Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Needing to change

It is getting close to another school year. Last night we had the kids' open house. This is a chance to meet the new teachers, drop off school supplies, and find their lockers. Last night was anything but fun. I don't believe the kids knew anything was happening but it was a very frustrating and humiliating night for me.

To get the full picture we need to rewind to 4 years ago when Ty started school. We very quickly discovered that our situation (being divorced) was virtually unheard of in this town. The forms for Emergency Contact did not reflect the fact that Ty had 2 homes or that both his father and I had shared legal and physical custody.

We fought to get the forms changed but to this day they still reflect an untrue situation with a "secondary" parent. Frustrating...very. There was an obvious level of ignorance that we were not able to get through to. No one had ever heard of divorced parents living in the same community and trying their best to get along. Involved in both academic and personal achievements to make a bad situation seem somewhat better.

Next, the bus service could not bus the children from 2 homes. This could not be done, we were told. They did not mention that they send a special bus to certain children's homes to bring them to a school outside of their school zone. But what did we know....we were divorced.

The last straw came at the open house last night. They are implementing a new system into the district called the "Parent Portal". This gives parents the opportunity to see the kids school records, apply lunch money, etc...in one on-line location. No more having to go to school to drop off a check. Really nice, huh? Not so much.

Since the kids get bused from Jeff's address (seeing how we were made to choose an address to put down) Jeff was the only one to receive the pass code to the Parent Portal.

I was told that I needed to "apply" for a code.

"Apply?" I said. I don't think so. I understood the volunteer last night did not make the rules, but I was horrified. I have to apply to receive information to my own biological children's records. This was it. I had had enough.

I got home and composed an email to the principal of the school. She was very apologetic when she called the next morning, and told me to email/call the superintendent of the district. I did just that.

I received and email back stating:
I am sorry for the frustration that you encountered last night. I have only had a chance to speak with a couple of people on this. Wayne Hoistad is the Director of Technology who oversees the parent portal. He will be getting back to you. I found out that both legal parents should have been able to share the same lo-gin information. Only if they didn’t agree to that should one have to have a different one. We did have to have legal parents give permission for step parents to have information. There should have been two copies of the sheet for both you and your ex-husband last night for the parent portal. I found out that there was only one. We will try to fix this for anything in the future. I appreciate your input and I have to look into more of this, but with school starting some of the staff our busy trying to get everything up and running. I look forward to Wayne’s answer to your questions and having discussion amongst the administrative team.

So now I have gotten 2 answers. The first, that I would need to apply since the access code will only go to the address listed in the system. Now, that we both should have received one if we had agreed to share. Who was supposed to ask us if we wanted to share? Seeing how we have chosen to live in the same district and share responsibility of the children, why would we not???

If the solution was to have us (Jeff and I) share an access code why was it not emailed to me immediately this morning with the explanation?

After a long day of emailing, I still do not have access to the kids parent portal stuff and am supposed to be hearing back from some IT guy about the changes.



simplicity said...

It never is dull in our situation, is it?

At least we can all laugh along the way about it and work together on getting it resolved. Somehow and someway it will get worked out!

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

Grrr. Now I'm getting sympathetically frustrated just reading about this. (I'm reading your posts in reverse.) I think someone needs to form an organization to help schools better address the needs of kids living in two homes. We have similar experiences over here, too.