Sunday, July 02, 2006

School Visitation Policy

The current visitation policy (Policy 1240) is listed below. Please provide feedback. Remember feedack both good and bad are welcome. However, let's be constructive...if there is something you don't like, provide an alternative. My ears are open!
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Parent Visitation/Observation

Parents are encouraged to come to their child?s school during normal operating hours. All visitors are asked to sign in at the main office and obtain a visitor?s badge to ensure the safety and security of students and staff.Parents may either visit the classroom at the teacher?s/school?s invitation or request to make a formal observation of a classroom. Making an appointment with the school at least two (2) days in advance of an observation is not only a courtesy and a requirement, but enables you to schedule the observation for the maximum benefit. Teachers cannot stop teaching to confer with parents who stop by without an appointment. Parents may schedule up to two (2) classroom observations of forty-five (45) minutes in duration each grading period. Staff will accompany visitors to the classroom. Siblings should not attend. Teachers will be happy to discuss the observation at a mutually convenient time. Parents are welcome to visit the cafeteria and eat lunch with their child.Principals retain the authority to deny access to the school for any individual who has or may disrupt or disturb the learning environment or who lacks a valid or legal purpose for entering the school. Our shared commitment and cooperation is essential for the safety of our students and staff.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

This policy is like that of the cell phone policy. It ensures that teachers are given an environment conducive to do their job and the students are provided the opportunity to have uninterrupted learning time. It reflects the commitment our county has to being a great place to teach and learn.

doodydom said...

I agree with the policy, but one problem is that not all front office staff are versed in the protocol. Some staff refuse to even attempt to call a teacher who has called parents or emailed them. The front office staff use the rule to not allow any parents to visit without 48 hours notice, despite teacher invitation. This causes confusion. All staff need to be current on the rules and cooperative to parents who wish to participate in their child's education. This is especially important if there is any discipline problem in the classroom. It is not up to the front office staff at schools to make the decision about who visits the classroom and when, without contacting the teacher to check on the status of a request by the teacher to visit the classroom.

Marcus N.Tillman said...

I do not agree that a parent should have any notice if he or she want to visit and observes his or her child's classroom. We don't have to give a two days notice to volunteer in the school; we don't have to give a two days notice to eat with our children in the cafeteria. I believe schools whether private or public should have a open door policy to parents.
If I as a parent have to do that than the Superintendent and his staff should do the same when visiting schools.(Giving the principals a two days notice)

Jennifer Abell said...

Doodydom,
I agree. The level of enforcement or protocal varies greatly not only from school to school but from staff to staff. It depends on who you happen to run into in the front office at the time. This is something that could be addressed during a Board meeting and I'll make note to bring it up in October.

Jennifer Abell said...

Mr. Tillman,
I can see both sides of this issue. Let me try putting this in a different perspective for you because honestly I felt the same way you do until I tried looking at it in a different light. Let's say you have a first grader and there are 23 children in her class. Of those 23 children parents are coming in and out of the class all day long on a daily basis. Not only will your child get distracted from her work constantly but she is also put in danger. Taking it a step further, of the 23 children, one child has a parent that has an issue with anger and violence. That parent is now coming into the classroom daily right beside your child. Not to mention all those other parents are now privy to your childs performance in school. All though this is a hypothetical situation, it could be very real. It could also get worst than this. We, the Board and staff, try to do everything we can to keep the teachers and students safe. We reealize they are public schools and they are YOUR children, however parents must realize the rules are there for everyone. We cannot decide you are a good parent/person and can come in and someone else is a bad parent/person and cannot (unless of course they have criminal charges). I hope this clarify's some, it is a very fine line to walk.

3291asiber said...

Sorry, Ms. Abell, but the ?different light? scenario you describe is an argument reductio ad absurdum. In my 16 years of classroom experience (as a teacher, volunteer, and parent), a parent?s visit was an infrequent occurrence, not a daily parade made by all of the parents of all of the students in any given classroom. That would, indeed, be disruptive. If such a scenario as you describe were to occur, I hope the school administration would see a huge red warning flag waving ? there is clearly something amiss in that classroom!

Further, that is not the problem this policy (actually, it?s ?Rules? not ?Policy? -- yes?) sought to address. Perhaps that is the crux of this: What was the problem? Why did the Superintendent implement this, and without direction from, discussion by, or approval of, the elected Board? Why did he make NO effort to address this issue (school visitation) cooperatively with parents? Why did your fellow board members react to this with a shrug? (I apologize for that question ? YOU cannot answer for them!) No discussion. No comment. No big deal?? I?m a parent ? it?s a big deal.

You mention a parent (hypothetically) with anger/violence issues. Is that not an individual problem which should be addressed on an individual basis? Such people can and should be prevented from being in classrooms (or on school grounds). How does this policy?s features ? requiring two days? notice, and limited to two visits per marking period, of 45-minutes duration -- address that? In short, they don?t. ?Principals retain the authority to deny access to the school for any individual who has or may disrupt or disturb the learning environment or who lacks a valid or legal purpose for entering the school? does. (Please know I support that line only with reservation.)

You mention in your response to Mr. Tillman that ?It could also get worst [sic] than this.? What did you mean?

3291asiber said...

Oh, and Mr. Tillman ? Your comment that ?we don?t have to give a two day notice to eat with our children in the cafeteria? -- ?we? applies only to parents of children who eat IN the cafeteria. For my friend, whose child is handicapped and eats with an aide in the classroom, lunch is not exempt from the 2/2/45 mandate (2-day notice, twice a marking period, for 45 minutes). So ?we? should count our blessings! It?s the ?letter of the law? not the ?intent of the law? that is employed ? at whim ?

Further, does anybody pay attention to Education Week? I attended the school board meeting years ago when Mrs. Caniglia went on and on about parents being encouraged to visit during that week. Lots of rhetoric about how it?s a week when the schools can show off all the great things going on in the classroom. Now subject to the 2/2/45 mandate.

1240 is a weapon, not a tool.

Loved Mr. Tillman?s point about the Superintendent and his staff being subject to the 2/2/45, too. Great idea. That would be a courtesy to the principal and the school, surely, giving everybody time to properly prepare the short visit to the VIPs? ?maximum benefit.?

Anonymous said...

Parents of children should be able to visit the classroom as often as they'd like. I do understand that the teacher doesn't want disruption.
How about the violence in the classrooms hallways, and schools in general? Is the school adminstration dumb enough to believe that we DON'T
know how bad the kids are and how BAD the teachers are? Why don't we post what classrooms are ran by incompetent teachers or just have
rotten kids in them?
There are so many teachers that are not qualified to teach in their subject matter. It's pitiful.

Personally, our family is trying to move out of the county and state as soon as finances permit. The violence, overcrowding, and poor schools are
just a few of the reasons why we just can't stay in this area anymore.
It's just plain scary.

Jennifer Abell said...

Thank you for all the feedback. Let's see if we can take this thread in a different direction. If you could change the current policy and rules (see original post) what would you change? How would it read?