local" level everybody is just great, ready to help smooth out the bumps.

So a big thank you to all the teachers, staff, and parents who made this a great first day of school!

SP said...

Is it really true that 4 (of the 9) middle schools did not have school today for their entire 7th & 8th grade classes, so that the incoming 6th graders could have their own "slow start" today? It look like Hamilton, Eckstein, Aki-Kurose & Denny all are letting 2/3 of their kids skip school today.

What happened to the 180 days required by state law for all schools (already shortened to 177 for Seattle by waiver)? Will those schools not get FTE allowances for those kids not showing up today? Oh, that's right, the law only applies to some of our kids, some of the time!

GreyWatch said...

I know this was true for Hamilton. The 6th graders appreciate the first day alone, and from what the administrators say, this extra day is an effective way to get everyone off to a good start. However, I would have preferred this "step-up" day have been on Tuesday so the older kids (including my son) could at least get two real days in at school this week - tomorrow will be short periods due to schedule pickup and orientation. I'm guessing a soft start on Tuesday would impact teacher work days and contract rules. I'm just happy that SPS doesn't start before Labor Day.

Maureen said...

Good to great first day for both of my kids. My younger is thrilled to have the fantastic 7th grade teachers her brother still talks about. The older one is happy with his schedule -- though he did get switched to Physics when Organic/Biochem was cancelled so they could switch the teacher to Chemistry instead--fine for my kid, he will probably be able to take it next year--not sure what happens to the seniors who have already taken Physics.

I wonder how schedules are working out for kids in the overenrolled HSs?

krod said...

We are one of the split families affected by NSAP. Both of our kids went to separate schools for the first day of school. They both had a great day, so I shouldn't complain. I wish younger one could attend older sib's school though.

Unknown said...

We got the robo call to despite having let the district and school know about a month ago that our daughter would not be a SPS student.

Jan said...

Well, according to one of the Junior girls at Garfield, those 150 freshmen really DID show up yesterday (I suspect she didn't count them herself -- so this has to be something she "heard" and I didn't ask her whether the administration had announced the number, or whether that is just the rumor going around.) She says that virtually all of the 11th grade AP US History teachers are subs, holding places until they can find bodies to teach the courses. My child has only one "sub" -- in his 12th grade English class. Again, I THINK this is because no one has been permanently hired (yet) to teach the course, but I am thinking that the chaos of 150 extra freshmen is enough for the administration to handle, so I will wait a little before following up. Garfield has the most wonderful counsellors (at least the two my younger kids have had have been great)-- and it is largely on their shoulders that all this scheduling stuff falls. They must be tearing their hair out.

ParentofThree said...

Jan, can you elaborate on the GHS 9th grade situation. 150 additional students showed, how many total then showed up. And who were these 150 students and why did the district not think they would show up?

G said...

My kids came home from Garfield this afternoon and said that Mr. Howard reported at their class meetings that there are 630 freshman at Garfield. More than they even thought. This happened because the NSAP guarantees a spot to anyone living in the enormous boundaries drawn around Garfield. Or to anyone who can use an address and say they are living in the enormous boundaries around Garfield. Lots of cheating going on. It's a fiasco. There are nearly 1900 students in a building meant for 1500. And new students showing up everyday. I've heard that Rainier Beach has less than 400 students total. Guess the NSAP didn't really work out the way they thought it might. Hopefully they will go back to the drawing board and fix this mess. There needs to be a cap on enrollment at every school.

wsnorth said...

OK, well I have a first day funny.
My 3rd grader (who has some medical problems, so perhaps we worry a little too much sometimes) was confiding to us that "they seemed to split all the best friends up into different classes"... Spouse replied "Oh, that's too bad honey...". 3rd grader "I think they just want us to focus on learning...". LOL, and OMG - I had to wander down the hall while I tried to decide whether to cry or laugh. In third grade I was not focused on learning, that's for sure!!!

Jan said...

ParentofThree:

Last spring, when the SAP was put into place, the District had charts on the numbers of freshmen they expected to enroll at each high school -- based on the boundaries they had drawn (with assumptions built in for the numbers that would go to option schools like STEM, Center School, etc.). They also had data for the "functional capacity" of each school -- basically, what they were targeting as its optimum max, I think) and the current numbers of students, broken out by category. The last time I went looking, I could no longer find the charts. I don't know if they are gone, or whether I just cannot remember where to find them.
Many people were concerned about the validity of the assumptions for option schools, etc., but the number of students affected by those things was relatively small. What concerned some of us is that the attendance boundaries for some schools (including GHS) were HUGE compared with the "geographic tiebreaker" boundaries from past years. It was alarming because we feared that their data was VERY flawed, and the actual number of 9th graders who would show up would VASTLY exceed their estimates -- which is what has happened.
Because I can't find the old chart, I can't recall exactly how many freshmen they had last year, but my recollection is that the entire school was less than 1400. Assuming some attrition from 9th to 12th grade (but not a lot, because kids apply to transfer every year), I was assuming somewhere between 350 and 400 freshmen were "planned." I had initially heard 150 extra, but if the "real" number is 630, then I think it is probably more like 200+ additional freshmen. If it gets much higher, they will be at about double projected numbers. Either way, it is an alarming failure by the District to foresee the effects of the SAP at the high school level. They have no plan for this. The SAP contains no mechanism for relieving this overcrowding -- and any decisions they make now would be unfair to any students moved from the building who enrolled based on the promises made in the SAP.
If you can search the comments, look for one in another thread by PurpleandWhite, who evidently is someone at GHS (either paid or volunteer) for more details on students milling around in the commons with no class space to go to, teacher shortages, etc.