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 Frequently Asked Questions

 
Laurel Overview
 
School Policies
 
Kindergarten-Specific
 
Laurel PTO
 


Back-to-School Basics
 
How do I register my child for Laurel School?
We need to see the following:
  • a recent PG&E bill to verify your residence in our district.
  • your child's birth certificate
  • your child's immunization records.
The Laurel School Office will be open for registration everyday, except holidays, from 7:30 AM until 4:00 PM. The school office is closed for the month of July.
We have an online application packet that you will need to complete and then make a follow-up appointment to complete your registration at the District Office as soon as possible. Please come by the Laurel School Office at 95 Edge Road, Atherton, to pick up your unique Snap Code. This code will provide you a link to complete your online registration.
If you are living in a residence that you do not own or pay rent for (i.e., living with relatives or friends or serving as caretakers, etc.), you will need to begin the registration process at the District Office. They will give you an affidavit which the owner of the residence must sign in the presence of a notary public. There is a District Residency Consultant who will be doing a home check for verification.
 
Laurel teachers (with the support of the Laurel PTO) provide all the necessary classroom supplies for every student. All you need to have your child bring is:
  • A backpack, a snack, and a bag lunch for PM kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades.
  • A backpack and a snack for AM kindergarten.


Laurel Overview
 
As of August 2012, the following shows the numbers of students enrolled in each grade at Laurel School:

K = 130 students in 5 English Only classes and 1 Spanish Immersion class
1st = 130 students in 5 English Only classes and 1 Spanish Immersion class
2nd = 130 students in 5 English Only classes and 1 Spanish Immersion class
3rd = 100 students in
4 English Only classes and 1 Spanish Immersion class
Total = 490 students
 
What are school hours?
 
M, T, W, F
Kindergarten Spanish Immersion
8:30-3:00
Kinder English Only AM
8:30-12:30
Kinder English Only Full Day
8:30-3:00
First and Second Grades
8:30-3:00
Third Grade
8:15-3:00







Thursdays
All Kindergartens, First and Second
8:30-1:45
Third Grade
8:15-1:45

Minimum Days - Also All Together Days for EO Kindergarten
All students released at 11:50am
 
Is there after-school care available?
YES!  There is paid onsite after-school care provided by the Newton Center.  Some independent providers, unaffiliated with Laurel, offer after-school care at their sites as well.
Additionally, the Laurel PTO offers an array of afterschool programs.
 
Yes. Check with your child's teacher for his or her specific parent/teacher meeting schedule. Additional meetings can be arranged with your child's teacher if you have issues that cannot wait for the next scheduled conference.
 
Does my child need to bring a lunch to school? Is milk served to the students?
All Laurel students should bring a snack and lunch every day, unless they purchase hot lunch from the third party vendor, Choice Lunch. All students must still bring a snack each day.
The District provides a daily lunch service for students of all grades if a family qualifies for and wishes to participate in the reduced or free lunch program. Candidates must fill out a form (available in the Laurel office) to determine if they qualify for this financial assistance.
Milk is available through the District to all students on a daily basis for a nominal cost.
 
Our PTO provides plenty of opportunities for volunteer involvement in many capacities which will be made known to you at Back-to-School Coffees, Back-to-School Night, and on the PTO page. Most teachers also encourage participation in the classrooms as well. General PTO meetings are held twice during the year – in the Fall and Spring. To volunteer for a PTO program or event, start by contacting the PTO President.
 
How do I stay informed of school events, deadlines, schedule changes, etc?
If you have submitted an email address to the District, you will receive the weekly PTO newsletter, distributed on Fridays during the school year. This is the best way to learn about school-wide news.
 
Additionally, watch your child's backpack for the Laurel "blue folder," which includes notices from your child's teacher about what is going on at the classroom level.
 
Will my child take any field trips?
Field trips are done on a class-by-class basis at the discretion of the teacher. Check with your child's teacher to find out about specific field trips that are planned for the school year.
 
What should I do if my child is having a difficult time at school?
If you have specific issues or questions please feel free to contact your child's teacher first, and if the issue is not resolved, then contact Laurel's Principal for assistance. If special needs are identified, special supports are available.
 


