Category Archives: school

First Name Basis

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The girl has been absolutely DYING to call her teacher by her first name for most of the school year. Of course I wouldn’t let her and we started off the year with no problem referring to her as Mrs. Smith (not her real name). But then shortly into the school year, I got to know Mrs. Smith socially and we became friends. So suddenly, Mrs. Smith became Shellie to me. And even though I only referred to her by Mrs. Smith in front of the girl, she soon learned her first name, since she would occasionally hear me call her as Shellie in person, or mention to my husband that I was going to a party at Shellie’s house, etc. And from then on, it was her mission.

She never called her Shellie in school, but one day she told her she knew what her first name was. Shellie told her it was OK to know her name (and she told them what it was), but that they had to call her Mrs. Smith. She continued to obey in school, but she’d come home now and then and make a sly comment about how Shellie wanted me to call her or Shellie said hi. My response was always “Mrs. Smith!”

But she persisted:

Mrs. Smith said she could call her Shellie sometimes.

No.

Mrs. Smith said she could call her Shellie outside of school.

No.

Mrs. Smith said she could call her Shellie when school was over.

No

Finally she let up with it and I thought we were done. HAHAHA.

The girl went on to have a wonderful year and excel in school. She won an award for outstanding academic achievement. And we all know that while smart is good, it can also be trouble.

A mutual friend had a School’s Out party on the last day of school and Mrs. Smith was there. She told me that the last week of school, they were talking about letter sounds and she asked for examples of words that have a short e sound in the middle that she could write on the board. Of course my little genius raised her hand immediately. When Mrs. Smith asked her if she knew one she gave her best shit-eating grin and said, “I know a good one!”

You see where this is going don’t you?

Her word?

Shellie

And yet again, the school district gets a big WTF???

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So, I went to a meeting at the school on Friday, to meet with the girl’s kindergarten teacher, see the classroom, etc. And they were giving us The Rules. There have been quite a few changes in The Rules since the boy was in kindergarten. Most of these rules revolve around snacks.

Now, I will admit, I am all for healthy eating (I know, not that you’d know it to look at me). I used to complain when the girl was in preschool and parents took turn bringing a snack. Some of us brought healthy stuff, like yogurt and fruit and veggies. But most brought cookies and donuts and crap. I don’t really have a problem with cookies and donuts and crap, but for the kids’ daily snack, empty calories are a pretty shitty choice. The whole point of the snack is to hold them over through lunch or dinner. Yogurt will do that. A donut will not.
So anyway, The Rules say that grades K through 2 are allowed to have a snack in the afternoon in class. But the snack must be:

1: The first ingredient must not be sugar.
OK, I get this one. I just talked about this in the preschool snack issue. But I still get a little, “Duh – I don’t need to be told” about it.

2: They can’t have peanuts or peanut butter.
Again, I get it. Peanut allergies are evil. My kid can live without the peanut products for afternoon snack.

3: They can’t be more than 200 calories.
OK, I get it. But I’m getting a little squirmy about the telling me what I can do for my own kid. I know there are some parents that don’t care and there are plenty of obese kids. I know. And I wouldn’t likely send a snack more than 200 calories. But it’s bugging me a bit to have The Rules.

4: They must be individually pre-packaged.

DANGER DANGER DANGER!! What the FUCK???

So, let me get this straight: it’s OK for me to send my kid an individually pre-packaged fucking Twinkie (1st ingredient: who-the-hell-knows, calories: 150, fat: 4.5, cholesterol: 20mg, sodium: 220mg, carbs: 27, calcium: 20mg, god knows what other kind of processed, preservative laden shit is in there), but NOT OK for me to send her some celery and carrot sticks that I put in my own goddamned baggie (1st ingredients: fucking fresh vegetables, calories: 39, fat: 0, cholesterol: 0, sodium: 0, carbs: 9, calcium: 52mg, not to mention all the good vitamins and stuff)? Are you fucking kidding me?? I don’t get it. I really, truly don’t get it. I mean, I can understand that if I were sending a snack for the whole class it needs to be pre-packaged because of cross-contamination or dirty ass kitchens or whatever. But for my own child? Bullshit is all this is. And anyway, I wouldn’t be sending a snack for the class ever, since for parties, there are no edible items allowed, period. Last year, it was no candy – this year, nothing edible at all. Not for birthdays, not for anything.

