Taking something of a page from the book of the district’s successful public Montessori schools, all MPS schools this year will use a staggered start to help introduce primary-aged children to their schools.
In the past, the Montessori schools -- whose K3, K4 and K5 kids share classrooms -- welcomed K5 students on the first day of school and every few days, over the course of a week and a half, phased in a few more K3 and K4 students until all students were together in their classrooms.
The idea of the staggered start is that it allows teachers to focus more on a smaller group of kids to help get them accustomed to their classrooms, schools and procedures. It also helps teachers and children to get acquainted more quickly.
This year, all MPS 3-, 4- and 5-year-old kindergarteners will begin on one of three days: the first day of school for programs on the standard academic calendar, Tuesday, Sept 2; Wednesday, Sept. 3; or Thursday, Sept. 4.
But they’re not phasing in. Instead, these students -- including Head Start and special needs students -- will have their second day of school on Friday, Sept. 5. That means some will start on Sept. 2 and have two days off before returning. Others will begin on Wednesday with a break on Thursday before heading back to school Friday.
That's an important fact for parents, who will have to be sure to arrange child care for a day or two they may have expected their kids to be in school.
The district's six public Montessori schools are still allowed to use the phase-in method, but must complete it by Friday, Sept. 5, rather than taking a week and a half to do it, as in the past.
"It's critical for our youngest students to experience a positive transition from home to school and staggered start is one way we are committed to making that happen," MPS Acting Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said in a statement released today.
Schools are communicating the staggered start procedure to families and it is important to note that if a child shows up on a day he or she isn’t scheduled to attend during the staggered start period, that child will be welcomed into the classroom. The child WILL NOT be turned away.
Though it was not included in the district’s official statement today, administration is urging schools to take advantage of staggered start to help build parent engagement.
"Parent engagement in schools is much more than parent teacher conferences; parent engagement is fostered through multiple opportunities and activities designed to engage parents in their child’s school and education," reads a communication sent to principals.
"Staggered Start is an incredible opportunity for schools to engage parents. As traditional schools implement staggered start, below you will find a list of strategies that could be offered to parents during staggered start (Sept. 2, 3 and 4) to build relationships and ease the transition to the school year."
These are some of the ways the district suggests principals and staff use staggered start days to foster parental engagement in schools:
- Host a breakfast for parent and child on first day of school.
- Provide a tour of the school on the first day.
- Demonstrate an activity supportive of learning that can be replicated at home.
- Complete an in-class parent engagement activity, i.e. shared story and literacy activity, math activity, etc.
- Provide a resource fair for parents to receive information. Representatives that can share information could be the Health Department, Fire Department, Milwaukee County Library, CLC, or other community businesses.
- Provide parents with a transition resource packet inclusive of a transition book, supplies, and milestone information.
- Conduct additional surveys to identify needs, interests, talents, and availability of parents (in addition to the staggered start survey)
- Have a back-to-school book drive or school supply drive.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published April 19, 2015
The local interest section in Milwaukee's bookshops are not overflowing with titles, it's true. But there are some good books that offer insights into our city and are essential reads for Milwaukeeans and also make great gifts for visitors, family and friends that have moved out of town and for yourself!
Published April 17, 2015
I think of Milwaukee activist and former school board member Jennifer Morales as a strong advocate for the city's schools and children. Her new book, "Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories" collects nine short stories centered around Milwaukee and populated by Milwaukeeans. The richly drawn works open a window to the city and the struggles and joys experienced by its people.
Published April 17, 2015
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District has given Maryland Avenue Montessori its monthly Green Luminaries award for the rain garden that has greened a large chunk of the school's more than three-acre site.
Published April 15, 2015
As Record Store Day approaches (it's this Saturday), Foursquare and real estate brokerage Redfin combined forces to create some interesting data on the top 10 U.S. cities for fans of record stores. Milwaukee, whose vinyl shops I wrote about in February, clocks in at No. 5, below Portland and Chapel Hill, but above New York and Philly. Not bad.
Published April 15, 2015
After a week in Beijing, Bobby Tanzilo ruminates on Milwaukee's image problem in China.
Published April 13, 2015
Wanna go on a wings bender? No better place to do in these parts than West Allis. Here are four top-notch places for chicken wings.
Published April 10, 2015
Milwaukee Public Museum is, by far, the most-visited museum in the state. And, did you know, it's the sixth most-visited natural history museum in the country? Even the folks who stroll the Streets of Old Milwaukee and explore the rainforest on a regular basis can miss some of the many little details scattered around this Milwaukee institution. Here are a few to look for.
Published April 9, 2015
The way we see the world is all a matter of perspective, of point of view. Take, for example, the Milwaukee Theatre. Whenever I go inside, I rue the loss of the Auditorium's arcaded interior. On a recent tour of the both the Milwaukee Theatre and the adjacent Arena -- which I may always call the Auditorium and MECCA Arena (sorry, I can't stop myself) -- I was surprised to see how much of the auditorium remains in place.
Published April 3, 2015
Most of us have some modest food-based traditions - we like to have pizza on Tuedays, or we get ham and rolls on Sundays, etc.Over the years, some of my habits have turned a little ritualistic. They've become unspoken traditions. Here are a few of them...
Published April 2, 2015
There was a time when Milwaukee was awash in great bookshops. This is not that time. But don't fret because there is still a range of great booksellers purveying everything from fine literature to kids classics to cutting edge poetry to political works and more.