If you are willing and able to volunteer next year for any PTA activities, including kindergarten orientation, we'd be grateful. Thanks to all who answered the survey; here are some of the summary items I'll be recommending to the 2012 new family orientation coordinator:
- Before summer activities: in addition to kindergarten tours in January & February, add a new kindergartener social in May or June. Although the families will know they'll be attending Bagley because of the new attendance area qualifications, we'll have to advertise at the orientation, on the website, on local blogs, and by school mail since this will be a new program... that will be the trickiest part.
- Lots of people liked the idea of a family mentoring program. Could be pretty casual, meet once (at spring new K social?), then correspond by email once you've met in person. I didn't get too many emails, and I'm guessing that is because I am a faceless blogger in this forum. Anways, a mentoring program would need someone to get mentors - probably 1st grade families since the experience is fresh, or current Bagley parents who also have an incoming kindergartener so they know the ropes - and arrange some group meetup times. Maybe this could start as early as the spring social.
- Maybe: regular weekly or biweekly times for playground meetups for all Bagley kids, not just new students. Historically, fewer activity options have resulted in higher new student attendance at each event, and less work for volunteers, but if this was just a really casual drop-in activity (maybe 'sponsored' by different K-1 classes each time?), it could work. I'm still iffy. BUT an early summer playdate to meet up with mentors would be helpful.
- Start collecting new student emails at orientation and set up a new K yahoo group to coordinate and communicate activities such as a regular meetup. Yes! Communication is tough, and getting people's email contacts early would be terrific.
- Continue with the blog or set up an FAQ webpage. We have had 1600 hits since the end of July. Wowzers!
- Still have two or three new student playground August meetups, but plan for one weekend morning in early- to mid-August, one weekday evening picnic or potluck the week before school starts (by that Thursday, people will know their teachers), and maybe a daytime weekday get-together. Important: only have a few to avoid diluting attendance and making more work for volunteers, but spread them out and offer different time slots. Also, be considerate of working parents' schedules.
- Have name tags at all events. Popsicles on hot days.
- Make a clever reusable Bagley bee sign, instead of having balloons. There are a ton of long rulers in the storage room that could be used somehow.
- At the week-before-school event, have big signs for each teacher/class so families can congregate accordingly and meet other families who are in the same class.
- Somehow loop in the Boys and Girls Club to the orientation process.
- Improve communication from the school itself (PTA doesn't have much control over this, but the concerns are noted). Quite a few people did not receive any mail from the office - although I suspect this is often an issue related to timing of registration?
- n.b. Some suggestions to have an earlier opportunity to check out the school - right before bedtime the night before school starts isn't ideal. Moving the teachers' welcome night ain't gonna happen b/c the teachers need to prepare right up until the last minute, so they have requested that night-before timing. BUT maybe we can come up with some kind of combined spring social/school mini-tour? Need volunteers to make this all happen, people!
See you 'round DBE,