Monday, June 4, 2012

Starting the summer with school frustration

Today is officially my first day of summer vacation and, while I'm having a great time, I have to vent about two things that are carrying over from school.

The first is the yearbook.  I have been doing the school yearbook for the past four (possibly five I'm not exactly sure) years.  I receive a stipend for doing it and it really doesn't take that much time so I usually don't mind.  Unless there are problems with the yearbook.  Last year I had a student helping me with it as part of her senior project.  She did a great job of taking pictures at events throughout the year, but then didn't manage to get them to me until the last day of school after I had already finished and submitted the yearbook.  Whoops.

This year, the problem is not with the students, but with the company that takes our school pictures and makes our yearbooks.  I had great students helping me this year who took pictures throughout the year and got them to me so I had plenty of time to finish the yearbook.  I have everything finished and submitted to the company, except the portrait pages.  I haven't been able to finish the portrait pages because the company managed to mix up the portraits from the Carmel and Noblesville schools.  I don't know if Noblesville has our pictures, but we have theirs.

Normally I love the company we work with.  They do a great job of making the yearbook easy to put together and of answering my questions.  I usually call them at least once a year to ask for a reminder on how to do something I should already know how to do and they're always really nice about it.  So I contacted them last week about the mix up with the portraits.  They said they would get their lab working on it.  Now it's a week later and I still haven't heard back from them, which means I'm waiting on them to fix the mix up so I can finish the yearbook.  Frustrating!

The second is a parent who emailed the entire staff today.  I won't go into too much detail here, but her daughter was going to our school for a little less than three weeks before she got into trouble and was sent to the juvenile detention center.  She has been there for the remainder of the school year.  I have been providing her daughter with work so she can earn her English credit, which she didn't because she didn't return enough work to us.  Today, the mom emailed the entire staff to say that we were:

  1.     doing a horrible job as a school
  2.     had not positively impacted her daughter in any way or given her the opportunity to earn credit
  3.     have no idea what goes on with any of our students, especially during lunch when they're allowed to go off campus, and that she had seen Facebook and text messages talking about illegal activities between students during lunch.

The school principal and the social worker both responded really well and basically pointed out that:

  1. If she was that concerned about the school then she should have contacted us at some point between when her daughter started going to our school (months and months ago) and the end of school.
  2. That we didn't have much time to positively impact her daughter since she was with us for less than three weeks and that we aren't miracle workers.  It's not our fault that her daughter did something stupid and ended up in juvy.  I also know for a fact that we did positively influence her daughter because she would write me notes about how much she liked our school and our staff on the work she sent me from juvy.
  3. That we are a charter school that doesn't receive any funding to provide lunch for our students, which means they have to be allowed to go off campus for lunch.  And that if this parent had proof that there were illegal activities going on between students during lunch and knew about them that she should have either informed us or the authorities so that we could deal with it.  Duh!

I know that this parent is simply venting, but how ridiculous to contact us the day after school gets out with accusations about our school and our ability to do our jobs.  We have had several emails going around between staff members venting our frustration with this because these are the worst accusations we've heard from a parent all year and we're all upset about it.  Now I'm going to ignore this for the rest of the day and get back to enjoying my summer vacation.

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