Pondering Principal                         
A Blog by Nancy Box, Imagine Firestone Principal

We Are On Our Way!
Sunday, August 17, 2014

I love the fall! And I love the first week of school! I have special memories from my own elementary school days...a crisper feel to the air (I grew up in upstate NY and we started school after Labor Day), the smell of milk and graham crackers, the walk to school (I lived 3-5 blocks away from each of my grades K-12 buildings and no, I did not get a ride to school in the rain, the cold, or the snow), the laughter of my friends. The first week of school was always special.

Our Imagine Firestone first week of school was special too...though reality and memories are rarely a fair match. The air was not crisp, schools no longer give out milk and graham crackers for snack, and many kids arrive by carpool. Even with supplies, drop off did indeed go smoothly and there really were few tardies. Remember, students should be in their seats at 8:10 ready to learn. (Please don't ask my mom how I managed that expectation. Let's just say that there was a fair amount of morning angst and it is astonishing that I did not become a World Class sprinter from all my practice.) 

Parents, please note that we do allow you to walk your children to class for the first week only. After which time, we work to build independence by expecting students to walk to class on their own. On the rare occasion
that you need to help them into class after the first week, you will need to sign in through the office system. It is important that we always know who is in the building for safety and security reasons. 

Pick up is always a bit tricky than drop off until we learn the names of new students and families and get reaquainted with the old (summer learning loss is not just for kids!) As you learned quickly, our inclement weather pick up plan is a bit more cumbersome, constrained by the need to keep your children in the multi-purpose room, as safe and dry as possible, instead of standing outside the building. These situations are even more difficult when the torrential downpour arrives seemingly instantaneously and is accompanied by lightening. Thank you for your support and patience during this unexpected experience. We do promise that pick-up becomes quicker and more efficient as we all get
Greenwich Central School in Upstate NY
through the learning curve. On most days students will be waiting outside with their teachers, I (and my counterparts) will get faster at calling their names, and they will get faster at locating their vehicles and getting inside. Please help them in as quickly as possible (please do not get out of your car nor open the trunk or hatch back for supplies) and exit through the left hand lane. This will keep the traffic moving.

If you desire to pick up students at an off-campus pick up location, please do so far enough outside of the pick up loop that you are not merging into the pick up loop traffic. The merging in and out of traffic really slows down the dismissal process. Students who are walking off campus, either to their home or to a pick up location, must have a Permission to Leave Campus form signed. All K-5 students will leave the building with their teachers and then "walkers" will be dismissed from their class. All other students will wait with their teacher until you walk up to get them or their names are called for the car line. Permission to Leave Campus, requires students to leave campus immediately, so please do not ask them to meet you at on on-campus site. We realized mid-last-year that some folks had created these on-campus plans, which led to pick up confusion and safety/supervision concerns. We respectfully ask that you follow the protocol created for your children's safe dismissal.

This week we met with Firestone police and town personnel along with local HOA representatives in order to ensure that our drop off and pick up processes were safe and efficient and neighborly. The police department continues their on-going support of our plan. However, they are also going to have a zero tolerance policy for anyone not obeying traffic rules. Please be cognizant of the no parking and no U-turn zones. Please also be aware that it is not okay at anytime to go around the line of traffic to avoid waiting. Believe me, I know what a busy life feels like. The American lifestyle requires us to be in too many places at the proverbial same time. However safety is our number one concern throughout the pick up and drop off processes.

And so we look forward to the weeks ahead. To the weather, indeed, getting crisper. To academic growth. To recess fun. To family events. To music concerts. To soccer games. To the holidays. To all the ups and downs, smiles and frowns, that make up a successful academic year. Here's to Imagine Firestone and all the teachers, staff, parents, and students who make us all we can be. Here's to the 2014-2015 school year!