March 2017

The Last School Days of 2016-2017

Isn't it amazing how fast the school months fly by? Here we are almost to 4th quarter of 2016-2017. Wouldn't it be terrific if all things went smoothly for this last bit of school before summer? It won't take the luck of the Irish to have that happen. Here are some tried and true tips from staff who have avoided problems.

1. Field Trips and Volunteers

Help your staff understand volunteers who chaperone or accompany field trips need a background check. They are there to supervise children. A background check takes 3-5 business days to complete. Volunteers applying at the last minute might be very disappointed not being able to accompany their child or the classroom on a field trip. Advertise early and often. Teacher whose class or group going on an off campus trip to should inform potential chaperones know as early as possible so the person can complete the volunteer process prior to the trip.

2. Fourth Quarter Reward-Trips-Experiences for Students Who Qualify

Effective communication for parents and students can be a proactive approach to avoid concerns with activities where students must qualify to attend event or trip or receive a reward or award.

Coaches or teachers can provide information for parents through a variety of methods to increase awareness and obtain acknowledgement of the requirements for their student to qualify. Some of the criterion might include, but not be limited to, good attendance, zero tardies, no missing classwork, good citizenship with no ISS or OSS referrals. Some schools have parents sign a contract that specifies the expectations of the reward or trip. When parents are fully aware of the expectations, they are more apt to accept consequences.

We do get new parents in our buildings at all times of the year. Your staff can be proactive in providing them with the policies and procedures of your building. In addition to the school administrators, a school secretary, teacher or counselor can be an advocate to help educate a new family to the school rules and expectations, especially those new to your school this time of year.

3. A Student's Immediate Transfer is Revoked

I am always amazed at the incredulous reaction of some parents who have been notified that their child has lost their transfer status and must return to their home attendance school. The transfer revocation process involves two warning letters. Parents receive two warning letters. These letters suggest that the parent call the administrator to discuss situations surrounding their child. Nevertheless, some parents still cannot believe the transfer is over.

The end of third quarter and the beginning of fourth quarter bring up unique situations. Here are some tips to reduce the sudden shock of the final revocation letter.

  • THIRD QUARTER ends March 8th. If the student is to receive a final warning notice, make sure that happens before Spring Break. It is very upsetting for a parent to get a final letter during those days off school and be informed their child must go to their home attendance school. Head off that upset phone call. An administrator could call this parent and let them know prior to the break what the student has done, and discuss transitioning back to their home attendance school. Although it can be an uncomfortable conversation, calling the parent to explain the final warning is coming and next steps after the break will reduce upset calls across town.. Usually the parent has a sense of this anyway, but that conversation can head off complaints.
  • Fourth Quarter begins on March 20th. If a student's transfer is revoked during this time frame, they stay at the transfer school for the remainder of the school year. However, the letter informs them that they must return to their home attendance area school for the coming school year. If the final letter comes near the end of May, it would be appropriate to phone the parent to notify them rather than having the final letter arrive after school is out. Parents get really upset when they cannot reach anyone during the summer to discuss this.

Proactive communication is the "pot of gold" in parent -school relationships.

We Appreciate Our Volunteers

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Volunteer Hours Increasing Steadily

A big thank you to our Site Volunteer Coordinators who have encouraged and helped our volunteers log their hours. As you can see from the chart below, our volunteers are making a big impact on our students, staff and schools.

Keep up the great support!

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Legal Documents and Other Mind-Boggling Topics

School secretaries get inundated with paperwork. Electronic documents faxed over copy machines. Hard copy documents are sent via mail or email, legal couriers deliver subpoenas and guardian ad litems request student records for court cases, Foster care walking papers, affidavits, paternity paperwork can add up to overwhelming feeling of confusion and concerns about "what to do with this.",

A school secretary or administrative assistant has to have an understanding of many different departments and often times are asked questions that would stump a lawyer. To top it off, add in adoption paperwork with new birth certificates, court judges making suggestions about school locations, parents hunting their children, parents feuding over who has physical custody and guardianship! Mind Boggling! Just when a secretary thinks they have seen it all, a new situation pops up!

What is a secretary to do when faced with paperwork that needs immediate attention? YIKES!!


Although a school secretary is usually the front line for these documents and requests, they are not the sole person to determine the credibility, or the action steps with these documents.

If a secretary obtains a record or document that seems strange or foreign, do the following:

1. Show the document to their building principal. If the principal is not in person, call them.

2. Your principal or assistant principal are unavailable, contact the Records Office or Administrative Services Office. We have a variety of experts on our team, and we can assist.

3. Your School Police Officer is well versed in the interpretation of legal documents and can assist.

Don't forget, there are others to consult with if you have concerns. Help is there for you.

Our world is full of paperwork and legal documents, you are not alone. Your principal, the Records Office-Administrative Services, school police, and finally, the Directors of Elementary and Secondary are here to help when questions arise.

Sometimes it takes a village of eyes on a document or situation to bring resolution. We are working together in these things.

Kids Say the Cutest Things

Child 1: Why Shouldn't You Iron a Four-Leaf Clover?

Child 2: Tell Me.

Child 1: You Might Press Your Luck!

Child 1: What do you call leprechauns who collect aluminum cans, used newspapers, and plastic bottles?

Child 2: What?

Child 1: "Wee-Cyclers"

Child 1: Knock, Knock

Child 2: Whose there?

Child 1: Irish

Child 2: Irish Who?

Child 1: Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day

Irishing everyone a lucky, happy and relaxing Spring Break.

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