Why don’t all the kindergartners come to school on the first day?
Kindergartners at Collinswood are not assigned to a class before school starts, and they do not all start on the same day. Instead, we do “staggered entry” -- one third of the students come to school each day for the first three days. On your child’s staggered entry day, the kindergarten teachers will plan a variety of fun activities for the students, while they also do some individual testing. (Don't worry: it's very informal!) We know it can be nerve-wracking not to know who your child's teacher is on the first day, but this is necessary to ensure a good mix of strong English speakers and strong Spanish speakers in each kindergarten class. The good news is, all the kindergarten teachers are well-loved.
When will I find out who my child’s teacher is?
You'll get find out who your child’s teacher is and meet him or her at the Meet-the-Teacher Event at 2pm - 3pm on Thursday, August 30th. This is an event that you will attend with your child (Your child will not come to school on that day.) All kindergartners come to school together for the first time on August 31st.
What about school supplies?
Please refer to the list that is in your Beginners Day folder. For your convenience, the PTA also offers parents the option to buy prepackaged school supplies in a kit that will be delivered to your child’s classroom before school starts. Look for an email in May or June with instructions. If you purchase your own supplies, please don’t send them in until your child is assigned a teacher. The meet-the-teacher event is a great time to bring in your supplies.
What do I need to know about the bus?
Request bus service at www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/transportation/Pages/Routing-and-Scheduling-Forms.aspx. CMS will mail out letters in August with your stop location and pick-up and drop-off times. Be prepared for long waits the first few weeks of school as the drivers learn their routes! The buses can be particularly late (as much as 1 to 2 hours) bringing the children home, so you might want to pick your child up at first. But remember that if you don't take the bus at all for two weeks, your stop will be eliminated. Elementary-age car riders are dismissed at 4pm; the carpool line can be pretty long and slow at first, so be prepared to wait.
Should I send a lunch or buy one?
During the year, check the menu at www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/cns. Then, each day, you can decide whether you want to send a lunch or if you want your child to buy one. If you send a lunch, it won't be refrigerated, so make sure you put in an ice pack if you include anything perishable. Also, there's no microwave for the kids.
How does my child pay for lunch?
If your child plans to buy lunch every day or even just occasionally, you can go to www.paypams.com, register your child and put in your credit card information. If you choose "automatic payments," CMS will simply charge your card any time the balance gets low. You can apply for free/reduced price meals at http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/cns/Pages/FreeandReducedMeals.aspx.
Can I have lunch with my child?
We ask that you wait at least three weeks before coming to lunch with your child to give all the kids a chance to get comfortable. After that, please feel free to join them anytime! Thanks!
What about a snack?
In kindergarten, the whole class eats the same snack every day. You can help out your child’s teacher by sending in a snack to feed the whole class (24 portions) the first week of school. It can be Goldfish, granola bars, apples, etc. - as long as it's nut-free. After that, the room parent will set up a rotation, and you'll be asked to send in a snack to feed the class about once a month.
Where should I shop for uniforms?
Collinswood students wear navy bottoms and white or navy polo tops (or navy collared dresses for girls). You may also want to purchase a navy blue or gray sweatshirt or sweater, as well as navy leggings if your daughter wears skirts, because other colors aren’t allowed. You should send your child to school in tennis shoes. (Get Velcro if he or she can’t tie them yet.) You can find uniforms just about everywhere these days, but here are some ideas: The Land’s End store inside Sears (more expensive but seem to last longer, and they also sell polo shirts with the Collinswood logo), Target, Famous Mart, Old Navy and Walmart. The PTA also sells used uniforms for $1 apiece at different events in the fall.
Where can my child get a Friday t-shirt?
On Fridays only, the students can wear Collinswood logo T-shirts. The PTA will be selling those t-shirts at the Kindergarten Cookie Crunch on Saturday, Aug. 26 and also at the kindergarten Meet-The-Teacher event.
You can also order our Friday t-shirts from Land’s End at www.landsend.com/school or in any Sears store (and they'll be shipped to your home for free). To order online, click on "Find your school's dress code" to look up Collinswood's code. The T-shirt style is the "school uniform short sleeve Ringer T-shirt" and then choose the "6-inch height logo." (It's easier than it sounds.) Land's End also sells monogrammed "Collinswood Language Academy" polo shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. You can call to order, too: 1-800-469-2222. The clothes are high quality, they look great and Land's End gives Collinswood 1 percent of sales. Don't forget to order one for yourself, too!
What is the PTA and what does it do?
The PTA is group of parents and teachers who care deeply about our students and their education. In addition to raising money to buy the supplies our teachers need, they host family events, help our neediest families, run a reading buddies program, beautify our campus and more. They have two main fundraisers. One is a straight donation program that runs both in the fall and in the spring called Invest in Your Child. The other is a sales fundraiser in the fall called Club’s Choice. The PTA has found that while some families love selling dozens of items to help our school, other families prefer to simply give a monetary gift.
Should I be a room parent? (YES!)
Being a room parent at Collinswood is not hard, especially if you do it with another parent, and it's a great way to get to know your child's teacher! Your main duty is to help organize three classroom parties over the year (The PTA's room parent coordinator and your child's teacher will provide guidance.) Sign up at the Meet-the-Teacher event!
Are there other ways to get involved?
Research shows that a child's performance improves when they have a parent involved in their school. That's why the PTA asks every parent to donate two hours of time to Collinswood each year. You'll read about plenty of ways to help in the e-newsletter the PTA sends each week during the school year, but here are three easy things you can do:
- Offer to help your child's teacher. Send in a note telling your child's teacher when you're available and that you'd like to help. If you can't make it into school, many teachers will send projects home.
- Come to Helping Hands. Every Friday, parents are invited to join us in the cafeteria at 9:15 a.m. to work on projects for teachers such as cutting or stapling. It's a great way to meet other parents and help the school.
- Fill out the PTA volunteer pledge form that will come home the first week of school by checking off the ways you would like to get involved.
How can I celebrate my child's birthday at school?
You and another family member are welcome to come to lunch to celebrate. Feel free to bring your own store-bought treats, but please don't bring balloons or favor bags. On their special day, children get their name written on a big white board, and everyone will sing "Happy Birthday."