Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How Was Day One?

For Rufus Moffat, a child in one of my favorite series of books (The Moffats! The Moffat Museum! The Middle Moffat! Rufus M.!), the first day of kindergarten brings a major challenge! Read the books! [The story of Rufus's first day of kindergarten is in The Moffats. I think my favorite book in the series is The Moffat Museum.]

So how was school for you today?

For my family, well--we only have one child still in the K-12 school system, and he's a veteran! (He's a junior in high school now.) So it was not really all that exciting.

That is in contrast to the past two years, where we had Youth For Understanding exchange students. It turns out that for exchange students, the first day of school is extremely exciting. They have no idea what to expect, they know very few people in town... so the calm in our house last night was a little...deflating after the experience of the past two years. [By the way--both years, our experience with YFU exchange students was excellent, and I am happy to talk to you about it if you are interested.]

If you're a teacher, if you're a parent, if you're a student....

What went well on Day 1? What needs improvement?

Were you welcoming students this morning at one of the Ypsilanti Community Schools? Was your child taking an AAATA bus or an AAPS (Durham) bus? Was your child switching schools? Are you a teacher in a school that is new to you?

Post your comments below!

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  1. I would post a comment, but I'm too tired! Overall, it was pretty good!

  2. Newbie parent here (Lakewood kindergarten)! Things seem to have gone pretty well from our point of view. Only surprise was how short lunchtime is - our son only ate about a third of his lunch (all items that he likes), and when we asked him, he said he simply ran out of time. 20-ish minutes does seem short, especially for the younger ones. I totally understand the need to pack the day with instructional time (and appreciate the K teachers getting the kids to move throughout the day too!), but I wonder if anyone else has this issue. Do the kids just become food vacuums and learn to adjust to the compressed time? It doesn't exactly promote healthy eating practices...

    Other than that, though, we're cool...and so far we are thrilled with our teacher and her incredible responsiveness to our litany of newbie questions. Go Lizards!

    1. I'm glad it's going well so far!
      In answer to the lunchtime question, some kids adjust and eat quickly (one of my sons); others are slow eaters and end up eating a LOT right after school (my daughter), and in many classrooms teachers are fine with kids snacking the rest of their lunch throughout the day--but that is typically a teacher decision.
      Recognize that actually lunch time is probably double the 20 minutes, with half the time being for recess, and a new group of kids coming in.
      When my kids were little I asked them to bring their lunches home so we could see what they were actually eating. Here's a story I still laugh about regarding my oldest son. My son had the first lunch, although kids were able to stay in the cafeteria and not rush out to recess (this depends on the school, my oldest son told me that he couldn't finish his lunch because "the big kids were coming!" Yes, he meant the first and second graders...

    2. Thanks Ruth! At Lakewood, the Ks actually eat after recess this year (play first, eat second), and it doesn't look like the teachers are allowing laggers to continue snacking in class, so our son will have to learn to eat faster. :) They do send everything (garbage included) back so parents can see what was and wasn't eaten...of course my son interpreted this quite literally yesterday and put his half-full carton of milk in the lunchbox too. Yay mess! We're learning...

  3. The new bus company is a debacle with respect to transporting our special needs children. I wish I knew who will fix safety concerns, fast.

    1. Can you be more specific as to the problems?

    2. Cathy p.
      Our Special needs children have been given no communication or rationalle for the erratic scheduling and follow up with parent concerns, school concerns, and Administrative concerns. My daughter was missing for over 2 hours on the first day of school. Durham had no idea where she was. I was out of my mind and unsure why I did not call the police to help find her. They have yet to be at the school on time. As of now two of the four children in my daughters class are not feeling safe sending our kids on the bus. the ridership of this route is 5 children. I have offered them many opportunities to redeem themselves. Only after stating I would be contacting the United States Department of Education Civil Rights Commission did I get a phone call from the company with excuses and no follow up with the route changes they made as promised. This is a very brief and cut version of our plight. I am baffled, and tired. May I add, there are often only TWO children on this bus at the school and the bus is still LATE!

  4. The busing is not all that different than it was last year.....overcrowded (3 to a seat for the middle schooler) and they still can't figure out how to get AAATA to pick the high school kids up at the Target stop so that the kids can make it to their first hour. For kids to get to Pioneer on time, they need to be at the Target bus stop by 6:50. The next pick up from Target gets the kids to Pioneer after 1st hour has started. And our middle schooler? Even though school is starting 5 minutes later, they are still being picked up an hour before. The pick up from our neighborhood is 7:20. They get to school by 7:40 ish and have to wait a 25 minutes before the bell rings to let them in the building. Both kids would rather use their time sleeping. If the district is going to have an arrangement with AAATA then they should have the schedule work for the kids and not penalize them for having to take the bus. No bus should pick kids up so early that they are at school almost a half hour before school starts. Pick them up from the bus stop a half hour later!

  5. I share Anonymous' frustration with the AAATA bus option. We learned at high school registration that the AAATA had not adjusted bus stops to match the new bell times at Skyline. My emails to the principal and the AAPS have not been answered. The AAATA told me that AAPS had not confirmed the new bell times in time for them to adjust the schedule. Very frustrating.