School Policies
 
How do I drop off and pick up my child at school?
You may drop off your child from your car in front of the school. For safety reasons, children must exit on the curb-side. Adults must remain in their cars to keep the flow of traffic moving.  If these two procedures do not work for your situation, please park in the parking lot or along Ringwood and walk your child onto campus. Children play on the yard until the morning bell sounds at 8:23. Class begins at 8:25.
You may pick up your child in front of the school if you are in your car and have a PTO-issued "carpool" number. Otherwise, children may be picked up in the main plaza area at 2:55 p.m., or morning kindergarteners may be picked up next to the kindergarten playground at 12:25 p.m.
You may not park and leave your car in front of the school at drop-off or pick-up times. For more information about drop-off and pick-up procedures, click here.
 
What if my child becomes sick during school?
If your child becomes sick at school, the school office will attempt to reach the parent or other designated contact person for pickup using contact information you have provided to the school. If you pick up your child early, you MUST sign out in the binder in the office.
 
How do I report my child’s absence?
If your child will not be at school, please call the Laurel School attendance secretary at 324-0186 x3001.
 
If a child has to leave school during the day for any reason, a note should be given to the Laurel School office and the responsible adult MUST sign the child out from the office.
 
Please see "Health Policy" in the Laurel School Annual Directory.
 
Unless the temperature drops significantly, the school will remain open and students would be released at the regular dismissal time.
 
The school would close if we were to experience an unsafe situation due to a power outage, an earthquake, etc. Under such circumstances all school closures will be announced on local radio stations.
 
Laurel is continually preparing for a major disaster through the efforts of our staff Disaster Preparedness Team and the PTO Disaster Preparedness Coordinator.

As a part of our disaster plan we have designated a first-aid station under our arbor at the second grade lunch tables, and a command center next to the second grade basketball courts. Each classroom has an emergency disaster kit filled with first-aid equipment and emergency supplies, as well as a personal Laurel Bag which contains the supervision instructions and supplies necessary for attending to a variety of student's needs. Should a serious disaster occur, parents will be expected to pick up their child(ren) as soon as it is possible. We will NOT release students to anyone unless they are designated on your child(ren)'s Disaster Emergency Form. It is very important that any person listed on your child's Disaster Emergency Form be informed in advance. Remember that it would be advantageous that your Disaster Emergency designee live near the school, they may not be your normal health emergency contact. This information has been updated each year, placed in a plastic sleeve and kept in your child's classroom disaster kit.

If a disaster occurs during school hours, but is not serious enough to interrupt school or community routines, students will be excused from school at the regular dismissal times. In the event of a serious disaster, where building safety becomes an issue, students will be brought to the second grade playground area, grouped by grade level in a color-coded area and supervised by a teacher. All students will be moved into the Multi or other parts of our facility as soon as the areas have been checked by structural engineers. If necessary, we are prepared to provide students with first aid, water and a light snack. We expect that you will come for your child when feasibly possible. Please do not call the school. In fact, information about individual children cannot be given over the phone, since we need to keep the lines open for emergency information. Students will be monitored and assisted by the staff until they are picked up by you or your designee.

Through this school year we will continue to train, practice and research additional refinements to our disaster plan. It is our hope that all families will review these procedures together. Please be sure that your child is familiar with the names of those persons authorized to pick them up in case of an emergency. The entire staff at Laurel is committed and united in their efforts to be prepared for the personal challenges facing all of us in the event of a major disaster.
 



Kindergarten-Specific
 
What are the hours of the kindergarten school day?
M, T, W, F
All kindergarten students attend from 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM.

Thursdays Only:
All kindergarten students attend from 8:30 AM–1:45 PM.


How many children are in each class?
At this time, the Menlo Park City School District participates in the class size reduction program which aims for first through third grade classes in the 20-23 range.  Kindergarten classes may fill to 24 students.

How many children attend Laurel School?
Laurel is a K-3 school with an enrollment of approximately 490 students.

How do I learn more about the Spanish immersion option? Parents interested in enrolling in Spanish immersion must attend a required parent information night. Click here for more information.

