A one-paragraph e-mail worked wonders at Hampden Meadows School this week, as the short reminder from Principal Tracey McGee to parents asking them to drop off their children on time for class yielded an impressive response.
Ms. McGee sent the e-mail on Wednesday, Jan. 23, notifying parents of an alarming tardiness issue she noticed. In the e-mail she said more than 150 students were late to class that day, which created a disruption for teachers as they began the school day.
“The school opens for children at 8:20 with teacher assistant coverage,” stated the e-mail. “Students can come to school as early as 8:20. Students are officially lake as of 8:50 a.m. Please make the necessary adjustments to your schedule in order to assist your children in arriving to school on time. Teaching begins at 8:50 promptly! Children are missing so much of the executive organization of the day in addition to morning meeting when they arrive late. Please work with us to teach your children the importance of timeliness.”
The e-mail hit home, said Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore. He said the day following the e-mail only four students were late to school, and that ever since the e-mail went out the school has seen an average of just 12 tardy students per day.
Mr. Messore said many parents responded with gracious e-mails to Ms. McGee, acknowledging that they had grown accustomed to dropping off their students late to school. Other parents, he said, tried to explain how their schedules created some challenges for meeting the school start time.
Many parents of Hampden Meadows School students opt to drop off their children instead of placing them on a district-provided school bus. The heavy traffic flow along New Meadow Road just prior to school start time — even as far back as the intersection with Massasoit — has been a factor in the tardiness.
Mr. Messore said Barrington schools were built in an era when drop-offs were far less common and most students rode the bus or walked to school. He added that many schools in the district deal with student drop-off and pick-up issues each day.