Parent Comment/Concerns

 Here is where I will be posting answers to questions and comments posed on the Parent Comment/Concerns and Tip the Prince pages.  Thanks for taking the time to share your concerns.

MOST RECENT POSTS ARE AT THE TOP
  • 3/21/17 You had a substitute teacher on Monday who really crossed the line. She proceeded to tell the students that Trump is like Hitler. She asked them if it would be fair for them to be singled out because they are "white" because some white people do bad things. She is not accurately representing the situation and schools should be free from propaganda and teachers giving their opinions as facts. It is not my style to go to the news organizations but when this happens in other areas it is big news. Please train your teachers AND substitutes on the difference between teaching and indoctrinating. Personal opinions taught as facts are over-stepping the boundaries of education. Thank you.
  • Principal's Response:  I agree with the gist of what you're saying.  To express such strong opinions as the illustration you gave to such young impressionable minds is wrong.  That is not the school's place.  I would invite you to share a few more specifics as to who this individual might be and I will definitely address it with them.  Having said that, I do feel there are occasions where a teacher's opinion is appropriate to share, but teachers need to identify to their students it is their opinion.  However, as with the comment regarding our president, it is not appropriate to express an opinion with this age group that would challenge their belief system,  their personal values, or the values of their family.
  • 2/12/2017 I don't understand why the school offers breakfast for students but the bus gets there so late the kids on our route cannot utilize it. I also hate the PAWS as the late bus drops my daughter of at different places each day. If anything were to happen I would have no idea where to start looking.
  • Principal's Response: Most buses drop students off with ample time for them to eat breakfast provided they go straight to the cafeteria and not dilly dally.  There are one or two buses where the time is tight.  We've adjusted are starting time by a few minutes to help accommodate this.  If your child is on one of these buses and is still not able to eat please contact me.  As far as the Late Buses go, to my understanding the stops have not changed, nor do they change.  Again, please contact me with specific details so we can get to the bottom of the problem.
  • 4/24/16 I would like to understand why statistics is part of the sixth grade math curriculum. Most college-educated professionals will never use this kind of math, so it makes no sense to me to teach it to our kids, particularly in late elementary/early middle school.  I recognize that the school has very little to do with approving curriculums--that's done by district and/or state--but I'd like to know if anyone can explain to me the reasoning behind this particular curriculum choice. 
  • Principal's Response: I'm not sure why specifically statistics is part of the sixth grade curriculum.  This much I can tell you that whether or not a student is likely to encounter the need for a particular bit of learning in the future is not the sole reason for teaching it.  Study is to the brain what exercise is to the muscles.  Challenging kids to think no matter the discipline increases cognitive function and expands their capacity to analyze, synthesize and problem solve.  
  • 3/24/2015 My child always comes home and asks what all the words mean on the bathroom stalls. So if you could please erase them that would be great. 
  • Principal's Response: Our janitors and quick to remove any graffiti in the bathrooms once they are notified.  Please have your child report any graffiti they find to the front office right away. 
  • 2/23/2015 I check my child's grade consistently every week for the entire Trimester.  I find it VERY frustrating to check the day before the trimester ends and find a grade that has dropped significantly because assignments were not entered in until right before the trimester ends.  It is not fair to expect kids and parents to stay on top of grades if the teachers are not going to be on top of their jobs by entering in assignments in a timely manner.  This does not teach them anything about time management or staying on task if they can't track what is happening and have time to fix it before it's too late.
  • Principal's Response:  Teachers are required to have their grades completely updated by Monday morning of each week.  Parents can have confidence the grades they are viewing at the beginning of each week are accurate.  If you have reason to believe your child's grades are not getting updated as stated by a particular teacher please contact the principal.  
  • 9/26/14 Late Start - We really like the late start.  It does give kids a mid-week break to sleep in, do homework, or catch up on other things!  We appreciate all you do.!
  • 8/21/14 Late Start - From the time it was announced about the late start on Wednesdays, I knew it was going to be a bad idea. Mainly for me to where I have to be at work @ 9 in the morning, so from 8:30 A.M. until 9:20 A.M. my kids are home by themselves, and I cannot change my hours on Wednesdays, where I also have kids in Elementary and they get out@ 1:30, and I'm home before they get out. Yesterday,  Aug. 20th, I had to leave work in Cedar and drive all the way to Enoch to pick up my kids cause they missed the bus and drive back into Cedar to drop them off at school so they were not late. Is the schools gonna reimburse me for gas every time I have to do that?  No, they're not,  but they should since it's their big idea for having this stupid late start crap.  So, for me I do not like the late start on Wednesdays at all and wish the time would go back to the original time.
