Frequently Asked Questions
Question—My child got a note saying he owes money for lunch, but he qualifies for free lunch, do I still owe?
Answer—Yes, you have to pay for any lunch your student received before he qualified for free lunch.
Q—How do I pay for lunch?
A—There are several different ways to pay for lunch.
· Go to the district web site @ www. tacomaschools.org on the front page scroll down the left side to For Parents, then click on Lunch Money Now.
· Send a check made out to Food Services. The lunchroom will put it on your account.
· Bring in cash or send with your student in a sealed envelope, with their name and teacher’s name on it, it will go on your students account.
Q—How will I know when my student is out of money?
A—The lunchroom will send a note home with each student as they run out of money.
Q—Can I visit my child's classroom to see how they are doing?
A—Yes, arrange it with the teacher at least 24 hours in advance and don’t plan on staying longer than 1/2 hour, unless you are volunteering.
Q—I have a problem that I need to speak to the teacher about.
A—Call to make an appointment with the teacher before or after school, please not during teaching time as every moment is valuable.
Q—Can I volunteer in my child’s classroom or somewhere else in the school?
A— Yes, if you would like to spend time in the classroom volunteering you will need to fill out a volunteer form in the office. Any adult spending time in the classroom working with students must have an approved volunteer form on file in the office before volunteering in the classroom. You can find a volunteer form on this website under the “Document” tab or you may pick one up in the office at Stafford. Fill out the form and return it to school along with a copy of your ID, such as a driver’s license. We must do a background check for all volunteers through the Washington State Patrol.
All parents or adults going on field trips must have an approved volunteer form in the office, prior to the day of the field trip.
Q—How do I get tardies excused? It was not my child's fault that we were late.
A—Many times, in fact most often it is not the students fault he/she is late, especially if the parents drive them to school. Anytime a student misses class time it is reflected in their attendance—this includes students that leave early as well as students that arrive late. We are very protective of class time—we have a lot to get done!! The only way to have an officially excused tardy (or early out) is to bring in a note from the doctor or dentist from an appointment. Car trouble, over sleeping, problems with baby, lost shoe, finishing homework, dog got out, no clean clothes, lost cat, lost shoe, etc—all these happen once in a while, but are not excused. A pattern of unexcused tardies (or early outs) becomes part of a problem attendance pattern. We must then take action according to state law.
Q—What happens if my child gets in trouble at school?
A—Kids are learning at school and will sometimes make a bad choice. We handle this by carefully teaching and re-teaching the rules. Usually when a student makes a mistake, they are redirected or reminded of the better option and that is that. Sometimes students need more severe interventions and are sent to the office. If a student is referred to the office, a note also goes home with the student so that the family can help us reinforce better behavior. Consequences can include time out in the office, an apology, loss of recess, and for serious offenses---suspension. The goal is not to exclude kids from school, but to revise their behavior keeping everyone safe and productive.
Q—The traffic around school is terrible at the end of the day. How can I get my child out early and avoid the rush?
A—You can’t. All of our kids are within walking distance. The best way to ease traffic is to have the kids walk home. Often that’s the quickest way!! 445 students leave school at that time, there must be a buddy for everyone. Sometimes parents will want to drive their children. That is always a parental decision. The traffic is horrible for about 6 minutes every day. Be patient, it clears up. If you want to avoid the traffic, come four minutes late. If we let everyone out early, the tangle will move earlier and kids lose learning time—not a good solution.
Q – I need to pick my student up early.
A – This is an issue that has become a concern for teachers and all staff. When a child is picked up early they miss valuable teaching time, even if it is ten minutes early! A medical appointment or an emergency are what we consider valid excuses
If a student misses more than 1 hour in the morning or in the afternoon because they were late in the morning or were picked up early it will be counted as a ½ day absent.
Q – An emergency has come up and I am running a little late to pick up my children. Can they wait in the office?
A – Yes, if you call the office we will be sure your students are brought in when their teachers are finished dismissing the class. We will be glad to keep them in the office until you arrive. Please try to pick them up by 3:45, but no later than 4:00. If you live farther than you consider it safe for your student to walk, and you pick them up daily please be sure your student has an alternate plan if you aren’t here. It is very frustrating for students to sit here in the office after school waiting for their ride. They are tired and ready for the school day to end. And sometimes the really nice ladies in the office get grumpy too, because they are tired and ready for the school day to end.
So remember the school day ends at 3:30 and students should be picked up by 3:45. If there is an emergency and you can’t make it by 3:45 please call us @ 253-571-4300.