I can live with the sugar thing and the calorie thing and the no-edible treats thing. But this pre-packaged thing is nonsense. And you want to know the biggest fattest nonsensical part of it? The fucking school cafeteria sells cookies, ice cream and fruit snacks (which – despite their name – resemble fruit only in the most basic of ways) every day to anyone with money in their account. And it gets better – in high school, they have all that, plus vending machines selling Coke and Mountain Fucking Dew and the like.

Hypocrisy, much?

Things

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You know that thing with family? The thing where you can say your mother/sister/brother/cousin is a bitch/a big fat loser/an asshole/stupid, but let anyone else say it and oh, HELL NO.

Well, I have that same thing when it comes to our school district or my small town. I get my hackles up when I hear an outsider make disparaging remarks. I defend the school vehemently. I get angry. The giant chip on my shoulder grows to enormous proportions. I guess it’s because, in a way, I feel like it’s not just the school or town that is being insulted, but me. I feel like, since I choose to live here, when people look down on it, they are really saying that I must be somehow lesser, as well. I know this, and still it pisses me of, since it’s not their damned business anyway.

But there are plenty of days that I have my own gripes about things, and hoo-boy – this is one of them. Of course, something always triggers a rant, and mine would be the letter I got last night, which is my first thing.

Thing the first:
I came home to a letter last night that stated that my son’s report card was being held because of overdue library fines. OK, I get it – you have to have some leverage to recoup those huge fines racked up by kids and parents who don’t give a shit (though presumable, if they don’t care about their fines, they might not care about the report card, either). Anyway, my problem here is that 1) he paid the fine weeks ago – as soon as he realized the book was late and returned it. And 2) The fine? Thirty cents. THIRTY CENTS! They paid 42 cents for a stamp, plus the cost of the envelope, the paper, and the time it took someone to create the letter and fine report, then held his report card for a thirty cent fine. WHICH WAS ALREADY PAID! And the icing on this one? Included in the letter was someone else’s library fine report. A kid with the same first name, though spelled completely differently, and a last name at the complete other end of the alphabet. Which makes me wonder about their filing system.

Thing the second:
Speaking of report cards, they were supposed to receive them on January 26th or 27th. And they got them on February 5th. What the fuck? I feel bad for the kids whose parents were waiting at the door on the 26th, looking for the report card and then nagging the poor kid ever since – are you sure you didn’t get it? Are you telling me the truth?

Thing the third:
I have already talked about this, but how can we forget that they make huge, HUGE mistakes in their attendance records, and then refer people to social services because of those mistakes. I love that. I still get letters from that agency, giving me “support” and shit. I know it’s a good program, but I do not need it. And thus feel a little, no a LOT, offended by the whole thing. And by law – even though they know it was a mistake – they have to continue to monitor my child’s attendance. It’s like I’m on probation or something. And he was recently sick and missed a day, and then missed part of a day for a dentist’s appointment. And even though I know it’s totally OK, I find myself feeling guiltier than that time Aunt Twin caught me all Michael Phelps-like on her back porch and cried. And that’s saying something, because when your sweet aunt cries about “the pot”, that’s guilt.

Thing the fourth:
The only thing that made me more furious than the whole social services thing was calling to talk to the principal to talk about it and being told (via her secretary) that it “wasn’t [her] job.” Which leads me to…

Thing the fifth:
The fact that the principal is never, EVER, available to speak with you. And never returns your calls. Because she is a big, old, nasty bitch.

Thing the sixth:
Their truancy calls –oh my god. Last week the boy was home sick and that night, I got an automated call that said, and I quote, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” I was so very tempted to send in my excuse all, “please excuse the boy for being absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. He was home sick.” And then, when he was out for a dentist appointment on Thursday morning, I got, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash CH slash staffer Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” What? The? Fuck? Is up with all the Rhode Island?? Although, Rapunzel go the best one. They once sent her a message saying that her son, FRACKLE FRACK was absent. Do I even need to tell you that her son is very much NOT named Frackle Frack?? I didn’t think so.

Thing the seventh:
Again with the calls. When there’s a delay or cancellation, they call and tell you via a recorded message Which is great. Especially when they call the night before. But not so much when they call at FIVE FUCKING A.M. Now, I am getting up at 5:15 anyway, but that extra 15 minutes is precious. And also – a lot of people don’t get up at the buttcrack, so I am sure they aren’t wild about it either. And really, this is western Pennsylvania – the radio and TV stations live to report school closings and delay. This is BIG NEWS in the PA winter. I am sure I will find out one way or another. Please don’t call me at five.

