In this edition of Zimplicity:
- An important project to support some talented students who recently won the right and special opportunity to compete at the world level in our Robotics Program.
- I want to share some thoughts below about our parking lot and logical next steps, for which I need your feedback.
- A little bit about the re-enrollment process now underway in Admissions.
Further down in our eNotes and HERE is an article regarding our award winning Robotics team. They have earned the right to attend an international competition and are raising funds on a short timeline. They are energetic and excited by this possibility and have setup a fund raising page with a daunting goal. Please push their message out to corporate donors and others who would be interested in supporting this noble venture. We are excited for their experience, but also because of the pride and inspiration for all of us that is associated with their opportunity. Take a look and give what you can to their effort!!
Parking, Safety, and the Environment
In the midst of our challenges associated with rerouted traffic, I’ve been observing more frequently of late, interacting with motorists and getting a sense of logical next steps in safety enhancements. We plan to resolve the road issue in the most expedient time frame possible, but our challenges revolve around more than just the closure of our back gate. There are some problems that we have not addressed significantly previously and they require some thinking about how we can change our practice in the future to assure that all of us follow rules that are meant to keep us all safe, and especially the children we all serve. I’ll summarize some of the key points of consideration below:
- Parking – While we all know that parking can be in limited supply and we will look for ways to make some additional spaces available through moderate redesign, the solution is not going to be provided by allowing parking on curb areas nearest the buildings that are intended only as temporary stop and go loading zones. This includes the Kiss and Go areas in the front area of the school near elementary, the main entrance area that is lined by chain, the curb along the building near the High School entrance, and the curbed area in back of the school along the track area. Cars parked in these areas create a risk for children and this is becoming an increasing problem. These areas are so designated in order to make sure there is proper line of site for cars to see pedestrians before they step off of a curb. With small children in our facility, this is high risk for potential injury and is the main reason we do not allow parent parking closest to the school in the elementary area and reserve parent parking further away from the building instead.
- Use of Identification not your own. We have had more than a few cases where drivers approach the front gate and attempt to use ID cards that are not their own. During high traffic times, this can slow the entry and exit to the school and is one of the reasons for backup in the morning. We have made it clear that the driver of the vehicle must have proper identification as a parent or helper and that this identification be used for access. Guards are randomly and regularly checking for this. Related to this is the requirement for passes from school offices before taking children from school at any other time during the school day. More than once, parents have been turned back to school offices for this pass before they are allowed to leave campus with any student. These are both critical safety measures that must be followed by all community members without argument.
- Relationship between guards and parents. It is important that parents always treat guards with respect. In our minds, they are equivalent to law enforcement and should always be obeyed in all interactions. Arguing with a guards is never helpful and only serves to distract that guard’s attention from the students they are primarily engaged to protect. Our security supervisor and staff at the front desk in the main entrance are available to address any concerns you may have by coming into the school and logging your concern. We’ll follow up quickly with you to assure that the matter is resolved. But, it should never be allowed, nor demonstrated to students, that guards can be treated in anything other than a respectful manner. This is true for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians at all times on the campus grounds.
- Bicycles. Given the moderating weather, more bicycles are beginning to return to campus and it’s important to remind everyone that bicycles must be walked at all times on campus. Given our current load of vehicles, it is not possible to provide for a safe environment when mixing bicycles and traffic in our parking lot. Most are doing a great job with this, but there were still a few reports of bicycle riders not following guard directions when asked to walk their bike. We would also ask the parents model for children that we need to use crosswalks to cross the road at the designated locations. This is part of the overall safety measures and important for us all to follow.
- Other. I’ve also noted some excessive speed in the area, both in our parking lot and also on the road leading into the school. While we do not control the street area leading to the school entrance, I would encourage all parents to watch speed in this area in order to provide for a safe walking area. Similarly, I’ve also noted some higher speeds on the campus grounds. While our speed bumps tend to control this, there are stretches of parking area where parents will accelerate excessively and this is a tremendous risk to student safety where kids may emerge from between cars without warning. We should all be committed to traveling at a reduced speed at ALL times on the campus grounds.
- Air quality. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that cars are still running for long periods of waiting time, something that we asked you to rectify in earlier messages. If you are stopped at a curb and waiting,
We are also considering remedies to the above issues and have developed a list of potential options. The only one that seems immediately viable, given our level of legal authority, is to deny entrance to vehicles when rules have not been followed and when it is clear that the vehicle poses a risk to patrons on our campus grounds. We have done this in the past, but possibly not at a frequency required to assure compliance in all instances. We would suggest that after a few reminders, there is little else we can do except to assure that the vehicle is not allowed on campus for a period of time. We do not have the ability to levy fines for parking lot transgressions, so the seems our only real option. I’d love your feedback on this method and encourage you to reach out to me with any other suggestions you might have. I still believe that our common focus is safety and children, as always, come first. In that regard, I put my faith in the power of community where all of us help police everyone’s choices in our shared public areas by encouraging good manners and collaboration on all fronts.
The process of re-enrollment is proceeding according to plan with invoices for seat deposits about to be sent. We appreciate your engagement in the recent survey and, based on your instructions, we will be moving to the next level of commitment. Please take note of the deadlines as we have high demand and low turnover on the horizon again, which will make every seat for next year important to the families that would like to join us. Thanks in advance for your help and attention.