Parents & Community Members Check In

This month I had the opportunity to sit down with some parents and members of our community to discuss the current status and future direction of our schools. I thank them for taking the time to share their valuable ideas and thoughts with me, and look forward to more feedback!

 

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3 thoughts on “Parents & Community Members Check In

  1. Mrs. H

    Hello Superintendent Trongone,
    I’d like to address a matter that has caused not only myself but I’m sure many parents strife: Attendance. I have 3 children 1st,6th & 7th; this is our second year in the district. I’ve struggled to understand how the attendance policy is applied by each school. I understand the need for requiring doctor’s notes that the policies were created to curb “ditching school” without a valid reason. Each school though seems to make up it’s own interpretation of the district policy. For instance, my 1st &6th grader both had dental appointments first thing in the morning and I submitted a note with each when I signed them in at school. The elementary school marked it as an excused tardiness and the middle school marked it as an unexcused tardiness.I’m confused as to which it was even though I submitted a valid note immediately. Another example, my 7th grader was “formally” diagnosed with pneumonia(by chest xray) on a Wednesday. We were in phone contact beforehand with his doctor because of his fever which he had since the weekend. When he returned to school the following Monday, his note stated 3-5 days beginning on the first Monday with a date due to illness. Monday and Tuesday were marked as unexcused and Wednesday thru Friday were marked as excused. Again, I fail understand why. In the past when I have called the schools to inquire about these types of discrepancies, I’m told “that is the way we do it at XX.” In addition, As the ten day limit draws near, I will start to receive letters in the mail regarding the “academic dangers” and “possible court action”. I’ve inquired at the district level and was told not to worry about it as long as I have retained proof for each day. Some days I kept my child home due to the 24 hour fever/stomach bug free rule and did not visit a doctor. The level of distrust is disheartening to say the very least, that a parent is no longer the authority in judging when an ill student should return to school and then even with a doctor’s note is still penalized by an arbitrary judge. I would appreciate some clarification on the matter and would love to see it passed onto the schools. Thank You so much for your time and I have enjoyed your Inside Outlook Program thus far. Keep’em coming!

    Reply
    1. Tony Trongone Post author

      I apologize for the delayed response. I had to do some research on the matter, as I am new to the district.

      We are consistent, as per board approved handbook, in types of absences–excused or unexcused.
      What you describe happening to you in regard to inconsistency is, in fact, inconsistent, because we have no procedure for an excused lateness, such as a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment. I will address this with principals and further in the parent/student handbook.
      Addressing your doctor’s note issue; I will be speaking with our principals on interpretation of the procedure in the handbook.

      We have already begun discussing the process of sending letters home due to a certain benchmark number of absences. An example would be not sending out a letter in May when a child reaches his or her 4th absence.

      The issue with trust and what determines an excused or unexcused absence is an issue that I will address in the upcoming months with the board of education.

      Respectfully, please know that Pemberton Township Schools has one of the highest absentee rates in the county, and measures have been put in place to curb absenteeism in our district, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. We will continue these efforts.

      My assumption is that your children do not miss much school, but when they do, you, as a responsible parent, believe that you reserve the right to keep your child at home when ill without penalty. I understand your stance. It will be our responsibility to review existing policies and procedures that will curb absenteeism but at the same time address your concerns.

      Thanks for reaching out to me.

      Reply
  2. Mrs. Reuter

    I sat and listened to this parent gathering today and I applaud these parents for coming out and sharing their voice. I am familiar with a few parents that participated with this discussion. I’d like to address, that many parents are confusing our math that we teach with the standards known as Common Core. The standards are well written and very easy for a parent or even a child to comprehend. I think that where the confusion comes in, when the child is being taught a different way to solve a math problem then we were, and therefore refer to this as the Common Core nightmare. When they were in school (and myself), it was all about “sit and get & drill and kill.” Our students are not the type of children that can , “sit and get.” That is not a Pemberton issue, these are the children of tomorrow. I teach Family Math at my school, and I enjoy seeing the parent’s reaction when they get it! Math is more about the fear of the unknown, it is not comfortable for our parents to change a way that they may have learned how to solve a problem. I encourage all parents to reach out and ask for the “Reteach Book” to be linked on their teacher’s webpage, or assigned through Think Central. This book will explain how to help your child complete their math homework and the parents will learn a new and exciting, (probably easier) way to look at math with a different lens.

    “I want my child to walk ahead of me, not at my side, and not behind me or in my shadows” Author, Unknown

    Reply

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