While this post has many things to do with my kids’ school, it’s really for all parents who have a child in school that requires them to roll through the pickup line.
The last two years, we’ve kinda been the wallflower parents, not because we wanted to, but because we had to. Our life has been all about keeping Luke alive. Now that he’s starting to hit a bit of his stride, we’re slowly, but surely, dipping our toes back in the volunteer pool.
Late last fall, I contacted our school’s assistant principal and shared my concerns with her about the efficiency and safety of the dropoff and pickup procedures. I arrogantly thought I had all the answers. She was so kind and gracious to listen to me. Then, this spring, I contacted her again after a near miss of car vs. student. To be honest, it completely freaked me out. The safety of our kids was weighing heavily on my mind. Just ask Scott, he had to listen to me every night as I walked through every possible option to fix the problem. I even drove up to the school to see if that spurred any new ideas. As providence would have it, Mrs. L asked if I would serve as chair of a committee to address the concerns and come up with some possible solutions for her to share with the principal.
I immediately said yes. Not because I was all that, but because I could not get that image of that student’s scared face out of my head. The committee was formed and we met over the course of three weeks at my house in June. I won’t blow their cover 🙂 However, I think it’s important to note that those parents included: leaders on campus, a brand-new family, a family that has been at the school since its inception, parents of a middle schooler and a high schooler at the neighboring Savio campus, those with one child, those with four. I think it was a mighty fine representation of the many viewpoints of our school community.
Our first meeting we discussed, with Mrs. L, all our concerns and all the problem areas. And I mean ALL. Two hours later, we had a list of things that needed our attention. Our charge was to come back the next week with ideas of how to address each concern. We met again, without Mrs. L, to discuss our ideas. She wanted us to brainstorm without limitations. I am extremely proud of the ideas we generated. It was a fantastic meeting. I sent our ideas to Mrs. L and she then shared them with the principal, Savio and St. Vincent de Paul (the nearby parish) and we met again to discuss possible changes to the procedures.
Ultimately, each one of us wanted our kids to be safer. And, as I thought about that some more, I realized what a tremendous cross our administrators and faculty carry each day. I am responsible for my five children. They are responsible for 488. FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EIGHT. Folks, that is no small cross. We are quick to criticize when something doesn’t go well, but slow to commend for the amazing job they do everyday in keeping our children, YOUR children, safe.
Under the new system for dropoff and pickup it’s my hope that parents practice patience (there are going to be kinks to work out), realize that it might be a slight inconvenience to pick up at two campuses, but our kids safety is more than worth it, and…most importantly…that we all realize that our children’s safety is not worth gambling.
Trust me, we thought of the many scenarios:
But, I’m just going to park my car in this fire zone/no parking area for five minutes while I run into the kindergarten classroom. I’m the only one parked here!
I have kids at both schools, it is not that big of a deal for me to cross the carline traffic. I’m with my kids the entire time!
Oh, my brakes work and I’m paying attention. If I see a kid crossing where they shouldn’t, I’ll just hit the brakes and keep an eye out.
This phone call is really important, I’ll just put them on speaker while I drive through carline to pick up my kids.
And about 1,000 more.
This whole process taught me some invaluable lessons:
1. Always be an advocate for your child. If something concerns you, do something about it. Complaining on facebook is completely pointless.
2. Don’t be so quick to judge the process.
3. Step out of yourself and look at the bigger situation. Is there a reason why it’s done the way it is?
4. Follow the rules. Our administrators have plenty of headaches. They are certainly not looking to make people’s lives more complicated. They are, however, completely obsessed about safety. I’d say that’s a mighty healthy obsession.
May this school year be your very best yet and may it be a year of learning…for all of us.