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  #91  
Old September 6th 08, 12:10 AM posted to misc.kids
Anne Rogers[_5_]
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Posts: 47
Default school supplies!


Timing is definitely an issue, but I think some of it
just comes down to the fact that some people will trade money
for convenience and others will trade convenience for money.
Some would prefer for all the costs to be bundled and to pay
one fee and be done with it. Others want the costs spread
out or would prefer to get their own (either for control or
because they think they can get a better deal). People just
have different preferences, so it's darned hard to satisfy
all (or even most) of them. Everyone would like enough lead
time, of course, but even with lead time you're not going to
satisfy everyone.


Whilst all that is undoubtably true, I wonder if another factor is
simply a less than ideal ability to see the true cost of things and make
decisions and budget accordingly. When I take my kids to gymnastics, I
often end up wandering around and will see things on the notice board
for older gymnasts about money and I was really pleased to see that they
are very upfront about costs, though it's also obvious from various
letters that complaints are frequent, yet it really seems they have it
organised, this years competition dates were up in August with it
clearly marked which were compulsory for which teams and which were
optional, along with estimated expenses. They seem to accept that there
will be variations - so it's strongly encouraged to have a professional
choreograph your floor routine and teach it to you, but if you really
want to avoid that, then you can, with bars and beam the expectation
appeared to be that most would do their own, but paying for choreography
was an option etc.

But my bet is that I know more about it than many of the parents, just
from picking up random snippets of information - and it's not surprising
if not knowing where exactly the money is going that parents quibble at
the cost.

I remember when I was probably around 10 or so, a parent of one of my
sisters friends was moaning to me that she had to buy a pink leotard for
ballet, with her explaination being that her child already had a pink
leotard, I knew which leotard she was talking about and it was luminous
pink and a completely different style to the ballet leotard she was
being asked to purchase - and this was for an exam, not just for class,
in the UK, it's typical to not have strong dress codes for things like
dance classes, imagine what she would be thinking if that was in the US
where the dress code is usually strict for classes with no uniformity
across dance schools, in the UK, a pink ballet leotard is just that, if
you need one for an exam then that is the style you'll wear regardless
of where you take it, which school you go to etc.

Even having done a lot of dance myself, I still find some dance
information confusing and if I look at a supply list and think what on
earth is a dance belt then how much more confused would the mum with no
dance background be? When you sign up even a toddler for an activity it
would be quite useful to have a handout that gave you the estimated
costs year on year until age 18, so you can make the choice that you
don't even want to allow your child to be interested in that thing if
you really don't like the thought of that much money! I wonder how many
dance mums are surprised when their child starts pointe work and after
having budgeted for classes, suddenly gets a shock when the frequency of
purchasing shoes suddenly goes up dramatically! The life span of a
pointe shoe is a fraction that of a canvas ballet shoe.

Cheers
Anne
  #92  
Old September 6th 08, 12:19 AM posted to misc.kids
Anne Rogers[_5_]
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Posts: 47
Default school supplies!


So, not that these are big huge deals that I ever complained to the teacher
about. But sometimes I don't think teachers and the like realize what a parent
has to do to scramble up some specified supply even if they've made an effort to
require some common thing. Indeed, it would be the worst impacts because those
would be things required that very evening or the next day.


LOL, I remember a time when I was asked to bring a cereal box into
school, it just so happened we'd just finished a box and it had already
been taken by the binmen and we were starting on a large box that no way
would be finished in time. My mum never used plastic containers for
cereal and it was such a big box there was no obvious big container to
decant it in to. So providing something as simple as a cereal box turned
out to be rather more difficult than expected, it's back to if you know
it's coming, you can plan and when my sister had the same class two
years later they were ready for the cereal box - there was added
amusement as the teacher, who was notorious for her craziness, didn't
simply say bring in a cereal box from home, actually said something like
"on the way home tonight, buy a box of cereal, then sit down and eat all
the contents and save the empty box"!

Cheers
Anne
  #93  
Old September 6th 08, 12:25 AM posted to misc.kids
Anne Rogers[_5_]
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Posts: 47
Default school supplies!


