February Parent Liaison Notes
Tue, Feb 13 11:54am

Okay- these are a bit disorganized but hopefully you can figure it out!  (They are less confusing than our children.)


Emily’s Update Emails

            This new system seems to be working great. Thank you Emily and all of AU admin for making this happen.



            See Emily’s update email.  She will be adding charter progress and keep summer camp info coming too.


Sharing educational materials from the school day

                        Narwhal parents can find the links in the HW updates on Konstella.  Can everyone access the links?  I am having trouble where it says I need to request access.


Summer Camp Program

            Keep checking the Emily’s update emails- info will be in there.  Info I can share right now is that it will most likely be out of the location on Bridge st.   ( I have mentioned Emily's update emails enough that I think they should be called EUE)



            Yes there are plans to find a new location for next year. We will learn details as they come in.



            AU has been reflecting on what practices from last year that were lost this year should come back and they are hoping to happily resurrect the Newsletter which will include curriculum updates.  Yay!


Morning Arrival and Dismissal Update

            If you arrive early (before 8:55) please go wait in Brooklyn Roasters around the block on Jay St. You may not wait in the lobby of the building. Thank you for staying with your child!   (According to my own child, they are very cool about people waiting there even if they don't buy anything and have even been nice about bathroom use for Simon's sitter.)  (According to people who drink coffee- it is good coffee!)

              Afternoon Pick up is still an issue. AU now has a pick-up log to keep specific data on late pick-ups. After February break (so beginning on February 26th) you can expect to be charged for caregiving services if you are more than 10 minutes late.



            Overall number of emails has not gone up but tone from some parents has been an issue.

            We as parents must do three things to help improve communication from our end.

                        1-When something is done for us say “Thank you”. (Saying “please” will help too.)

                        2-Prioritize our individual needs.

                        3-Ask about things, please don’t demand, please don’t assume AU isn’t working on or

                        trying to figure out whatever the issue is.


No Trip in February.


Parent Leadership Conference

       The conference is happening on March 23rd. Put it on your schedule NOW!

       Parents should expect to hear from me soon so we can work to establish norms for communication among parents a our meetings. We want to make sure that everyone is respected and heard.



                    Thanks you very much for the testimonials from three families!  It would be wonderful to have a few more. Think of it as a Valentine for the school!


Progress Reports

            AU has made a change in the timing of the reports. This change was made a while ago and they regret not informing us sooner.  The new schedule will be in a separate announcement.



            AU would like us to consider switching to a different online communication platform. Slack. It is free and seems to do everything that Konstella does and more. It works across platforms and everyone will have the ability to start ‘channels’ which are like groups on Konstella and to start ‘threads’ with-in groups. I haven’t looked at it yet but plan to. I will be honest- Konstella is not my favorite and I am very happy to try Slack. One advantage of Slack is that the AU staff already use it and it will be a much easier way to streamline communication with them. Brendan will be reaching out to Narwhal parents ASAP as a pilot group. We think the whole school could transition during March.


Messages AU asked me to pass on- all in my own words.

                        -AU is constantly a work in progress. The whole administrative team is constantly re-evaluating their systems and processes to find what works best. This is not a typical school.  At this point in AUs development and growth they are still figuring out basics. We all must remember that the school only began because of desperate need, it was never a preconceived plan. And  we must remember that the school exists with it’s primary mission to serve children’s needs that are not being met else where. Luckily, most parents (all?) feel that their children’s needs are being met.  AU is thinking very hard about staffing and responsibilities for each staff member for next year to smooth out issues and solve problems experienced this year.

         -Work generated for our legal cases.  AU has asked that I pass on a bit about the volume of work that goes in to each legal case.  It varies lawyer by lawyer but there is a significant amount of work for every family.  They know that our legal cases are a huge priority.  They ask that each family remember that there are 14 legal cases going on.  In some case there is a need to scan or copy EVERY document pertaining to a child, every DRC, every page of notes, every assignment.  In some cases there are multiple affidavits required which all need notarizing and then a lawyer asks for a change which means getting it re-notarized.  For some cases there are many many many pages of documents to fill in, literally stacks.  AU is willing to do everything needed for a case but requests that parents think about the total volume when they need something rushed.


On a personal note, I am feeling concerned about some division I am feeling in the AU community.  I know that there is a lot I don't see and hear so I can only speak from my personal perspective.  

I hear and see things that worry me about the parent/teacher relationship. 

I know that EVERYONE cares about our children and no one wants these children hurt.  That could go with out saying but I feel it should be said.  We all love these children. 

I want each of us to think about how we are treating each other and what we are asking for. 

I hope the AU staff can find reassurance that the parents believe in them and trust them.  I hope the AU staff can find the ways to spread responsibilities so that individuals are not over worked.  I hope that the AU staff can accept that parents recognize that AU is not a typical school but have needs for systems as soon as they can be put into place. 

I hope parents can all deeply reflect on how they communicate with AU staff and recognize that kindness and trust go a very long way.  I hope that parents can find as much patience as they can muster for AU who are trying their best and acknowledging mistakes along the way.  I hope parents can work to frame needs in a positive light.  I hope parents can help each other find solutions and support.

I hope that I didn't go too far with this.  I hope that I can keep being a conduit between two groups that are working together and have the same goal- our children's success. 

I am truly worried for our community- we are at a crossroads to chose to double-down and create a great school together, slowly getting it right -or- to create something faulty and with resentment.