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joeysmom
08-10-2006, 11:35 AM
Hi all! I was hoping someone had suggestions what to put into the letter to my son's school when I take him out for our Disney trip. I know there are people who think it's wrong to remove a child from school, but we decided to. Any teachers out there who can help me? I don't want to cause a problem with his teachers, so any suggestions you have for me will be appreciated.

Thanks!

GoofysGirl
08-10-2006, 11:45 AM
I'm not a teacher, but have taken DS out of school twice to go to Disney. I was honest & stated that he was going on a family vacation to Florida. I spoke to his teacher and principal several weeks before the trip and all was OK. We requested his work ahead of time and he was able to complete it while we were gone so he didn't get behind. A little each day didn't ruin the magic! Some people told me to state in my letter that it was an "educational trip", but that sounded a little over the top to me - especially since his teacher & principal knew where we were going. Part of his homework was to take pictures & bring them back to share with the class and tell what each picture was about. Just be honest and have a great vacation! :thumbsup:

pugslave
08-10-2006, 11:57 AM
I used the letter below. I found it on another website. Her teacher thought it was very appropriate. Good luck!

School Excuse Sample Letter

DATE:

TO: [school official]

FROM:

RE: [students name and vacation dates]

Please be advised that [student] will be out of school during the week of [date]. We ask that his absences be excused.

The reason for [student]'s absence is that our family will be out of the state during this week. While we are gone, we will be visiting Walt Disney World. We believe that [student] will be learning many things during this trip and that his education will continue in his absence from school.

Some things [student] will learn about:

* Different cultures of the world, including architecture, language, diet, and dress, by visiting the different countries in the Epcot World Showcase (Japan, China, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Canada, France, etc.) [student] will have the chance to explore the exhibits for each country and speak with natives from each country who work as cast members.

* American history by viewing the Hall of Presidents presentation in the Magic Kingdom and the American Adventure show in Epcot.

* Nature and conservation at Animal Kingdom.

* Science by exploring the Mission:Space ride in Epcot where he will have a chance to see and feel what it would be like to travel by rocket to Mars and by experiencing the Universe of Energy exhibit which teaches about fossil fuels, energy, and conservation.

* Economics by managing his own spending money and making budget decisions on how to spend his money.

[student] will also be learning about map reading by navigating in and to the different theme parks, as well as the resorts and water parks via the Disney bus system, sociological aspects of crowds including patterns and behavior, physics of the different rides, breakthroughs in technology at the Innoventions computer lab in Epcot, art and animation and the history of film, and mathematics.

We believe this will be a wonderful and educational experience for [student] and hope you agree not to charge him with unexcused absences as a result. If it is possible for [student] to take any assignments with him to be turned in when we return or to turn in before we leave any work that will be due while he is gone, please let us know as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this. If you have any questions or need any further information, please feel free to contact me.

[Parent's Signture]

Mickey'sGirl
08-10-2006, 12:06 PM
Here's the one we used last year....

Teacher's Name
C/o School

October 17, 2005


RE: December 5 – 12, 2005

Dear Mrs. x,

Back in June, I briefly mentioned that our family would be taking a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida at the beginning of December. Restrictions at my work this year prevented us from taking our holiday during regular school vacation time.

Family holidays are very important to all of us, and we feel that the rewards reaped are felt for years afterward. With this said, we want to make it abundantly clear that we do not take Harry’s education, nor his placement in your class for granted. Therefore, we have attached our proposal for work assignments for Harry to complete in lieu of the time he will miss from school. Could you please review the list, and provide us with any comments or suggestions you might have? We hope that you will find this to be an appropriate substitute.

As always, we appreciate the opportunity to work with you for our son. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Sincerely,



parent name & phone numbers
************************************
Proposal for Assignments

Proposal for Assignments (grade 2)

1. Social Studies – A study of how other cultures/countries celebrate Christmas.

There is a section of Epcot called “World Showcase”, where there is a special event called “Holidays Around The World” while we are at Disney World. We will be able to “celebrate the holiday season with international characters, legends and music. Delight in wondrous tales and diverse customs with the traditions of Walt Disney World Resort.” We will have Harry summarize his findings in a report.

