Friday, August 27, 2010

Open House/Back to School Night

Last night was SES's open house and back to school night!  In previous years they'd done a pre-first day of school open house that was very well attended and then the usual BTSN 2 weeks in that wasn't as well attended.  So it seems they decided to mix it up and combine the two and I must say, it was a GRAND idea!  Not only were we not in school week mode, it was much more relaxed and the kids were so excited to be there.  Caroline has 4 kids in her class that were in her kindergarten last year and a bunch of kids from the other 3 kindergarten classes that she kind of knew but will now get to know really well.

All week Caroline has been telling us she didn't want to go and that she wanted to stay home with Bryce and Piper (and my parents).  In fact, she greeted me in the garage with the same request.  I ignored it and when it came time to go, she fell in line but still lamenting about how BORING it was going to be.  We got to the school fairly early and as soon as we walked in Caroline's mood flipped.  She saw her principal, her gym teacher, and a bunch of kids she knew.  She was bouncing.  Literally.  Acting kind of foolish, but just so excited.  We walked down to her classroom and her teacher, Ms. B, greeted us.  Jason and I introduced ourselves but I refused to introduce Caroline to her.  Caroline was jumping around and acting ridiculous about a mosquito bite itching and I told her that I hadn't told Ms. B her name and she needed to.  So while I was signing us in, Caroline introduced herself and went in.  We were also greeted by a girl named Delanie that had been in one of the other classes last year but Caroline had befriended during playground time.  Delanie was very happy to see Caroline and the excitement was contagious.  We also had a short hello from her old kindergarten teacher, Ms. R who was clearly really happy to see Caroline too.

I had brought the HUGE bag of school supplies with us because I didn't want to have to lug it on the first day and oh my goodness, it was a lot of stuff!  Ms. B seemed surprised I'd already gotten it but understood why I brought it already!  My first impressions of her are really good ones.  She's been at SES for 11 years and teaching for 17 so she totally knows this school/population.  The classroom was very well organized and she was very clear about how she would handle behavior, their schedule, and rewards.  While I think she will be firm, she also gave off a warm vibe which I think is helpful to the younger kids.   I couldn't get a read on what Caroline thought but then, she was more interested in the other kids to really focus on the teacher, although once Ms. B started talking, she calmed down to her normal school self.

It really was an exciting evening.  Caroline now has a locker (last year she had a cubbie in the classroom):

And she also has her own desk (last year they had group tables where they rearranged seating on a regular basis.):

I was also very excited that Ms. B is very amenable to using email. Ms. R used it but didn't check it often enough and also asked to not really use it for certain things.  Ms. B said she checks it all the time and loves when parents are okay with using it!  YAY!  I made sure before we left the classroom to stroll the building that I had a quick one on one with Ms. B to let her know how involved Jay and I are and that she just needs to ask and we're willing to help out.  (Ms. R was always a little scattered with that and she already had a parent who "volunteered" regularly in the classroom so I never felt like she needed the help.)

After leaving the class we walked around and saw the new gym floor (very shiny, Caroline was excited) and had a snack in the cafeteria where we got to see C's gym teacher again (Ms. K, who Caroline LOVES) and her art and music teachers.  We also had a little face to face with the principal and vice-principal who I think are really great.

So all in all, it was great evening.  Once again I'm reminded that even though people are quick to judge Caroline's school because it is Title 1 and has a lot of kids that come from very rough circumstances that the staff are completely engaged and want to see these kids succeed.  Every staff member I've interacted with clearly want to be there and we've been very happy at the attention Caroline has received.   I'm excited for next year when Bryce will be there too!

Oh the only thing that made me do a double take was in C's classroom the teacher had a bulletin board set up to display their progress with reading and other successes, and it was titled "And Their Off." Yep, "their."  I cringed.  I'm hoping another teacher notices it and says something.  I joked to Jason that at least the "their, there, they're" rule isn't something they will be learning in 1st grade.  But if that's the only hiccup to the start of the school year, I can handle it.


Viv said...

You know, Makenzie is at a Title 1 school and so far I've had great attention from the staff and am very impressed. Last night at our B2S night they invited all the children from the whole school in attendance into the gym and HotSpots "entertained" watched them while we watched the PT/Principal presentation via TVs in every class room. Joe Corbi's was there with tons of samples of pizza, cake, and sweet rolls and then Rita's was there to give out free ice to everyone who signed up for the PTA last night! Not too bad, it was a fun night and a good way to get the year started. I think our school system is making it right and Title 1 school are working above and beyond to make it happen!

Bertie said...

I bet the teacher was in so much to do she just made an inoocent mistake on the bulletin board.

Bertie said...

I meant (HAHA) "the teacher had so much to do"...see I did it too!