Education Opinion

Hump Day Joy

By Roslyn Johnson Smith, Ph.D. — October 04, 2007 3 min read
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Last Wednesday was a great day, partly because I didn’t have to go to school. That sounds like a statement you’d expect to hear from a truant child more that from the President of a charter school board. But, truth be told, I have been going to the school almost every day for the past three months. Sometimes I stay for 4-5 hours. And, last Friday at 5:00 p.m. when I left, everyone else was already enjoying their weekend.

My first telephone call, using our newly installed system was to an angry parent (who put me on three-way with her mother) and it went on for almost an hour. Grandma said that she’d written letters to the “powers that be” in Baton Rouge and reported our school to one of our State Senators after we informed her that her previously enrolled three-year-old grandson could not continue to attend our school. His birthday on Halloween makes him too young to meet the September 30 cut-off date. Unfortunately, the error did not surface until after he had attended his Pre-K class eagerly for three weeks. I offered to pay for his school supplies, book bag, uniforms, shoes, socks, and drawers. That wasn’t enough. Mother wanted him enrolled in school, in spite of the age regulation. Grandma wanted the teacher fired for not noticing the date on the birth certificate sooner. It wasn’t their only complaint but it was the complaint du jour.

I had a long meeting with the Principal Monday afternoon and a significant dialogue with the Business Manager on Tuesday, so they didn’t need me at school for a change. It felt great! I love the charter school work, but I don’t want to be an administrator again. Been there. Done that. I want to be a Board member. We are working without the benefit of our Operations Manager who had a pressing engagement that demanded his attention for the past month. I’ve been sitting in for him.

When I retired from my job as Area Superintendent, I promised myself three things:
1) I will never work a Monday – Friday job again in life.
2) I will never do another 8:00 A.M. meeting.
3) I will not leave my house when it is raining.
Since then, I added one more thing which is to watch “The Young and the Restless” everyday at 11:00 AM.

Even though I considered it a “light” work day, here is a list of things from my “Did It List.”
• Sent a fax to Baton Rouge to RSVP for the October 1 meeting on the HEAP funds. It’s eighty (80) miles from my house and I don’t like driving.

• Conversation with the Business Manager (about 30 minutes). We need attractive trash cans, door mats, citrus drip deodorizers for the restrooms, and a portable intercom system before next week’s Open House. Maintenance contract talks continue. Email addresses are not active yet. Charter Schools meeting is on Thursday Morning. Schedule the monthly progress meeting (part of her Personnel Evaluation).

• Conversation with the School Clerk about a very “concerned” parent (5 minutes). I’d love to tell Mr. W that we can’t take his children back, since he was so ugly the last time we talked. Actually, I talked; he threatened, after his sons’ mother “kidnapped” them from the school a few weeks ago. More on this later. We must follow the rules. He’s b-a-a-a-c-k.

• Conversation with the Principal (5 minutes). Student enrollment audit guidelines demand that each teacher copy the students’ social security numbers from their cards, not from the enrollment forms because parents often write the numbers incorrectly. We need to regroup the get the forms done on time.

• Organized pages for the website (30 minutes). Too hard for today.

• Discussed Jazz Awareness Month Activities with Cherice (20 minutes). Oh yeah! More later.

• Worked on Employee Handbook draft (as the Lionel Richie song says “All Night Long”).

The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.