Thing the eighth:
Oh My God, those fucking PSSAs. I have ranted and raved about them for years now. And I hate them with a passion. PSSA stands for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. It’s a standardized test used “to measure a student’s attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards”. Which is just bullshitspeak for “used to determine which schools are getting more funding” Basically, what this means is good PSSA scores = more money for the school. And as we all know, if there’s money involved, there’s going to be bullshit. So the schools waste a whole lot of time teaching the kids to take this test, instead of actually teaching them stuff. This is a huge big issue for me and I think I’ll have to save it for its own entry or this one will go on forever. Thanks, Dumbya!

Thing the ninth:
Hedge just told me that the elementary school sent home a note saying that if the kids are going to bring in invitations to pass out, they have to be sent to the principal so she can review and approve them. Don’t get me wrong – I fully support the rule that of there isn’t one for everyone in the child’s class, then they can’t do it. That’s fine. But I think having the principal review and approve each invitation is a bit excessive. Or at least odd. Although I told Hedge that she should totally send one ion for approval for a strippers and blow party.

Thing the tenth:
Yesterday, they sent home order forms for the yearbooks, telling us how much they were and when to return them. The problem? We had a fundraiser a few months ago when we were told that if we sold a certain number of crappy items, we would receive a free yearbook. I wanted no parts of the fundraiser, because I’d rather just pay for the damned thing, but the boy was determined to earn it, and by god he did. He sold more than enough. So, say it with me now – What the Fuck?

I Will Be Saying Fuck a Lot Today

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I want to talk about how happy I am this morning, about how proud I am of the decision we as a country made. I want to talk about the screams of delight and tears of joy. I really do. But it will have to wait because I am so pissed off right now that I am physically ill. I came home to a letter last night that sucked any joy I would have had right the hell out of me. Even after sleeping on it, I am still so angry I can’t even concentrate.

You see, it seems that my son’s “truancy” has warranted our being referred to a social services agency. Notice “truancy” is in quotes. We took him out of school for one week to go on vacation. A family trip, in our school district, is considered an excused absence. He went to school his first day back with his huge stack of completed homework. He made up all the tests. He has all As and Bs. This is bullshit!

I need to post the letter so you can truly understand my fury. First – the agency is an outside group called Try Again Homes, Inc. OK – “Try Again Homes”???? That sounds a little too much like CYS to me. They have two mottoes on their letterhead: “Giving Families New Direction” and Serving Children, Strengthening Families, and Building Lives.” WTF???

I checked out their website and they are all about “families at risk” and “families in need” and “families poised to have a child removed from their care” and adoption and foster children. This is motherfucking CYS/Social Services with a prettier name. Again, WTF?? WHAT!!! THE!!! FUCK?!?!?

The letter states:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. B:

I am an Educational Advocate from Try-Again Homes Inc. Our agency is collaborating with the Asshole School District in a Truancy Intervention Prevention Program. Frequent Truancy often leads to poor grades, grade level failure, and ultimately dropping out of school. The goal of our TIPP Program is to help prevent truancy and provide assistance to families and students, if needed, to identify and overcome the obstacles that may be interfering with the student’s ability to complete their basic education. The collaboration with the schools may also extend to other community agencies and resources when it is determined that the student and family could benefit from their special services.

The Boy has been referred to our agency because he has been absent for 6 days during this school year, of which 2 are illegal. It is important we meet with you to discuss this matter. A parent conference is set for Thursday, November 13th at 12:00 pm (noon)

If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at 724-eat-shit. Also, please call and confirm the appointment date and time.

Do I have any concerns? You think??

