How much of a pain in the butt should you be at school?

August 26, 2009 at 11:10 pm 3 comments

Well, here’s the type of rant that I knew would come along sooner or later.
I’ll start by saying (my mantra) that communication is one of the weak spots of CPS.  Even the best administrators and educators don’t seem to understand that parents need to find things out in a timely fashion.  It’s like they think you’ll just know stuff by osmosis by having a child in the school.   So throughout the year I’ve been mildly fed up with this.  My point of view on complaining to the school is to do it only when I have a solution that I can help implement if needed (or other parents could help with.)  I wasn’t willing to take on doing a weekly newsletter so I just let it go (and grumbled to myself and other playground parents.)

So this week, 2 weeks before school is to start, we finally get some info on the afterschool program (basically the info is to contact the provider – an external organization.)  I find out that we can’t register until Sept 1 (a WEEK before school starts!) and so we won’t find out whether my son has a spot until who-knows how many days before school begins.  This isn’t tragic for me since I don’t have a job yet, but what if I did?  If he doesn’t get a spot I’d have Labor Day weekend to find a sitter!  We also found out 2 weeks out that the program now has a fee versus free last year (very affordable, but still.)

So to top off my grumbling, I find out that the school office lost my “Interest Form” that I turned in at the end of school in June.  So now I am at the bottom of the heap in terms of applying.

During my son’s first year in his school I tried not to be a pain-in-the-ass parent (although as you know I can always find “room for improvement” in a school.)  Instead I tried to forge a good relationship with the admin and to always volunteer when I could.  I hate to be that parent who bitches about stuff.  But I finally reached my breaking point and had to convey my irritation or I’d start to harbor a slow, simmering resentment.

And WHY didn’t I check with the office?!  I always warn parents when turning anything into a CPS office to check and double check that the paper is in the right place.  Why didn’t I follow my own advice for God’s sake?!

So now here I sit, hoping I’m not on some administrative shit-list where the principal and asst principal cringe when they seen me approaching.  Many of us walk fine lines in our schools because we may need “favors” down the road:  A sibling to get a spot in the neighborhood program, a space for your kid in an extra-curricular program that is full, consideration to add Lego Robotics as an afterschool program, etc.  Do I want to get on the bad side?

Sigh.  I guess at some point parents need to speak up if thing really need an improvement or the administration will think everything is just peachy.  And I’ve learned my lesson.  Everything I turn in to the office gets some sort of written acknowledgement!  I advice you to do the same.  Our office lady is fabulous but there are a million and one forms passing through that control center.  Some are destined to disappear into a black hole.

(As a point of reference, part of my anger was built on knowing of parents who’d applied at certain magnet schools only to find their applications never made it into the lottery.  They had no recourse.  Office black hole strikes again.)

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

More calls going out…… CPSObsessed hitting the airwaves!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Y  |  August 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

    It seems like communications at CPS schools is a consistent problem. There is so much information that needs to be disseminated and not enough thought about how to get it done comprehensively. At our old school, we had a fairly extensive communications system (monthly school newsletter, principal’s weekly newsletter, all-school email blasts, individual teacher websites, grade-specific weekly newsletters, and classroom parent listservs) and there were still things that people felt like they hadn’t heard about. We should discuss this one offline and try to make some progress on this.

  • 2. To Mom  |  August 31, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I am a pain in the butt too! Sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way. I think all of the staff at both of my children’s school know I care. I ask pesky questions! Call every week! I send emails to one or most of the teachers every week! However, I volunteer where ever they need me to volunteer, I am a member of the LSC and the PTA. I check homework and initial it even though they don’t require it. We go all out on projects and win the science fair and history fair every year. I think the teachers and staff don’t mind much because they know I care. I am gentle with criticism and praise profusely when they so often deserve it. I think it’s better to be a pain in the butt then a parent who doesn’t care and sits on their butt. I believe the staff of every school loves and hates (us at times) but appreciates the value we pain in the buttl add to the school .

  • 3. High maintenance mom  |  September 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Do you know that all teachers talk! I went to a PD meeting with the teachers–the principal invited all of the LSC members. I was sitting with my son’s second grade teacher this year and she told me she heard I was high maintenace. Translation this parent will be calling and emailing you to death! OMG! My son’s Kindergarten teacher came to the table and I asked her ans she said that I was and that is how I was suppose to be. We all laughed about it but I wonder if I come off too strong and intrusive. I explained that I just want to make sure that my son is behaving (Lawd knows I need to check on that) and is on track! Yes, I expect good grades, preferable all A’s and if I have to bug the teacher I will! LOL! At least I know that the teachers know if they don’t teach anybody they better teach my child!

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