  • 8/21/14 Late Start My daughter's bus was supposed to be at the stop at 9:19, my daughter reached the stop at 9:08 at which the bus had already been there and gone. I was already at work so we had to make other arrangements to get her to school. Please tell the drivers to stick to the published times. 
  • 8/21/14 Late Start Didn't think I would like late-start Wednesday - (I don't have a job or transportation problem) BUT....it was really nice.  Sometimes in the middle of the week it is nice to have the kids be able to catch up on sleep.  Whether they have homework, scouts, church, family activities or whatever, when they get "behind" in their sleep it is hard to catch up and by Friday I am thinking "Gosh!  I hope he was able to be productive in school and not be too tired".  Personally, my son has scouts on Tuesday night and he doesn't get home until about 9pm so after shower etc. it ends up being way too late and I don't think he catches up for the rest of the week.  Keep it!!  :)
  • 8/21/14 Late Start I actually am grateful for the late start in that it gives me a morning to have my older kids home to help my younger ones out the door :)   It also gives them one morning a week to get caught up on homework and get a little extra reading time in.  
  • 8/21/14 Late Start I don't have a concern. I just wanted to express my appreciation to you for caring so much about our children and keeping us so well informed. I'm thankful my children have such a great principal!
  • 8/21/14 Late Start I think it is great that the teachers had a wonderful experience with the late start, but I don't understand why they couldn't have the same experience after school.  Being a single mom and talking with several mothers who work out of the home it is a huge inconvenience for those of us who have to be to work in the morning. I also believe consistency is the best for children who are in a learning environment.  I also feel children are more alert in the earlier hours of the day, so why not early out on Fridays like other schools in Southern Utah? I don't believe consideration was taken on behalf of the children or their parents.  Also, I wonder why parents weren't asked their opinion about late start prior to the decision being made?  I don't doubt that the teachers see a benefit in their work, but what about the work of those parents who have no other option then to hope their children can get themselves off to school Wednesday mornings because the parent has to be to work.  I don't know how many parents especially working parents had a say in this decision, but I for one find it a very difficult transition.
  • 8/21/14 Late Start I think it is great!  My kids need and enjoyed the extra sleep.  Kids are so busy these days.  I'm glad to have them home for a few extra hours each week!
  • 8/22/14 Late Start I loved it. My daughter was the first one up. Made orange julius for everyone and helped me get the kids ready for school. I'm sure it won't be like this every Wednesday but I thought it was great!
  • 8/22/14 Late Start   Obviously the teachers liked it...their work day hours did not change.  From a working parent, and the students perspective, this late start defies logic and common sense.  It has altered morning routines, lunch start times, and class period lengths in a time when students need consistency in their routines.  Consistency and routines, in the school setting as well as in the family home, help these young students establish good study and work habits that are critical to be successful in life. My family HATES it.  I question on whose behalf this change was made.  How many students are there in Iron County vs how many teachers are staffed in Iron County?  If the TEACHERS want and hour and a half before school, why don't THEY start at 6:30 am? 
  • 8/22/14 Late Start Mr. Aitken, my daughters and I actually quite liked the late start Wednesday.  As a mother with children in high school, middle school AND elementary I was very concerned it would be a crazy day, but it ended up working out very well for our family.  Thank you so much for the feedback on your end.  I hope it will continue to benefit all parties involved!
  • 8/22/14 Late Start Thank you for emailing the parents to let us know how late start went for the school!  Its great to hear that it is a productive morning for the teachers.  Things went great on our end.  We were able to make use of the time by having a morning music lesson and even a little sleeping in.  We love it!  
  • 8/23/14 Late Start I am not liking the late start. I was here this past Wednesday so I was able to help remind my kids to get to school on time. For the next weeks they will be home and have to get there themselves. I think a number of kids in my neighborhood will have the same issue. I am curious to see if the number of teenagers unsupervised will lead to trouble. There are many after school programs but not early morning activities to engage kids in. I can see how this may become an issue.
  • 8/25/14 Late Start Mr. Aitken the late starts on Wednesday has really been an inconvenience especially for 2 working parents. I suspect it will continue to be all year especially when we both have to be to work early. A better solution would have been to let students out early. 
  • 8/30/13 Concerns About Teachers  Again, let me assure parents, although it would not be appropriate to share details on this page, I do visit with individual teachers about concerns expressed to me through this form.  I appreciate it when commenters recognize the stories that come home may not be entirely accurate, and are willing to give the individual involved the benefit of the doubt, yet would still like me to look into the matter.  Misunderstandings seem to be a part of human interaction, but can be resolved most effectively when we seek to understand first, then to be understood.  I appreciate those who approach their concerns in this vein.  