Here are my MOTHERFUCKING CONCERNS

1. The fact that he missed 5 days and not 6!
2. The fact that they were excused, according to both the school policy on absences and the student handbook!
3. The fact that it makes no sense that they would claim that some of them are excused and some are not – they were all for the same thing!
4. The fact that they should be aware that they are excused, given that I sent letter to the principal and every teacher weeks in advance!
5. The fact that the school had him carry a form, around to every teacher to be signed off on!
6. The fact that every single year he has had near perfect attendance and two years, he had PERFECT ATTENDANCE!
7. The fact that he is so OBVIOUSLY not a child at risk – he went back to school after vacation with his huge stack of homework done, he gets good grades, he’s well liked by his teachers, he participates in extracurricular activates – the boy plays multiple instruments in the band, for fucks sake – does this sound like a child at risk to you??!!!!!
8. The fact that it’s hilarious to me that we are suddenly a family at risk, because we took our FAMILY on a FAMILY VACATION!!!!!!!
9. The fact that if this school DOES NOT HAVE ITS SHIT TOGETHER and has the incorrect number of days absent, and has incorrectly designated them as illegal!!
10. The fact that two days – although incorrect – is worthy of bringing in an outside agency!!
11. The fact that this agency would fucking presume to MAKE ME AN APPOINTMENT, AS IF I HAVE ALL THE FUCKING TIME IN THE WORLD TO MEET WITH THEM IN BETWEEN NOT WORKING, EATING BON-BONS, AND SMOKING CRACK!!!
12. The fact that if the school would spend even a fraction of them time they spend on those goddamned PSSAs on a little fucking QUALITY CONTROL, this would not be a problem!! If they had taken even one FUCKING MINUTE to check their FUCKING FACTS before they referred us to A FUCKING AGENCY, this would be all for naught!!!!
13. The fact that there are NOT ENOUGH CAPS OR EXCLAMATION POINTS IN THE WORLD TO EXPRESS HOW FUCKING ANGRY I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah – I’ve got a few concerns.

I immediately called the agency and left a voicemail. I realize that my beef is with the school, who did the referring, but I am a little ticked about the agency making me an appointment and assuming I’d be available, so I left a VM letting them know that I would most certainly NOT be meeting with them. I called the school this morning, but the principal was unavailable (surprise). I will be giving her one more call and then I am going to the superintendent. Or maybe I’ll just go to him anyway. If they don’t fix this shit immediately, it will be a huge mistake. Our school has had some negative publicity in the past and I imagine that they don’t want any more.

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UPDATED:

I spoke with the woman from the agency and she was very nice. She said that as soon as she got my message she looked at his records and could immediately see that it was his vacation and she couldn’t understand why he was referred. She said that she gets frustrated because this happens a lot and she ends up with (rightfully) irate parents calling her. She is upset that the school isn’t doing a better job. She made me feel a million times better when she said that we don’t have to meet and she doesn’t have to look into his attendance any further. She did say that she will be going to the school this week to discuss this with them. Yay. Because seriously – if she was able to spend 5 minutes looking at his records and figuring it the fuck out, why can’t the school? Oh -and that extra day? It was an excused absence for a scouting trip. The thing is? He didn’t go on that trip! He was in school!! SO he could have ditched school (or god forbid, been abducted) and no one would have known) Fuckers.

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UPDATED AGAIN:

OMG, I hate the school principal!!

I called earlier this morning ans she wasn’t available,. this didn’t surprise me because at the beginning of the year, I had to call her a couple of times because his schedule was screwed up and each time, she was not available and instead passed messages through the secretary.

So I didn’t want to leave a message this morning, but said I would call back. the secretary asked why I was calling and I told her briefly of the situation. I called back a couple of hours later (after I had spoken to the agency) and when the secretary answered, i identified myself and asked if the principal was available. She said sure and put me on hold. And then she came back a couple of minutes later and said that Mrs. Bitchbagcuntface wanted her to tell me that it was not her job and that I needed to talk to the assistant principal because it was his job, bt he is out until Monday.

In case you missed that – she said it was NOT HER JOB!!!

Well, my tax dollars say it IS her job! I understand that attendance issues may fall under the assistant principal’s job duties, but since he is the assistant and she is the principal, that makes it her fucking job!!! Especially given that I have an actual problem that needs to be addressed (she had no idea whether I spoke to the agency yet or not), and because the asst principal was out for the rest of the fucking week.

Fucking Bitch!!

I am planning on getting in touch with the superintendent now, because this is unacceptable – both the complete failure of the attendance system and – especially – the behavior of this principal. I think I may have to email, though, because I know my weaknesses and my big one is my temper and potty mouth (what the fuck of it?). So I am afraid to call for fear of going all crazy and undoing any good I might accomplish otherwise. So I need to calm down, gather my thoughts and draft an email. The problem is that I am so frustrated I can’t calm down and think straight. So all you smart, eloquent folks out there, feel free to give me some advice on what to write. If I’m left to my own devices, there may be a few too many fucks, dickheads, motherfuckers, assholes and even a cunt or two.