Hear Hear! My school is very reasonable on costs and projects etc. I
don't really have complaints about it but this one is very difficult
sometimes. And to echo one of your other posts our issue last year was
a shoe box. My son needed a shoe box. Well my house doesn't have shoe
boxes in it. So I load up all 4 kids and go trudging down to K-Mart to
find a shoe box - on a week night - when I have about 3 hours between
off work and bedtime to manage what needs to be managed for 4 small
kids. You can imagine how happy they all are to go shopping in the
freezing cold dark winter night when they are either hungry (before
supper) or tired (after supper).


I like the way our preschool handles things like this, they have a store
cupboard and they keep supplies like this and they do let parents know
about the kind of things they like you to hang on to and donate and
there will often be a sign saying things like "Mrs X is collecting
bottle tops drop them off in the box outside her classroom".

Then when something like a shoebox is needed, they still ask us to bring
one - they probably aren't storing anywhere near a full class worth of
something like that. But they also say bring extra if you have one and
don't worry if you don't, no need to go shopping etc. This accomodates
both not having one and forgetting, both of which have happened to us,
but another time they were asked to bring a broken electrical appliance,
we were able to provide for about half the class!

That kind of organisation takes years to build up though, so a small
school and a relatively low staff turn over really helps that kind of thing.

Cheers
Anne
  #94  
Old September 6th 08, 12:31 AM posted to misc.kids
Anne Rogers[_5_]
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Posts: 47
Default school supplies!


What is it with shoeboxes anyway? Last year we had the teacher telling
the kids on monday that they need a shoebox on wednesday for an art
project. Well, there isn't even a shoe shop where I live anymore. I
finally scored a box in a sporting goods store. Then when I bring it in
on Wednesday and tell the teacher that next time could she please give
us a weeks warning she goes "Oh, I went and got some boxes yesterday
anyway, just in case, you needn't have worried" well, why can't she go
and get all the stupid boxes if she's going to go and get some as backup
anyway, or at least let us know that it's not a huge deal if we can't
find a shoebox.


I think it's because going and getting 30 boxes is a lot harder work
than getting a handful and also is likely to end up costing, stores are
likely to be happy to give the few they have on hand, but I suspect that
shoe boxes are squashed up and disposed of before they get to that
quantity. With pizza boxes, if you nip in, smile sweetly and ask for
one, you'll probably get it, if you ask for 30 they'll charge you and if
they can't work out how to put that through the till, you'll go away
empty handed.

It is a challenge to build the kind of relationship and understanding
that has the parent understanding that it would be wonderful if you
could bring in the shoebox, but if you can't, don't worry.

Cheers
Anne
  #95  
Old September 6th 08, 12:36 AM posted to misc.kids
Donna Metler
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Posts: 309
Default school supplies!


"Anne Rogers" wrote in message
. ..

If the school is in an area where the majority of students couldn't
afford such a trip, then that's when you have to start appealing to
local companies etc. not expecting the few that can pay to pay for
everyone.

I doubt VERY much if we would have been allowed to do that at a public
school.


Why not? I read just today of a huge amount of money travelling between a
local company and the local school district, perhaps what makes it ok is
that the money officially comes from a foundation, which was created by
the owner of the company and technically is his choosing to do something
with a portion of his earnings. But the company does directly channel a
lot of money in to local schools (we could be the only school district
where ALL the high schools made the national top 100 last year), it's
never as simple as just handing over the money, but for every hour an
employee gives their time to the school, such as volunteering in the
classroom the company gives 17 dollars to the school. For every donation
an employee makes to a charity, the donation is matched - I'm not sure
exactly what bits of school are registered charities, but PTA fundraisers
must be. It would be VERY interesting to see a break down of where money
came from for the entire budget, I would guess that a significant amount
does come indirectly from this one company.