2. Science – A study of one of the Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

We will have Harry look at the way in which a specific animal from the park has adapted to different environmental conditions, and identify the ways in which humans have affected that species. He will need to look at the physical and behavioural characteristics of the animal, and its lifecycle.

3. Reading – We will continue our nightly reading. Perhaps Harry can bring 4 or 5 of the classroom books along with him?

4. Mathematics – Perhaps we could take some work sheets with us from the unit of study at the time?

*****

I hope this helps... Pugslave had some good ideas too!
:mickey:

Ohhohohhhh*ItsMagic
08-10-2006, 12:10 PM
I've done the same thing as GoofysGirl. I let the teacher know ahead of time and requested any homework for my daughter to do. Plus I had my daughter do a report on her trip with pictures that she presented to the class upon return. I always first notify the teacher to get all of that ready then I notify the school to let them know the dates she'd be gone. Plus I send out an email to the teacher and school as a reminder. Just to cover my bases. To me, family vacations can be just as educational as going to school.

mickey&missy
08-10-2006, 12:16 PM
I used the letter below. I found it on another website. Her teacher thought it was very appropriate. Good luck!

School Excuse Sample Letter

DATE:

TO: [school official]

FROM:

RE: [students name and vacation dates]

Please be advised that [student] will be out of school during the week of [date]. We ask that his absences be excused.

The reason for [student]'s absence is that our family will be out of the state during this week. While we are gone, we will be visiting Walt Disney World. We believe that [student] will be learning many things during this trip and that his education will continue in his absence from school.

Some things [student] will learn about:

* Different cultures of the world, including architecture, language, diet, and dress, by visiting the different countries in the Epcot World Showcase (Japan, China, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Canada, France, etc.) [student] will have the chance to explore the exhibits for each country and speak with natives from each country who work as cast members.

* American history by viewing the Hall of Presidents presentation in the Magic Kingdom and the American Adventure show in Epcot.

* Nature and conservation at Animal Kingdom.

* Science by exploring the Mission:Space ride in Epcot where he will have a chance to see and feel what it would be like to travel by rocket to Mars and by experiencing the Universe of Energy exhibit which teaches about fossil fuels, energy, and conservation.

* Economics by managing his own spending money and making budget decisions on how to spend his money.

[student] will also be learning about map reading by navigating in and to the different theme parks, as well as the resorts and water parks via the Disney bus system, sociological aspects of crowds including patterns and behavior, physics of the different rides, breakthroughs in technology at the Innoventions computer lab in Epcot, art and animation and the history of film, and mathematics.

We believe this will be a wonderful and educational experience for [student] and hope you agree not to charge him with unexcused absences as a result. If it is possible for [student] to take any assignments with him to be turned in when we return or to turn in before we leave any work that will be due while he is gone, please let us know as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this. If you have any questions or need any further information, please feel free to contact me.

[Parent's Signture]

This is a great letter! I'm going to use it for taking DD out in Oct-Nov. I plan to let the teacher know at the beginning of school next month that we will be taking her out for vacation. She is going into kindergarten. I was going to have her send a postcard to her class during the trip. I don't really forsee a problem, but you never know.

joeysmom
08-10-2006, 12:45 PM
These are awesome, thanks! I don't really foresee any problems, but you never know! I do agree that a family vacation can be educational, and memories are definitely worth something!

Thanks again!

togirl
08-10-2006, 01:27 PM
I too will be taking my daughter out for 2 weeks the first of Oct. I never have taken her out for anything before other than a dentist or doctors apppointment. But I am going in for major surgery 3 weeks after we get back and will be recovering and stuck at home for at least 5 months. So I will just tell them I am taking her for her birthday. She will have to deal with alot when we come back and I want to do this for her. I dont think we need to give a big explanation to the school. They are our children. As long as its something you dont do several times a year I dont see why we owe them a detailed explanation of what the child will learn although it is nice.

