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August Parent Bulletin

Parent Bulletin August 2013

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Safety Tips for Drivers, Parents and Kids

Safety Tips for Drivers, Parents and Kids from the Fremont Police Department (CA)

Public schools in Fremont are back in session, Wednesday, August 28th.  We want to encourage drivers to be more aware and vigilant as thousands of kids begin their new school year by walking to and from school this week. Traffic Enforcement Officers will be increasing enforcement around schools during the first couple of days.Parents should take a proactive stance on traffic safety by taking the time to talk about safety with their kids before they head back to school.

If your kids are walking to school, it’s a good idea for parents to plan the route ahead of time with your child. Once it has been planned out, walk the route to school with your kids before the start of the year to assess hazards and select a course with the least number of traffic crossings. It’s important to tell your children that they should find a walking buddy and stay on the same course each day.

Adults can teach and model safety behaviors that all children should follow, even if they don’t walk to school every day.

Here are some simple reminders for drivers:

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
  • Remember to stop for pedestrians who are trying to walk across the street in a crosswalk.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving.
  • If your child’s school has a pick up/drop off valet system, obey the rules and volunteers running the program.

 Reminder for your kids:

  • They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old or an age of maturity where they can make independent decisions.
  • Remind them that they should never speak, accept gifts or rides from a stranger.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
  • They should know their phone number, address and cell phone number of a parent.

You can find more school safety tips at www.safekids.org

 BE SAFE AND DRIVE CAREFULLY!

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Information For New Parents

Whether your children are new to kindergarten, or entering Mission Valley from another school, there are a few pieces of information that may be helpful to you.

1.  Parents, please be sure to check in with the office any time you visit the school.  You’ll be asked to sign in and out and will be given a visitor sticker for the day.  These procedures are designed to keep your child safe during school hours.

2.  School schedules vary by grade and day of the week.  Typically, for grades 1-3, school starts at 8:30 and ends at 2:50.  However, Wednesdays are early release days for grades 1-6, when school ends at 1:10.  Typically for grades 4-6 school starts at 8:20 and ends at 2:50.  Additionally, there are exceptions for all students and grades, which are entered into the early release calendar and distributed to parents.

3.  The YMCA operates an onsite afterschool program at Mission Valley.  You may inquire directly with them at http://fremont.ymcaeastbay.org.  For other options on before and after-school childcare, please contact one of Fremont’s non-profit advocacy groups, like 4c’s of Alameda.  Staff can assist you with child care referrals in the area.

3.  The Kindergarten schedule has two start periods.  Under the new schedule, the 15 student early group has class from 8:30-11:50 and overlaps with the 15 student late group, which runs from 10:10-1:30.  If your child registered for kindergarten in March, you can find out which session he is registered for by checking the bulletin board outside of the office.  Snack time for the early group will be 10 am, and for the late group, 11:50 pm.

4.  Children learn to write using D’Nealian manuscript.  Don’t be surprised when you write the letter “k,” and your kid tells you, “That’s not the Mission Valley way.”  Parents who are getting their kids ready for kindergarten may want to start learning more about D’Nealian.

(If any parents out there know of a good source for a freeware/shareware D’Nealian font, please either post to the forum, or repository.  For now, I am aware of two.  One is a tracing font, and can be found at: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/fonts/p/nealfont.htm.  The other is a homemade font (for Windows or Mac) posted to our file repository.)

5.  Room assignments are posted at 5:30 pm the day before the first day of school.  The listings are on Room 19, just behind the round dropoff area where school buses park.  If you want to stay on the best side of office staff, don’t ask if it will be available earlier.  You can count on having it posted when they say it will be.

6.  Join Mission Valley School Association.  It’s the fastest way to get to know your school and your community.  At the same time, you’ll be helping not just yourself, but your neighbors.  It’s true that being involved with the association can take time and effort.  But not all of it is work.  We take time to have fun, and to promote social aspects in our organization as well.

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Traffic Safety – Be part of the solution

For the last few years, Mission Valley has been forced to reduce and even suspend drive-through times as a result of the low number of parents volunteering for traffic patrol.  As you may already know, the drive-through is a volunteer operation and the school is not required to provide this service.  Additionally, we’ve continued to see a high number of unsafe driver decisions during drop-off and pick up times. These items result in UNSAFE CONDITIONS FOR ALL THE STUDENTS!

The MVSA believes our parents care more and want to be part of the solution so we want to encourage you to take the following steps:

  • Volunteer for traffic patrol – your help during just a single 20 minute shift either before or after school can make a huge difference… training is available… contact traffic@mvsa-fremont.org to get involved.
  • Follow volunteer instructions and traffic signs – Follow traffic laws and the instructions of safety volunteers. Do not double park, make U-turns, park in driveways, or other reckless behaviors.
  • Slow down – there are 100s of children at school so please slow down and be cautious when in the school zones.
  • Find parking – we have the good fortune to live in a great climate so take a few minutes to find legal parking and pick your student(s) up in person.
  • Enter the drive-through from Denise – our traffic loop is one way and should only be entered from the Lockwood-Denise direction.  Do not try to enter the drive-through from McKay.
  • Pull all the way forward – Once in the drive-through, pull all the way forward. Tell your children to look for you and do not stop to call out or look for students as you simply block other parents.

Please remember this is our community and we can make a difference for the safety of our own children.  Even if you don’t live close to the school, please respect the homeowners near the school by behaving in a way you would behave on your own street.  With your help, we can make 2013-2014 a great year of safety for the students of Mission Valley.