The one thing on this-in my experience, such grants come with strings, so I
wouldn't assume that the money could be used wherever the school needs it. A
lot of the basic classroom needs just aren't "sexy" to grantors-whether it's
the federal government or private industry. So, you get schools where you
have thousands of dollars in computer technology, but not enough books to go
around, or situations (which happened to me), where the band program has
gotten several large grants for instruments so low income students can
participate, but no funding to purchase reeds and care items or pay for
ongoing maintenance and repairs, and so on. Lots of positive press for the
donations, but in reality, it still ended up largely that kids who had
parents who could pay could do band-it just reduced the amount they needed
to pay because the school now had an instrument for them to use.

And the same applies to PTAs/PTOs. It's unlikely that parents will rush out
and fundraise to buy crayons, since many of the PTA parents probably are
more stretched for time than for money, but they'll do it for a greenhouse
or smartboards.

What usually happens if parents don't send in supplies is that the teachers
are going around to Staples and Walmart and buying things they know their
students will need cheaply out of their own pocket(many teachers actually go
online and find out the sales before the flyers come out, so they can be at
the store when it opens. Such threads are common on teaching message
boards)-and then parents can't get the $.01 items at Staples because the
teachers bought them all.

There are freebies out there for classroom use, but you're kind of damned if
you do and damned if you don't as a teacher. Military recruiters, for
example, will happily outfit you with pencils, rulers, spiral notebooks,
band folders, instrument tags, name tag lanyards and the like-but
invariably, you'll have parents complaining that their child is being
recruited into the military because you'll then have "Go Navy" or "Be all
you can be" everywhere. Commercial companies will also provide many school
supplies-but again, then your classroom is advertising whatever products
they sell-and invariably, someone will complain.











  #96  
Old September 6th 08, 01:10 AM posted to misc.kids
Ericka Kammerer
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Posts: 2,293
Default school supplies!

Anne Rogers wrote:

But my bet is that I know more about it than many of the parents, just
from picking up random snippets of information - and it's not surprising
if not knowing where exactly the money is going that parents quibble at
the cost.


Honestly, I've been heavily involved in communicating
this sort of information for several activities, and I've come
to the conclusion that while a lot of organizations are horrible
on the communication front, being good at putting the information
out isn't anywhere near enough! There are way too many parents
who just don't read, and I'm starting to lose a certain amount
of sympathy for them. It's downright irritating to spend hours
and hours putting together handbooks and presentations and
goodness knows how many other ways of conveying information,
only to still have some parents who gripe about not knowing
what the requirements are (or just assuming that requirements
don't apply to them). The stories go on and on and on.

I certainly relate to the dance stories, but in my
opinion, it ought to be self-evident that pretty much any
activity has stuff you need to know if you're going to pursue
it seriously, and that means you have to read the material
provided, attend the orientations scheduled, ask questions
when something is unclear, and so forth.

I don't think there is any way to force information
into the head of someone who isn't interested. Like I said,
there are plenty of organizations that are really bad at
sharing information, in which case the organization has
a good deal of responsibility for the ensuing confusion, but
there are also plenty of folks who assume that unless someone
corners them one-on-one and explains everything in very
small words, it just isn't important enough to bother with.

Best wishes,
Ericka
  #97  
Old September 6th 08, 01:12 AM posted to misc.kids
Ericka Kammerer
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Posts: 2,293
Default school supplies!

Anne Rogers wrote:

It is a challenge to build the kind of relationship and understanding
that has the parent understanding that it would be wonderful if you
could bring in the shoebox, but if you can't, don't worry.


It's not very challenging at all. A good while before
the activity requiring the supplies you send home a note that
says the class is collecting pizza boxes for a project and
asking folks to send in whatever pizza boxes they have. When
the required number have been collected, send another note home
saying mission accomplished. Problem solved. You just have to
plan ahead.

Best wishes,
Ericka
  #98  
Old September 6th 08, 03:52 AM posted to misc.kids
toypup[_2_]
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Posts: 222
Default school supplies!



"Donna Metler" wrote in message
...

