For several years, we collected data from parents by sending home a form containing student information and asking parents to return the form. We made the necessary changes to our database and then sent postcards to each family in mid-August at considerable cost. And we’ve discovered that by the time school starts the information on the postcards is usually obsolete.
We since added two additional notifications, one at Open House and another on the first day of school. Why twice? Between Open House and the start of school we entered more than 2,700 changes to the database. Some of those changes were for custody reasons, others for daycare changes, and still others because families moved to new addresses.
The last week of school we sent home the next year’s preliminary route information with next year’s 1-12 students. (Kindergarten students will receive a letter when they get their introductory letters from their teachers.) We hope the new schedule will remind parents to contact us to make changes for the reasons noted in the last paragraph. We also hope to hear from the parents who have students moving to a new school and are now walkers at that school. We think it will be nice for them to get the heads-up about that significant change sooner rather than later, and it’s easier for us to manage the phone calls when it’s not quite as busy as it gets in August.
Because bus numbers may change (for capacity reasons) and time schedules change (students may be added or deleted or need to be in a different location, etc.), we prepare and disperse actual route information at each year’s Open Houses. Students in grades K-5 will find letters in their classrooms. Students in the Middle School will find letters with their room advisors. High School students will be able to check their information in alphabetical lists during Open House.
If we don’t solve the problem and need to make significant changes to routes between Open House and the start of school, we will prepare additional letters and get them to teachers to disperse on the first day. We hope our new system precludes the need to send additional letters on the first day.
We do like to receive changes in some sort of written form.