FAQ Part Two: More Handy Information for Douglas Families

Here’s the second part of our back-to-school FAQ for Douglas families. Our first FAQ focused on transportation. This one is a mixed bag, covering everything from communications to lunch.

We know the beginning of the school year can be overwhelming. If you have other questions, just head over to our Contact page and let us know what’s on your mind. We’ll get back to you with the information you need!

What is the best (quickest, most current) way to receive information on school events and any schedule changes?
The school website (http://www.wcpss.net/douglases) is your best bet. Your students’ Monday folders also are widely used to communicate important information to families. And the PTA communicates through this website, the Dragoneer e-newsletter (you can find back issues here), Facebook and Twitter. There is also a private Facebook group called Douglas Elementary Parents’ Connection that is not affiliated with the PTA. It’s a great space to talk with other parents, ask questions and share information. Just search for the group on Facebook and request to join.

What is the best way to reach my teacher with an urgent message about my child?
Call the school! Although many teachers will offer communication through email or text, they have limited opportunities throughout the day to check those accounts. The best way to reach them quickly is by calling the front office to relay an important message.

When does the PTA meet?
The PTA holds general meetings several times a year, typically on the same evenings as school events (to save you an extra trip to campus). Meeting announcements are published on this website, in the Dragoneer and on our social media channels.

How does lunch at Douglas work? Can I eat lunch with my kids?
Douglas has a cafeteria that serves lunch to all grade levels. Menus can be found here. Set up lunch money accounts here. Children who pack their lunches are encouraged to bring water or other drinks. There are water fountains in the cafeteria, but the primary source of hydration should come with your child’s lunch.

You are always welcome to join your children for lunch. Here is the school’s official policy: “If you wish to eat with your child AND some of their classmates, we ask that you eat inside the cafeteria.  If you would like to eat outdoors in one of our picnic areas, you may take only your child. When leaving the cafeteria to eat outdoors, no other students other than your own may go outside with you. If you have questions, please contact Mr. Burns or Mrs. Bazemore.”

How do my children sign up for clubs?
There are three different types of clubs at Douglas:

  • In-house Clubs: These clubs take place before or after school hours and are often run by parent volunteers. Students may sign up in the Club Hub, which is located in the Media Center.
  • Club Days: These clubs take place during the school day and are run by Douglas staff. They ensure that every student has the opportunity to participate in a club.
  • TEK Clubs: Also led by Douglas staff, these clubs take place after school and have associated fees. TEK clubs operate on a semester basis.

Club information usually is sent home in Monday folders. We’ll also share club news in the Dragoneer, on PTA social media and through this website.

What are Literacy, Art and Science Nights?
These special evening events are planned by the school staff each year, with PTA support, to bring the Douglas community together for enrichment and fellowship. Different activities that focus on each theme are held in classrooms and learning spaces throughout the building, and you’re encouraged to rotate around to different stations. Outside organizations participate, leading everything from cool science experiments to drum circles. And the PTA tries to arrange for food trucks so that dinner won’t be an issue. These evenings are a lot of fun!

Mark your calendars for this year’s theme nights:

  • Literacy Night – October 24
  • Math Night – November 16
  • Arts Night – March 15
  • Science Night – April 17

When are school photos taken?
Twice a year, in the fall and spring. The fall head-and-shoulders portraits will appear in the yearbook. Fall photos are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25. The spring photos, which often are full-length against a landscape backdrop, are for your enjoyment. As photo dates approach, information will come home in students’ folders.

What does it mean on the calendar to have “A” days, “B” days, etc.?
These letters are used to denote which specials (art, music, dance, PE, drama, science) your child will have on a given day. Your teacher should be able to provide his or her class schedule. It’s always nice to know what to expect — especially gym shoes on PE day!

Are the modulars locked during the day?
Yes! The modulars are always locked. If you need access, please go to the office to sign in.

You Asked, We Answered! A Handy FAQ for Douglas Families

As we start a new school year, even the most seasoned Douglas families have questions about everything from carpool to special events. Here is the first in a series of FAQ blog posts, based on an informal poll we conducted this summer.

We received so many great questions that they couldn’t all fit in one post! This first installment focuses on transportation and the school schedule. Other FAQ posts will be coming soon!

What is the bell schedule?

8:45 a.m.: First bell, school doors open
9:15 a.m.: Start of classes
3:45 p.m.: School day ends
4:15 p.m.: Final bell, all carpool/walker children must be picked up

What time does school let out on early release days?

The first bell rings at 1:15; all children in carpool should be picked up by 1:45. After-school care runs on its normal schedule, until 6 p.m.

What is the bus schedule?

Everything you need to know about bus routes is on the “Transportation” page of the school website: http://www.wcpss.net/Page/21988.

How do carpool drop-off and pick-up work?

Drop-off: The school doors open at 8:45 a.m., so cars line up along Ortega Road (toward Lambeth Drive). Once the bell rings, Safety Patrol students and school staff will help children get out of their cars in the driveway in front of the school. Children must be dropped off by 9:15. If you are running late, please park and walk your children into the front office.

Pick-up: The school day ends at 3:45. Cars line up along Ortega Road (toward Lambeth Drive) and must display carpool numbers in the front window (hanging from rearview mirror) so that staff can see them. Your children will be called and instructed to proceed to one of the colored dragon paw prints on the sidewalk immediately in front of the school entrance. Safety Patrol and school staff will help your children get into the car. Children must be picked up by 4:15.

How does before/after school care work?

Douglas provides before- and after-school care programs in house. Before-school care starts at 7 a.m., and after school care runs until 6 p.m. After-school care operates like usual (until 6 p.m.) on early-release days. Student enrollment forms, parent information sheets and payment schedules will be available at Meet the Teacher night and Open House. You can also apply for enrollment anytime during the year by contacting the school office. Here is more information from WCPSS.

How does pick-up and drop-off for appointments work?

It’s important to let your teacher know (by their preferred method of communication – it’s different for every teacher) that your child will miss class for a medical, dental or other appointment. To pick up your child, come into the front office and ask that he or she be called for dismissal. You’ll need to sign them out on the computer in the office. When you bring your child back to school, be sure to have a note from the doctor, dentist, etc., and give it to the school receptionist.

If I need to pick up my child early from school, what do I do?

If you know in advance that you will be picking up your child early from school, let your teacher know by sending a note. If it is a last-minute pick-up, come inside to the front office to sign out your child. The staff will call for your child to be dismissed.

If my child needs to go home with another child, what do I do?

Any change in departures must be written in a note for the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher will send notes to the office to be copied and returned to the classroom teacher. No students are allowed to leave campus in any way other than what is set up by the parents at the beginning of the year. This includes children wanting to go home with another student. Prior notification to the classroom teacher and/or the office is required.