Back to Reality

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Ahh, back to the “real world”. Going back to work after the holidays I always a double-edged sword. On one hand, ughhh, no more sleeping in, no more lounging around in jammies, no more hot breakfasts and freely-flowing wine (And beer. And rum.). No more people sending gifts and cookies and home-made goodness. No more spending all my time with my beautiful, loving children. On the other hand, no more feeling like a lazy ass because I sleep too much, no more looking like a disgusting lazy ass in my jammies all day, no more sorta-almost hangovers, no more utter gluttony, what with the gifts and goodies. And no more spending 24 hours a day with my noisy, pain-in-the-butt kids.

Usually when I am working, I get up around 5:00 am or so, but this morning, I decided to sleep in a little. There was snow predicted and I figured the roads would be bad, which would slow me down anyway, so sleeping in until 5:30 would be no big deal. But at 5:00, the phone rang. And you know how it is – when the phone rings at some ungodly hour, it scares the crap out of you – you leap out of bed, run to get it wondering and worrying over who is sick, dead, or injured. So, I leap from the couch, fall over my own feet into the chair where the jackass dog is sleeping, which makes him completely lose his shit, we both tumble to the phone where I grab it and hear, “This is the Smalltown Area School District. We are operating on a two-hour delay. Thank you.”

Seriously? Seriously?? You are calling me at Dark O’Clock to give me information that will be plastered all over the no less than 6 local TV channels, six bajillion radio stations, and every TV and newspaper website within a 100-mile radius? Well, Fuck you very much, SASD! I could have slept that extra 30 minutes, turned on the TV to ANY channel and seen all 200+ delays and closings scroll across my screen for the next 4 hours if I wanted to. How fucking stupid would I have to be to miss that information? If only they put this much effort into teaching our kids something. I mean, these are the people that scheduled my son’s group music lesson at a time slot that falls 15 minutes before his bus arrives at school. The people who spend about seven of nine months teaching the kids how to take that asinine George W Bush test of bullshit and typos. The people who decided (briefly – before parent reaction warranted otherwise) that the kids were not allowed to speak at all in the halls or at lunch. So why am I surprised?

Anyway, I hope you all had a very nice holiday. Mine was pretty good overall. Other than the fact that we are still adding/renovating and my head is going to explode if we don’t finish soon, that is. I mean, if I thought we were crowded before Christmas, I was sadly mistaken. Because Now? Now we are crowded. I just can’t wait to at least get the kids’ rooms done, so we can start putting stuff away. And for mr b to finish the trim-painting so we can disassemble the spray booth and I can start to turn the basement into the playroom that it is intended to be. Because right now, the new ping-pong table is taking up all the space and I really want to start moving toys down there. And speaking of ping-pong? It makes the dog lose his tiny little mind. As soon as he hears the first ping (or pong – whatever), he goes completely batshit and starts barking. It’s funny for about 3 minutes and then you want to stuff his own head up his ass. I only wish I had a photo of the time I had to tape his face shut (oh, shut up – it was only that blue painters tape – I knew it wouldn’t hurt or de-fur him. And on one last tangent – speaking on de-furring – I got a furminator and it rocks.

OK – so I want to know – what was your best gift? Your worst? The one you were most excited to give? Your biggest disappointment?

Mine are:

Best – well, I’d like to say my camera, but since I actually bought it myself, it probably doesn’t count. So I’d have to say that my camera case was probably the best gift, since it allowed me to carry around the camera without acting like some freak transporting a live, beating heart in my hands. Which is pretty accurate. I’d practically shove an old lady, a puppy and possibly the Baby Jesus out of my way to avoid hurting my preciousssss.

Worst – the cute but too-small clothes that my mom got me. Though I should be used to it by now .

Most excited to give – the boy’s drum set. I’m sure the day will come that I regret this one, though.

Biggest disappointment – I was all set to give the girl a smart-cycle. There were 3,964,278,817 of them in every store. Until I had a chance to shop without kids. Then, there were none for 200 miles around. Except the bastards selling them online for twice the price. Assholes.