FAQs for New Families

Incoming Parent FAQs

This page is written by parents, and is intended for incoming Kindergarten parents at Maplewood Elementary.  Many of these questions and answers apply, however, for new incoming parents regardless of grade.

When in doubt, please contact the school office for information.  (503) 916-6308 They are the official source for school communication.

last edited August 2022

Question: Is there a school supply list?

Answer: There has typically been a school supply fee of $45/child which can be paid via SchoolPay. This ensures all students have access to the same supplies despite any external circumstances.


Question: When do I find out my Kindergartener’s teacher? 

Answer: Kindergarten no longer does assessments on the first few days. They do arrange to meet with students individually, but will not be assessing at that time as it is now focused on creating connections and building rapport. These meetings will occur on August 30th and 31st. Teachers will reach out to families to schedule which day and time by August 23rd which is also the day they will find out who their teacher is! We have asked Kinder families to complete a kindergarten inventory (due Friday, August 19th) so we can have important information needed to place students into their classes. 

Question: When does Kindergarten start?

Answer: September 1st and 2nd half of the kindergartners will come to school each day. This information will be given to all kinder families on August 23rd as well. The first full day for all kindergarteners will be September 6th. 


Question: When do I find out my 1st – 5th grade student’s teacher?

Answer: Grades 1-5 will receive a letter in the mail in early July with notification of next year’s teacher assignment.

Question: What time does school start and end?

Answer: Students can be dropped off for in the morning at 7:50am, the late bell is 8:00am. Breakfast is served in the cafeteria starting at 7:45am. School is dismissed at 2:15pm. Bus kids are escorted by Maplewood staff to their bus. Check out the dropoff / pickup page for more details.

Question: How do I find out about school bus routes?

Answer: Check out this PPS page (select Maplewood): bus routes


Question: What and when is New Parent Orientation?

Answer: New Parent Orientation is on the first day of kindergarten (the 4th day of school), but is open to all new Maplewood parents. It occurs in the morning, a little bit after dropoff, usually in the cafeteria. New parent orientation is a chance to grab coffee, see some other parents and hear about some Maplewood basics. The Principal will explain some basic administrative details, like drop off and pick up, cafeteria lunch money, bus tags, and such. You will hear from the Maplewood PTA and from Maplewood Foundation (both parent-led groups). It is a wonderful place to ask any questions you may have and to have a little breather after dropping your kindergartener.


Question: What if I drive my kids to school? Isn’t it crowded? 

Answer: A considerable number of kids ride the bus or walk to school, so they are not a factor really in dropoff congestion. In terms of car traffic, there’s both drivers who dropoff, and drivers who park and walk in. Please see our Dropoff / Pickup page for details on where to park, how drop off works, and other safety procedures to keep everyone safe during these congested times.


Question: Do you have any tips and advice for parents or caregivers of new Kindergarteners?

 Answer: Yes, yes we do:

We polled other experienced Maplewood parents for advice and tips they would give to incoming Kindergarten parents. Please keep in mind this is not an “official” school communication– just an informal passing of “Lessons Learned” from other parents! Here we go:

– Expect your child to be very tired for the first 3-4 weeks, even if they have done full-day childcare or five-day preschool before. It is normal. It’s a long day and a lot of adjustment for kindergartners.

– Around October, the novelty and excitement tends to wear off. It is very common for kids to start saying that they hate school or hate riding the bus or hate something about school, around this time. It will pass.

– You’ll be overwhelmed with school communication, especially in the first month. The most important to pay attention to is “backpack mail” — some forms or info are only distributed that way, i.e. in your kid’s backpack.

– Pack an easy-for-kids lunch. Simplify your containers so there are not a lot of pieces to manage. There is enough time to eat lunch, however, many kids spend too much time CHATTING. Simple containers help your kids get to their food quicker, as well as aid the lunchtime helpers in getting kids setup.

– Note, Kindergarten kids do get extra time for lunch in the first few months so they can adjust to the routine. They may come home saying they don’t have enough time to eat lunch. Usually they are spending a lot of time chatting. They will adjust in time.

– All the grades have morning snack times. Kindergarten teachers typically read to the kids during snack time. Sometimes this is a great chance for your kid to eat because they are not busy chatting! Consider higher protein snacks if you think your kid needs it (cheese stick, granola bar, etc). Don’t send a huge snack because lunch is not too long after snack. Kindergarten kids eat lunch pretty early in the day.

– You might be able to provide an “emergency snack” in your kid’s main bag for the afternoon, if you find they’re really hungry. Check with your teacher.

Classroom logistics: Kids will have a place in the class room to put their lunch box, and a different place to put their snack when they come in each morning, as well as each kid will have a hook for their bag, coat, etc. There is also usually a designated basket in the classroom where parents can return filled out forms, leave notes for the teacher, etc. Check with your teacher for details.

– If you are wanting more information on something, reach out to your PTA officers, or attend a meeting. Find a parent who looks friendly at pick up to ask questions. Email your Kindergarten playdate coordinator. Post a question on our Facebook group. Stop by the office at school. Take the initiative to reach out, and someone can point you in the right direction!

– If your kid is interested in recreational fall soccer, sign up through Foothills now. You can request team placement by school, but it’s not guaranteed especially late in summer. Kindergarten has co-ed soccer teams. There’s typically one practice and one game per week. (Note: this can be a lot for a K kid, with the exhaustion of adjusting to school already). Other recreational opportunities that lots of Maplewood families participate in can be found here.  Information on after school enrichment classes, and after school childcare options can also be found.

– You can feel more connected and involved through many volunteer jobs at the school, but the “best” way (in some people’s opinion) is to volunteer for your kid’s teacher. Each teacher manages parent volunteers differently. As a working parent, this can be hard, but some working parents have had success with reserving a vacation day off to help with a field trip or class party. Do note that many teachers, especially in Kindergarten, will ask that you wait a month to volunteer, as they have their hands full getting to know their students.

There is always a significant need for lunchroom volunteers, especially for the younger grades at the start of the year.  This is a great way to be a “fly on the wall” in your kid’s day.

– There are many other ways to volunteer! Library, carnival, website, foundation, the list goes on! If you have the inclination to be involved, we have experienced parent volunteers who can match you up with a rewarding position for you. Email: maplewoodvolcoord@gmail.com to reach out. A form with areas of interest for volunteering will come home with your kid, and helps to give you an idea of what’s available, as well as helps our volunteer coordinator to organize it all.