Saturday, August 14, 2004

Parents, bring a pencil

Signing up for school requires filling out forms - lots of them

By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer

Yealey Elementary School kindergarten teacher Kim Forman introduces herself to Jonathan Burlew, 5. Jonathan and his mother, Charlene, were among those who attended a back-to-school fair at the Florence school.
Kindergarten requires a lot of paperwork these days, and not just the kind kids do with crayons.

Many parents made this discovery Thursday night at Yealey Elementary School's back-to-school fair. This year, the PTO went all out: Hundreds of kids enjoyed face-painting, hot dogs, door prizes, balloon animals and turns on the jumpolene.

"We wanted to set it off - this is fun, school is fun, it's going to be a great year," said Tina Rich, one of a small army of PTO moms assisting event chairwoman Chandra Welte.

But there was also a serious side to the night. School starts Monday, so Yealey teachers stood outside their rooms, meeting students.

Tricia Hawkins and her husband, Scott, brought their three sons. The middle one, Blake, will start kindergarten this year.

After a warm greeting from teacher Kim Forman, everyone sat down on miniscule chairs. Blake played with some bubblegum while the adults talked business.

Here's what Forman asked the couple to fill out, sign or read later:

• Emergency contact card.

• Allergy questionnaire.

• Code of conduct.

• Rules for students using the Internet (even kindergarteners).

• Early-dismissal instructions.

• School calendar.

• Field-trip permission slips.

• Background check for parents attending field trips.

• Permission to photograph child for media.

• Notification form if grounds are sprayed with a certain pesticide.

• Breakdown of $42 student fee.

• Signup for free lunches.

• Breakdown of ticket prices for sporting events at Boone schools.

Whew. It's a good thing all this went over Blake's head, or he might have felt overwhelmed.

As it was, he starting exploring Forman's toys instead.

"Oh, Blake, we're going to have fun, aren't we?" she asked.

His whole face answered yes.


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