Kindergarten Schedules Disrupt Parents' Fall Plans
Letters sent out to parents came with some unanticipated news
Parents received some unexpected news last week after schools in East Greenwich sent out letters informing them of morning and afternoon kindergarten assignments.
"We expected AM and had planned kindergarten enrichment for our daughter at Aim High Academy in the afternoons," said Stephanie Frazier, parent of an incoming Frenchtown kindergartener. Frazier was lucky enough to have a flexible schedule to change her plans around.
"They gave no warning, and I think after all these years they could have and should have given more advanced notice of the schedule change," Frazier said. Frazier and others said that children in their neighborhood (the Hill) had been assigned to morning kindergarten for the past eight years.
"People who work full time and planned their lives around AM kindergarten were probably in shock when they opened their letters," she said.
Tracie Truesdell, another parent from Frenchtown, was also caught in the same situation.
"I was aggravated, surprised, and annoyed with the scheduling, but mainly because the real problem was that we were not given enough notice," said Truesdell. "The whole neighborhood got the rug ripped out from under us."
While Truesdell was able to rearrange her schedule, she was concerned for those with less-flexible schedules. She also said the community was coming together to deal with the change. "People are trying to help each other out," she said. "They will rotate and watch each other's kids."
Frenchtown was not the only school faced with these issues.
"The surprising schedule did force us to revamp my work schedule for the fall," said Sara Whitney, a parent of an incoming kindergartener at Meadowbrook. "This was a bit frustrating, especially because the district doesn't inform parents of their kid's placement until so late in the summer. It leaves some of us scrambling to make childcare, carpool, and work arrangements."
The parents expected the same schedule that had been in place for the previous eight years. Truesdell said, "I still can’t believe they did not know until just two weeks out. A month would have been helpful."
Some parents have been calling and complaining to the schools and the district office. "I am certain Frenchtown got an earful," said Frazier.
Kindergarten schedules are determined by the bus routes for that year. Ocean State Transit, the local bus company, was in transition over the summer. Colleen Fortin, the new manager, took over right before school ended and was unfamiliar with the routes people were accustomed to.
"I had to go with where the kids are at. It's tough," said Fortin. "This has been a learning experience. Some people got changed all around. I apologized for that. I did the best that I could do."