June 2018

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First Day of EXPLORE

You might find that the first day of EXPLORE brings multiple parents and children who have not yet enrolled, but are wishing to have their child attend EXPLORE and just show up at your building. It can be stressful. You and your principal can work together to reduce the chaos. Preparation is the KEY.

Please take note in dealing with parents who have not enrolled their child for EXPLORE and show up day one:

1. IMMUNIZATIONS! Your school nurse can assist in determining if the student immunizations are updated.

a. Pay special attention to new grade K students, students moving from 7th to 8th grade, and students moving from 11th to 12th grade. These are key years for updates for immunizations.

b. Current students should have immunizations updated in eSchool in the other grades.

c. If immunizations are not verified, it is best to have the parent take charge in getting their medical care provider to send immunization information to the school fax number or directly to Health Services fax machine 417 523-1695. Until that happens, the child cannot be placed into classes. This usually takes some time. Simply be positive and explain it is the law.

3. Religious exemptions and immunizations: Involve your school nurse to provide information about this prior

Once the immunizations have been verified, the child could be sent to an appropriate grade level classroom while the parent completes the enrollment process. It is wise to inform teachers about this process. Most of the times, it only takes an hour to sort out all the details of the first day.


Think about having a group of chairs for parents to wait their turn in your office or in the hallway. Have a plan, and prepare.

Additional pre-first day strategies assist in reducing the stress of day one.

1. Post MAPS of the school and where the children should go first thing if they are enrolled. Kindergarten parents and children do cry.

2. Create class lists that provide information without violating privacy. Make copies for staff assisting parents in their inquiries.

3. Assign Staff members to specific duties day one to assist in timely assistance for parent questions or concerns.

4. Provide handouts or information about specific school processes. For example, the drop off and pick up procedure is one that causes lots of confusion and even panic for parents.

5. Systematically spelling out school procedures/expectation is especially important for parents who children do not regularly attend the EXPLORE site or are new to Springfield Public Schools.

Positive and Friendly Communication

Even if you are stressed, remember, the parent is needing help, and 9 times out of 10 need to be at work or somewhere else within 5 minutes. Stay calm and collected, even if the parent is not. Assure the parent that you can work things out to ensure that the child can attend EXPLORE. Give them specific information that they will need to provide for you to move forward with enrollment (like immunizations).

Advance planning and determining effective communication for staff, students, and parents prior to day one will benefit the smooth and efficient processing of getting children to classrooms and reducing confusion on all levels.

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EXPLORE! Secretary Binder-New and Improved

EXPLORE! secretaries will receive their own copy of an informational binder that contains support that they can use quickly to gather key information about the building, procedures, quick tips, and forms they need for the June and July sessions.

The binders will be given to first and second session secretarial staff during upcoming trainings prior to EXPLORE! beginning.

EXPLORE! Burning Questions

EXPLORE! sessions go by lightening fast for secretaries and other staff. First day to last day speeds by like a freight train on a non-stop trip. There are many questions that come up and need quick answers. More often than not, a building secretary is the first person who gets these questions. Here are some quick tips to get answers in a timely manner to support your work.

Question #1, I have an eSChool question, and don't have the answer. What do I do?

Answer #1, There is an eSchool ticket available for quick help. See picture below.

The EXPLORE!/RECORDS office will be handling all questions or information needed by sites for June and July. Using the EXPLORE ticket will facilitate a quicker answer for you than trying to get through a phone line, especially the first days of each session.

The ticket system also gives us a systematic method to collect areas of concern that might lead to a fix that will assist all of our buildings using technology. Our goal is to make your job easier and provide timely support when needed as quickly as possible. The ticket system allows this. During EXPLORE, think Amy Pointer, Brenda Swearengin, and Linda Lemmon as your "go to people" in the EXPLORE/RECORDS OFFICE.

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Question #2, What should I do if someone who says they are a parent calls or comes by the school site and wants information about their child or is hunting for where their child might be?

Answer #2, First, ask for a picture ID to confirm who the adult is. A driver's license works best. Then, offer them a seat away from your desk so they cannot see the eSchool screen. Next, check on the eSchool screen to see if the individual is listed as a guardian.

IF YES, they are listed as a guardian, you can speak to the individual about the child.

IF NOT, tell them your computer has had a problem or you don't have access to eSchool, and send them to the Bentley Building or have them call 523-0230 to discuss.

For more information follow the link to Parents Hunting for Their Children

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Question #3, There is a critical alert that states parents have legal documents in the paperclip that limit the other parent access to their child. What do I do?

Answer #3, Check with your building principal. The building principal should contact their Coordinator or the EXPLORE!/RECORDS for an answer.

As a district, we try hard not to be caught in the middle between feuding parents/guardians. School is a site for academics, not legal battles. Try to stay out of that and encourage the parent to work through the courts to determine end results of custody issues and visitations.

Most legal documents collected during the regular school year should be in an electronic paperclip in the student's eSchool page.

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