The following letter was actually sent out this year somewhere in the U.S. To the district that sent it out, we salute you.
August 29, 2011
Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year! As the summer draws to a close, we know how close you are to killing one another. By reminding you just how hectic the school year is, this letter is intended to help you appreciate the last few weeks of carefree days and homework free nights. In that spirit, please read on as we deluge you with more information than you can possibly digest, half which you already know and the other half which is basically useless. We can’t wait to see you in September!
Bus Schedule: Your child’s bus number is 23. Your pick-up time is 7:52 a.m. and drop-off time is 3:58 p.m. +/- 18 minutes on any given day. We estimate that in the first week of school at least 30 percent of our bus drivers will drive right by the bus stop and fail to pick your child up. Please report any drive by incidents as soon as possible, and then take your child to school yourself. We promise that the schedule will eventually run smoothly and we thank you for your patience.
School Supplies: Attached is a list of the school supplies for your child’s class room. We recognize that half of the supplies listed will never be used but please do not let that fact dissuade you from spending a hundred bucks at Staples. It has been proven that children whose parents do not buy glue sticks and protractors for the first day of school exhibit considerable angst and underachieve later in life. Additionally, we realize the list says to purchase the 32 crayon box but most children prefer 64 with the built-in sharpener after all these years. Don’t fight it.
Photo Release Form: Please indicate on the attached form whether you grant us permission to use photos of your child in publicity opportunities throughout the year. Every parent has the right to prohibit such photos being taken and published, but we tend to raise our eyebrows at those who forbid this benign activity. The witness protection program comes first to mind.
Emergency Cards: Please complete emergency contact information cards enclosed in triplicate. We have reformatted the cards this year so that you can include the home, work, cell, email, and Twitter handles of all parents, step-parents and legal guardians. Unfortunately, we no longer have room to list the medical conditions of the child on the same card. There are now new cards for medical conditions; please fill these out in triplicate as well. And yes, we agree there has to be a better way.
Teacher Assignment: Your child’s teacher is Ms. McNulty. We realize that she was not your first choice. Or second. However, so much of child development occurs when students are faced with situations that take them outside of their comfort zone. Studies have shown that children whose parents arrange for them to have the nicest and prettiest teacher every year completely crumble in college when their freshmen economics teacher is a smelly, strict professor who speaks very little English. You will thank us later. P.S. Ms. McNulty was the only teacher who agreed to take on you as parents this year. Please meditate on that a bit.
Drop Off and Pick Up: In the event you have to drop off and pick up your child at school, please follow the traffic flow explained in the enclosed handout. Please keep the flow of traffic moving and whatever you do, please do not stop and chat with the driveway attendants. It really pisses off the parents who have to get to work on time.
Cafeteria: The efforts of the last few years to provide our students with healthy alternatives to purchase at lunchtime seem to be paying off as most of our entrée choices are now completely unappealing. So we will continue to offer cheeseburgers, pizzas, chips and cookies every day for those students who have normal taste buds. In the wise words of last year’s valedictorian, “Chilled peaches is NOT dessert.”
Volunteer Opportunities: Feeling guilty because you aren’t spending enough time with your child? Do you have an under-appreciated skill that is looking for an outlet? Are you a glutton for punishment or a seeker of power? Or perhaps you are really new to this school parent thing and are feeling generous? There are countless places for you to volunteer, over commit, and mortify your child on his or her own turf throughout the year. Please contact Mrs. Stenner for opportunities and ideas.
Summer Reading: With 10 days until school starts, we realize that now is when most children begin their summer reading assignments. While we always assert that there will be a test the first day of school, we never get around to it until the second week. But get reading kids! And if you feel like complaining, ask your parents how many books they had to read over the summer when they were in school. It will be a multiple of what you have to do. And they didn’t have choices. True fact.
Emergency School Closing: While the winter months seem far away, it is never too early to talk about snow days. Our school closing number is 476. Although the system of listening on the radio for your number is long outdated, we cling to it like ice on the windshield. Most likely you will get a text message with the good news. And as sure as the sun will rise each day, you will question our judgement on every decision. We will be dead wrong at least twice – and you will likely pay for our mismanagement with Spring break vacation days.
Transition Time: The first few weeks of school are extremely important. While admittedly very little is taught, much is learned and re-learned. Parents play a crucial role in helping to effect a smooth and positive transition from summer to school time. In the next few days, we recommend earlier bed times for your child. We also recommend dragging them out of bed at the crack of dawn, having them carry 20 pound back packs around the neighborhood, and plenty of nagging. We can’t stress the importance of nagging. Parents need to get back into the groove too.
On behalf of all the administrators and staff at the Reality School District, we will see you in September!
Dr. L.B. Honest