How do I know if my child is ready for kindergarten?
Children who will turn five on or before September 1st are eligible to attend kindergarten in this school year. If you are uncertain about your child’s readiness for kindergarten, we encourage you to speak to your child’s preschool teacher and gather input. Some of the skills that we hope your child will acquire before the start of school include self help skills such as independent toileting, putting on his/her own jacket and ability to load and unload a backpack. In the academic areas, we anticipate children will be able to attend to a task for 15-20 minutes, listen and respond to a story, accurately count to 20, name most of the letters of the alpahbet, and identify & write his/her name.

How will my child be challenged and supported to learn at his/her pace?
The K-3 grade ranges naturally includes a great variance in developmental levels. Teachers are experts at meeting this variety of needs by planning for differentiated instruction. Whole group instruction often occurs on the rug area, followed by small group or independent practice at centers designed to support students’ growth.

What do you provide in addition to the regular classroom instruction?
Laurel students attend library, music, art and PE classes. In addition, they attend computer lab where they use technology learning tools to help reinforce curriculum.

What is available for after school activities?
The Laurel PTO coordinates a diverse offering of after school activity options for students in all grades.
Please click here for details.



Laurel PTO
 
What is the PTO?
Laurel School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is a volunteer organization that works to promote and support the education and welfare of the Laurel School students, kindergarten through third grade, by:
  • Further strengthening our students’ learning environment by providing enrichment programs that support general curriculum requirements, as well as social and grade level activities.
  • Volunteering time in classrooms and on campus to aid teachers and staff and to support students’ academic opportunities.
  • Celebrating the Laurel community, campus and curriculum with activities that are inclusive and honor the spirit of Laurel School.
When you become a PTO member, you become a part of a Laurel family, a committed group of teachers, staff and parents who work together to create a nurturing, supportive environment where our students can shine—academically, socially and emotionally.
Funds to support all PTO-sponsored programs and purchases are generated through membership dues and through parent-coordinated fundraisers.
 
What does the PTO fund?
Working closely with Principal Linda Creighton, Laurel’s PTO-supported programs are identified to help support key school programs and activities. These include:

CURRICULUM ENRICHMENT
  • Academic enrichment including assemblies, bus transportation and fees for field trips, instructional materials and computer learning subscriptions 
  • Literacy promotion through the support oflibrary programs, book fair events and library book needs
  • Science programs such as the Steam Fair
  • Arts promotion with Mrs. Beckstrom’s music program, art supplies, Art in Action, Annual Fine Arts Festival and the Spring Fling
CLASSROOM & CAMPUS NEEDS 
  • Classroom supplies and teacher resources
  • Lunchtime programs including Riekes sports supervision and teacher-directed clubs
OUR COMMUNITY
  • Family events – Fall Family Picnic, Grade Level Sing, Week of the Family, and Spring Fling
  • Staff appreciation and parent community hospitality
  • Caring & Sharing support
COMMUNICATIONS: Weekly newsletter, blue folders, Laurel website, district directory for each family
 
How do I become a PTO member?
The annual PTO Membership Drive aims to have 100% family participation. During this drive, we raise funds to support our PTO programs and resources that benefit the entire Laurel student body, as well as teachers and staff.  The cost of providing these programs is approximately $200 per student. We ask that each family contribute to the PTO as they are able – to support your own child, additional children, or to just defray part of the costs for your own child. We want EVERY Laurel family to be part of the Laurel PTO and encourage families to give what you are able.
 
Families interested in supporting additional students - please consider a scholarship for a additional children. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
 
All donations to Laurel School PTO are tax deductible and may be eligible for corporate contribution with corporate matching funds available through your employer. Please inquire with your human resources department for information and forms.
 
Who is on the 2013/14 PTO Board?

 President:  Jenny Freiermuth
Vice President:  Vanessa Keeney
Treasurer:  Ken Wang
Financial Secretary:  Amy Palemr
Auditor:  Sandra Ewers
Corresponding Secretary: 
Recording Secretary:  Anneliese Abdella
HRP Coordinator:  Lupita Calderon
Communications Coordinator:  Amanda Bower
Parliamentarian:  Diana Haven

 
What are the responsibilities of these Board positions?
For specific information about Board responsibilities, please click these links to review the PTO Bylaws, Standing Rules and Financial Policies.
 
How can I donate or contribute my time and resources to programs, events, or a class? Whom do I need to contact?
Anyone interested in donating time or assistance in a classroom, on campus or with community building programs can volunteer during school hours and/or after school.
 
