Yes, today was the first day of first grade for The Dormouse. I can't believe that had I not been one of those parents and followed the birth date cutoff rules of our District, she might only be starting Kindergarten this year. As it is, it seems like she's a decade older than last year at this time.

Late last week, when we had not received a back to school night notice, a bus schedule or even word one from the district about the change in schools hours (the website still had all last year's information), I called the school office to ask when the back to school night was.

"Oh we only have back to school night for the kindergartners. Your daughter can just go to school on the first day."

"Well, aren't there new school hours this year?"


"Well, your website still has last year's hours."


"Could you let me know what those hours are?"

So she gave them to me and then tried to get me off the phone.

"Wait, who is her teacher this year?"

"Oh, they don't have those lists yet."

"So how will my first grader know what class to go to?"

"We usually ask all the first graders to congregate in a corner of the cafeteria, all the second graders somewhere else, etc."

"How about the bus schedule?"

"You don't have that yet?"


"Well, just come on the first day and I'm sure they'll give you all that information."

"So, basically, you're telling all the parents to show up on the first morning."

"I guess so."

"You're all kind of gluttons for punishment, aren't you?"

"Well, we might put a list on the door on Saturday, you could come by over the weekend and see if it's there and that might help you."

I don't think I have to tell you that there was no list posted on Saturday. I finally got the bus schedule on Friday of last week, but since I still didn't know who her teacher was or what classroom she'd be in, I decided to take her to school on Monday morning. This is what we walked in to find:

It was complete and utter chaos. Instead of separating the kids by age, they tried to get all the kids to sit in the bleachers under a sign of their teachers' names. But since NO ONE knew who their teachers were, you had to find someone with a class list to look it up. And only a few teachers had a class list. And they hadn't posted the class lists anywhere on the wall or door. So you had to wade through the melee to find a teacher, most of whom didn't have any identifying factor to distinguish them from all the parents in the room, to look up your kid's name on the list and tell you who the teacher is. Then you had to push through the throng to get to the place there that teacher's class was supposed to sit. I went through three teachers I knew before I found someone who had a class list and then when I found out who the teacher was, I had never met her and couldn't even point her out to The Dormouse.

If you see a suspicious spot of floor where there aren't people in any of these pictures and conclude that I'm just angling these photos to exaggerate, let me tell you that at least two kids had thrown up on the floor and any open spots you see in the photos are where the vomit was.

I'm not even going to go into the obvious concern of what this does to kids and their emotional experience on the first day of school, I'm just going to leave it with this question: You're the new principal of a school. Is this really the best way you could think of to administrate the first day of the new school year? Is this how you and your staff wanted to spend the first morning?

Looks like somebody's going to be a more active member of the PTA this year.