  • 5/20/13 6th Grade Cougar Pride  I received the following on the Parent Comment/Concern page: 

    Oh why? why? why? are the 6th grade students going all the way down to St. George to the swimming pool there for their Cougar Pride activity next week?!  Is it a scheduling conflict with the Aquatic Center here in Cedar City?  I thought we had that thing built with the understanding it could be used for various groups to have a great place to go to locally and to help save money on these costly field trips.  Shop local?!  Hardly.

    The truth is the 6th grade teachers scheduled with the Cedar City Aquatic Center for the pool back in February.  They called the Aquatic Center in April to confirm the reservation and were told the Center had no record of the booking. What's worse, the day we had scheduled was no longer available.  (This is actually the 2nd time this situation has occurred).  We tried to work around other dates, but nothing was doable, so we decided to go south.  CVMS has used the Cedar Aquatic Center no less than 10 times since its opening for Cougar Pride activities and we are committed to do so in the future.  Having to go south this time was clearly not our 1st choice nor any of our doing.  

    On a different topic, the tone of some notes received from parents saddens me, suggesting by their wording the staff at CVMS are some rogue group of people not to be trusted.  To ask a question seeking clarification and understanding is healthful, but to fire off a note with accusatory tones, insinuating someone is trying to get away with something, is not.  I stake my personal and professional reputation on the honorableness of this staff.  When issues arise that are less than they should be they are addressed.  This very forum set up by the administration years ago is just one of several attempts at transparency and openness.  I have learned over the course of my life that more often than not, issues are far more complicated than they appear on the surface, and we'd do well to "first seek to understand, then to be understood."  We may not always agree, but we can always be agreeable.

  • 5/7/13 Grade Slips Awarded Academic Credit To the parent who expressed concern over teachers awarding academic credit for turning in signed grade reports, we want you to know, as a faculty, we discussed your concerns at length.  I also solicited feedback from parents by way of CVMS Updates.  Those parents who responded expressed overwhelming support for the idea.  Here's what we have decided to do, however.  We are developing a uniform school policy regarding the matter as to the type and how much credit can be awarded.  We'll notify parents when we've completed this.
  • 5/7/13 Concerns Expressed About Teachers  Obviously, I cannot go into detail here regarding specific concerns brought to my attention about a teacher through the Parent Comment/Concern page.  Please know, however, I do discuss the concerns with the individual teacher.
  • 5/7/13  High School Schedules for 8th Graders  If your 8th grader has not yet received his/her high school schedule you need to contact the high school at 586-2813.
  • 3/26/13 Administrator Email Address  A parent expressed frustration in not being able to find the email addresses of the administrators.  No, making it hard to locate that information has not been intentional.  I welcome parent comments and have gone to great lengths to garner feedback.  Making available the Parent Comment/Concern tab is evidence of that.  But, responding to the feedback, I have added Mr. Wagner's and my email address under our names on the webpage.   
  • 3/26/13 Library Hours  A parent expressed frustration in response to his/her child not having access to the library in the morning.  Our librarian is here most days beginning at 7:30 A.M.  There are occasions when she is stuck helping out in the front office or called to attend district meetings, but these occasions are rare.  I shared with her the concern and she's committed to avoiding things that keep her from opening at 7:30 A.M.
  • 1/5/13  Schedule Changes The week of January 7th through the 11th is the final week of the 2nd quarter (1st semester).  Students will be starting their new classes on Monday, January 14th.  Students will be receiving a copy of their 2nd semester classes on Friday, January 11th.  Report cards will be coming out on Wednesday, January 16th by way of your student.
  • 1/5/13 School Safety  Understandably, we have had several parents inquire about the school's safety procedures in light of the tragedy in Connecticut.  I will be posting the school's safety plan on the school's website for parents to view and comment.  We want parents to know we take their children's safety very seriously.  We have a standing emergency committee made up of several teachers who meet regularly and advise me on things they feel need to be addressed.  We also spend a portion of our faculty meetings reviewing emergency procedures.  In addition, parents may want to know all access doors to the building are locked throughout the day except those to the front lobby.  The only exception to this are the doors leading into the cafeteria which are unlocked from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M.  We also want to remind parents/visitors they must check in with the front office and receive a visitors badge before venturing into the main portion of the building.  I've reiterated to students about using the Tip the Prince anonymous posting sight to keep me informed of any happenings both in and out of school that might be troublesome (threats, bullying , domestic violence, etc.).  I am open to your comments and suggestions. 