The one thing on this-in my experience, such grants come with strings, so
I wouldn't assume that the money could be used wherever the school needs
it. A lot of the basic classroom needs just aren't "sexy" to
grantors-whether it's the federal government or private industry. So, you
get schools where you have thousands of dollars in computer technology,
but not enough books to go around, or situations (which happened to me),
where the band program has gotten several large grants for instruments so
low income students can participate, but no funding to purchase reeds and
care items or pay for ongoing maintenance and repairs, and so on. Lots of
positive press for the donations, but in reality, it still ended up
largely that kids who had parents who could pay could do band-it just
reduced the amount they needed to pay because the school now had an
instrument for them to use.


But if the school wanted computers and instruments, then it is free money
and they can use the money they would have used for computers and
instruments on paper and pencils. If the companies had paid for paper and
pencils, the school would have used the money they had for computers and
instruments, which means it's all the same in the end. Now, if the school
never wanted computers, they could just as well have turned down the offer.

As for just reducing the amount the parents had to pay for band, well that
might just be about what they needed in order to have the kids play in band.
That many more children can now afford it because the instruments were free.

If a business gives a needed supply, I think it should be appreciated.
Sure, it's good publicity for them, but it is a generous offer. We
shouldn't be grubbing for "what about this? what about that?" That's a
good way to discourage donations altogether. We use the money we save from
the donation for this and that. If the donation isn't needed, turn it down
and make suggestions for alternatives.



  #99  
Old September 6th 08, 03:54 AM posted to misc.kids
Michelle J. Haines
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Posts: 66
Default school supplies!

Rosalie B. wrote:

It is fair in that those people who pay taxes don't want to pay them,
and try to get by as cheaply as they can. So they don't fund the
schools. If their taxes really supported the schools, they wouldn't
have to do that. OTOH I think that buying three times the amount of
school supplies is pretty cheap compared to higher taxes. And it does
actually only impact people who have children in school, and also have
the ability to buy the supplies instead of putting it all back on the
teachers.


Oh, good grief. When I'm buying school supplies for four children at
one time, it's a pretty damned hefty hit to the bank all at once, you
know. So, yes, I think it's a little bit unreasonable to EXPECT parents
to be buy 3x the amount they need to be.

Oh, and BTW, I don't put up with the "I'm the teacher and I said so"
attitude, either. Just because you sent home a letter demanding I WILL
volunteer for a party for a holiday, doesn't mean I will. If you want
my help, you may politely ask, you may not state that I AM helping you.
Luckily for the teacher, my MIL likes to do school parties. I,
however, don't. They are welcome to ask me to chaperone field trips (my
own schedule allowing) because I happen to enjoy doing that. But I
don't organize parties. (And, btw, when I was involved in
homeschooling, I didn't do it then either...I organized the field trips.)

Also, just because the school sends home little "school/parent
contracts" insisting they must be signed doesn't mean they get signed.
"Here's a list of our legal responsibilities that don't actually change
whether or not you sign this. Here's a list of the ways we have decided
we want you to parent. Sign and return it." Um, no. They do keep
sending them home, though.

I have never been able to get over the outrage that was expressed when
I asked the kids to have a ruler with metric marks on it (in addition
to inches).


If you're equating me being a tad bit upset that I supplied my
5-year-old with enough school material for three five year olds, which
were then immediately confiscated from her with a parent being upset
over a ruler with inches vs. inches/metric (which isn't even a choice
anymore, btw) then I think you need to go back and try reading again, or
at least set aside some of your personal experiences, because you're not
seeing the forest for the trees.

Michelle
Flutist
  #100  
Old September 6th 08, 03:56 AM posted to misc.kids
Ericka Kammerer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,293
Default school supplies!

toypup wrote:

If a business gives a needed supply, I think it should be appreciated.
Sure, it's good publicity for them, but it is a generous offer. We
shouldn't be grubbing for "what about this? what about that?" That's a
good way to discourage donations altogether. We use the money we save
from the donation for this and that. If the donation isn't needed,
turn it down and make suggestions for alternatives.


It is true that gifts should be appreciated. It is also
true that givers should be thoughtful.

Best wishes,
Ericka
 




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