In classrooms, volunteering may include providing food and/or supplies for classroom parties, assisting students, helping with class projects, assisting the teachers in many ways, or helping in art class or in the library. Each classroom has a volunteer headroom parent(s) (HRP) who helps coordinate all volunteer activities. To become an HRP, please contact HRP@laurelpto.org.
 
In addition, each school’s PTO has many committees that work on a variety of programs focused on campus activities and community programs. These include for example, serving hot lunch to students, providing front office support, as well as organizing and staffing our school events, including book fair, Fall Family Potluck, Valentine’s Day Bake Sale and much more.
 
Interested parents should contact the student’s teacher, headroom parent (HRP) and/or the PTO Committee Chair. Committees are always looking for more help! If you think you would like to do something but don’t know where to start, contact someone on the PTO.   They will be happy to inform you of their activities and the types of help they might need. In addition, watch announcements, read the newsletter, and review the website for other requests for help throughout the year. To volunteer, please send an email to volunteer@laurelschoolpto.org.
 
When are the meetings and how can I get involved?
Click here to view Laurel's Calendar on Laurel’s PTO website for all meeting dates. You can get involved by simply calling or emailing any of the board members or committee chairs. Whatever time you have available, we will be able to find something that interests you and fits your schedule.
 
What is involved in PTO committee work?
Some PTO committee positions require a substantial time commitment, but others can be done in less time and during off-hours such as might be ideal for working parents and family members. A committee sometimes consists of only one or two volunteers; others necessarily require more people.
 
Why should I get involved?
Each school’s PTO’s success is based on the strength of its volunteers. Parents are welcome in the school and their support and assistance are sought in a variety of ways. When parents volunteer, both families and schools reap benefits that come in few other ways. Getting involved at any level is also a great way for parents to get to know other parents and staff.
 
How much time do I need to commit?
As much or as little as you are able. Laurel’s PTO consists of parents who work full-time inside and outside of the home. Some folks commit significant amounts of time to fundraising or other committee work while others get involved for a few hours on a discreet project, such as collecting and counting Box Tops for your child’s classroom. Any amount of time you can give is welcome and appreciated!
 
I’m a working parent — how do I get involved?
You are one of many working parents at Laurel school, many of whom are involved in the PTO. There are still many opportunities to support the programs we have. 
  • Talk to you child’s teacher to see if they have projects you can take home  (cutting out shapes, sorting, assembling etc.). 
  • Volunteer to chaperone a field trip. We always need parents for this type of event.
  • The annual Art & Science Fair is a popular event for working parents. It requires taking a few hours off in the morning-put your time-off request in months in advance!
  • Library volunteers — do you have an hour some time during the week to help shelve and cover books during your child’s library visit? Our librarian is always in need of help.
  • Volunteer for the Special Events and many others. Many of these events take place on weeknights or weekends and need lots of help.
  • Sign up for Escrip. Register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit cards at eScrip (e.g. Safeway card). Participating merchants make contributions to the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) based on your purchases, just by using the cards you have registered..
For a complete list of ways working parents can get involved, please refer to our PTO Committee list.
 
What are the PTO fundraisers for?
The PTO raises money each year to provide vital and valuable programs and support services for students at our school. For example, funds are provided to the library and to teachers for classroom supplies, instructional materials and computer learning subscriptions that may be used to enrich the regular curriculum. The majority of PTO funds are raised in the fall in the Annual Membership Drive, but it does not cover all the funding areas. Additional fundraising events are necessary and include book fairs, Fall Family Picnic and bake sale
 
Who decides how PTO money will be spent?
The annual budget is proposed by the PTO Board and approved by the PTO general membership. Discussions take place at the scheduled PTO meetings. Please come and share your ideas about what the money should be doing for our school.
 
Isn’t the PTO just fundraising?
No! While fundraising is an important part of what the PTO does, it is simply a means to an end. The PTO sponsors many programs and none of these would be possible without its fundraising programs.
 
I already gave to the PTO. Why should I give to the Foundation?
While each organization aims to supplement what the District is able to provide, each organization has a different goal. Each school’s PTO funds specific school-based programs, supplies, and events. The Foundation funds crucial staffing, an engaging curriculum, and innovation in the classroom – all on a district-wide basis. Please give to both organizations as your family is able.
 
 
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