  • 10/16/12 Handicap Parking To the parent who shared a concern about an individual parking in the handicap parking without a permit and parking in a way that took up two spaces, I contacted the individual mentioned and was assured he/she does have a handicap permit displayed from the rear view mirror.  He/she had no recollection of ever parking over the line, but would be doubly cautious in the future.
  • 9/19/12 P.E. Showers To the parent who expressed concern about students showering in P.E. here's the reality.  The P.E. teachers do invite and encourage students to shower after P.E., however, we've come a long way from the day when the P.E. teacher stood by and required all students to shower.  For better or worse young people have become much more self-conscious about undressing in front of peers and schools have responded by no longer requiring students to shower.  So few do that we've reduced the time they have to spend in the locker room before moving on to their next class.  We have discussed with the maintenance department the idea of putting up shower curtains, but the budget for that has not been available.  Perhaps we could have a fund raiser for that very purpose.   I addressed the question of cold showers with the head custodian and he said it is a proximity to the water heater problem and if the showers are allowed to run long enough they will get hot. 
  • 8/20/12 White Binders To the parent who expressed concern over "white" 3 ring binders, thanks for sharing.  Generally, teachers voiced they are accepting of any color of binder.  Their reason for mentioning white was they figured that was the most readily available.  Now that they know requesting white exclusively can be problematic they will be more careful in the wording on their supply list.  Thanks. 
  • 7/10/12 PTSA Information - We have updated the PTSA link on the webpage and will continue to update it as information becomes available.  Please refer to that page for info on the PTSA. 
  • 7/10/12 Schedules - Student schedules should be out by the end of July. 
  • 4/12/12 Responding to Comments - Parents, please know that I appreciate the many comments you post on the Comment/Concern page and I respond to them even though I may not report it on this page.  I appreciate the heads up on the fight posted on YouTube.  I appreciate the comments regarding cafeteria food.  I am in constant contact with our kitchen manager and the district director.  The problem with what's being served is the federal government continues to dictate strict guidelines regarding fat content, types of vegetables (green salad will soon no longer count as a vegetable -it must be dark green), whole grain content, portion size, etc., etc.  And there are a whole new set of guidelines anticipated for the fall.  As one student wrote me, "This healthy food is killing us!"  Well, I don't think it's killing them, but they surely don't like it.  Anyway, thanks and keep the comments coming. 
  • 1/9/12 Choking Game - A couple of you have been inquiring about what the school is doing to get the word out about the Choking Game.  In the PTSA parent newsletter that will be emailed to you shortly, we have some information to help parents understand and educate their children regarding this dangerous activity.  As far as the kids are concerned we will be addressing this issue later in the month.  I have visited with the father of the family who experienced this latest tragedy and he agreed that addressing the issue is a double-edged sword.  Addressing it too often has the potential of arousing more curiosity than caution among young people who see themselves as invincible.  I appreciate your thoughts and concerns.
  • 1/9/12 Price of Yearbooks - To the parent who felt we were being insensitive to families struggling financially by raising the price of yearbooks right before the holidays, let me explain.  The yearbook company requires us to sign January 1st stating how many books we will buy for the year.  This is always a gamble if we don't have hard numbers to go by.  In years past we have had to "eat" the cost of up to 50 books, while other years we could have sold another 50.  Every year's different and every year is a guessing game.  We've been notifying parents since last August of the January price increase.  We apologize, but really don't see another option.
  • 11/23/11 6th Grade Cougar Pride - Getting back with the parent regarding 6th Grade Cougar Pride, I met with the 6th grade teachers and we discussed your opinion and ideas.  We are doing a little research before giving a final response to this.  Stay posted and thanks again. 
  • 11/22/11 Student Dress Code - To the parent who responded to my comments about dress code I assure you that our efforts to maintain a dress code have nothing to do with discrimination, socioeconomics, cliques, or religious bigotry, nor are they an effort to destroy expressions of individuality.  I invite you to google "middle school dress code" and read through the codes of schools across this nation.  I did that years ago when we developed our dress code and did it again prior to writing this response.  CVMS's dress code is very consistent with codes from schools throughout the country.  Living with nearly 900 12 - 14 year-olds for 7 hours a day for the past 15 years I can tell you that dress affects behavior.  We feel we've established a code that helps meet the goals of the school in maintaining an orderly learning environment while still providing opportunity for individual expression.  As I walk the halls I see a wide variety of fashions and styles represented in what students choose to wear.  However, when some choose to wear things that are overly revealing, sexually suggestive or promote behavior that is antisocial we draw the line.  The courts have agreed with a school's need to maintain a dress code provided it is reasonable and has academic merit.  As I indicated before, no code has complete consensus.  We are grateful to parents for their support for we spend little time having to enforce the code.  And, I want to assure all parents that I care deeply and want to show respect for each and every child in our building regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation or socioeconomic status.  I love them all equally!
  • 11/22/11 Updating PowerSchool - To the parent with concerns about teachers keeping PowerSchool updated let me say that I remind teachers regularly of how privileges and punishments are meted out by parents to students based on what they see on PowerSchool.  Therefore it is important that they keep it updated and accurate.  Teachers are expected to have PowerSchool completely updated each Monday and I am confident most do.  If you are having difficulty with a particular teacher regarding this please contact me directly so I can address it.  Also, I do not agree with a teacher commenting to the entire class, "Please tell your parents not to write me nasty emails."  Again, I ask that you address this with me personally.  
  • 11/15/11 Bathroom Use - Let me respond to the parent who expressed concern about student bathroom use during class time.  First, let me say that I know of no staff that tries harder to be more caring and understanding of children and their individual needs than this staff.  Institutions by nature struggle with serving the individual, but I feel (and I think most parents would agree) CVMS really makes an effort to do just that.  Case in point, I don't know of another principal of a school our size who attempts to learn every child's name.  As it relates to using the restroom, if your child has a special need that requires him/her to use the restroom more often than a teacher allows please notify that teacher personally and I'm confident he/she will accommodate you.  However, most young people absent of special medical conditions are able to hold back from using the restroom for a 45 minute time period.  Please let me know personally if your concern does not get resolved.  Thanks.
  • 11/18/11 Secretary Using Cell Phone - To the individual who expressed concern about one of the secretaries being on her cell phone, I spoke with her about this and she reminded me that she has found it far more time efficient and effective to contact potential substitutes via texting rather than phone calls.  She also reminded me that she is often contacting school personnel using her cell phone.  I've been contacted several times by her via her cell phone.  She has assured me that she does not use her cell phone for personal use beyond what a reasonable person would.
  • 11/15/11 Student Dress CodeTo the parent who feels the dress code, as it relates to hair color, is extreme let me respond.  I wish a dress code were as objective as math (2 + 2 = 4).  If that were the case we'd all have to agree and there would be no argument.  But, unfortunately it's not.  No matter where I set the line there will be those who say, "I've gone too far," and those who say, "I've not gone far enough."  It's truly a no-win.  Our purpose for a dress code is to help keep the focus on school, not fashion.  The propensity for one-upmanship and shock and awe for this age group is tremendous and if we didn't work at holding the line it wouldn't take long before fashion became the primary focus.  We have a great student body of well behaved, academically focused kids.  Our school has been the top performing middle school in the district 3 years running in Science and L.A. and 2 years in Math .  Last quarter we had 70% of our students qualify for the honor roll (3.2 GPA), 48% qualify for the Honor Society (3.7 GPA) and 24% earn a 4.0 GPA.  That's unprecedented!  What's more, I would put the respectful behavior of our students up against any school in the state.  We're not perfect, but we're head and shoulders above the rest.  This school receives numerous compliments every year regarding our students' behavior from merchants and businessmen who've dealt with our students on field trips, to bus drivers, to administrators from other schools, to district personnel and board members.  There are many reasons for this, among them being the dress and grooming standards we try to maintain.  We are not opposed to students dyeing their hair.  We just ask that it be a natural human tone.  I realize the outcome from dyeing hair is somewhat unpredictable.  My only suggestion would be if there is any doubt as to the outcome please don't do it.  Thanks for your understanding.
  • 11/8/11  Points for Grade Slips - To the parent concerned about awarding points for grade slips I will bring your concerns up in our next faculty meeting.  Interestingly enough, notwithstanding the many means parents have to access students grades, some still act surprised when they ultimately learn of their child's failing grades.  Awarding grade points (most teachers merely offer extra credit) is a way to ensure that an effort has been made to inform parents of a student's performance.   
  • 11/8/11 School Lunch Menus - To the parent concerned about lunch menus, I checked with the district and they said the menus are posted the first day of each month.  (There was a day or two delay with November's apparently)  Menus are standardized throughout the secondary schools in the district.  They can be accessed either through the district website or the CVMS website. 
  • 10/20/11 Names Needed - Students with concerns about the behavior of others, I need names.  Simply telling me a group of boys are bothering you in the lunch line does me no good.  I need details.  Thanks.
  • 10/20/11 Grades - To the parent concerned about a child's grade in a particular class, please contact the teacher directly.  To reach any staff member any time by email simply address it using the staff member's first name.last name@ironmail.org (example:  conrad.aitken@ironmail.org).  We love to hear from you.