Grammie Bear
08-10-2006, 02:16 PM
My husband and I both work in the schools although in different towns. As long as the parent is honest about were they're taking the child we've never had a problem. Myself dealing with younger children say enjoy. My husband on the other hand works with middle school age children and is concerned with work they might miss if the child is already struggling with their academics. In these cases he will sometimes assign work to be done while away however he does not want to put a downer on the trip. Trips can be educational but if a child is already struggling in school it can be a problem especially if work such as science labs can't be made up. As parents we both feel family time is more important than anything So go and enjoy your family.

goofy for pluto
08-10-2006, 07:17 PM
WOW!! Those are impressive letters to the school.
I have taken my DS out of school several times for a WDW trip and I have never written such a detailed letter. Its almost as if you are trying to convince the school why your child needs the time at WDW as much as in the classroom.
Here in Ky our schools get the money they need by having children in attendance each day. I always just write a short note that states that this is when we can go on our trip and he will be absent during that week. I have never asked their permission. After all he is my child and as long as we do not exceed the 10 day excused absences.I feel that we should be able to have family time if we need it.

TammiMcMan
08-10-2006, 07:32 PM
Great letters and great suggestions, but educators responses are going to vary greatly and in most situations, the absence will not be excused. I think it becomes harder in the higher grades and many schools have adopted strict policies regarding absences.

As Goofy for Pluto mentioned, those schools that rely on government funding, are penalized when students are absent. It affects thier average, which in turn affects the funding.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with a family vacation, but being in a school district that is begging parents to send in supplies because they've run out by April, is scary. Communication is key, but don't expect every teacher to embrace the absence and supply homework in advance. There are just as many who will expect kids to work extra hard and make up the work they missed upon return. As I said previously though, this is really going to depend on which grade level your child's at.

DonaldDuck1117
08-10-2006, 07:42 PM
Wow, just tell the teacher (or teachers depending on grade level) and tell them the student will be out for X amount of days and ask for the work he/she will miss. The end.

I am studying to be a teacher at the University of Michigan and I was laughing with tears from reading the example letter posted above :funny: :rotfl: :haha: I mean come on, that was the biggest load of malarky I have ever read. Map reading by guiding the family through the park? That's stretching it. Just say you are going on vaction and he/she won't be in class!

TammiMcMan
08-10-2006, 07:53 PM
Wow, just tell the teacher (or teachers depending on grade level) and tell them the student will be out for X amount of days and ask for the work he/she will miss. The end.Unfortunately, it's just not that easy anymore. As mentioned, many school districts have adopted a very strict absence policy. I'm not lying when I say there is mention of having the "proper officials" notified if a pattern of absence is observed. In the higher grades, they are limited to 5 days of absence per semester. Anything over that and it's an automatic fail. Many, many teachers will absolutely refuse to give out advanced work. It's up to the students to make it up when they return.


I mean come on, that was the biggest load of malarky I have ever read. Map reading by guiding the family through the park? That's stretching it. Just say you are going on vaction and he/she won't be in class!Absolutely stretching it, but if parents want it even considered as an excused absence, these are the hoops they have to go through.

My son is a competitive figure skater. I can't tell you the heck that some of his teachers put us through when asking for a few days off to travel for a qualifying competition. I imagine it's pressure that they are getting from those "higher up", but I've had to produce letters from US figure skating and even then, I was met with much eye rolling.

Bless you, if you are going to be one of the understanding few.

BronxTigger
08-10-2006, 09:01 PM
I am a teacher but I do not make the decisions about whether an absence is excused or not. That is (I think) the attendance office's job. All I do is fill in a bubble sheet indicating who is absent and who is late....

Then, I fill in another bubble sheet after lunch about who is absent, then I fill in the yellow book, then the red book, and then on the white sheet.

WHY they make us record the attendance FIVE times a day is beyond my comprehension, but it's required so I do it.

I don't have kids yet but I am seriously considering homeschooling them. DH and I have even had discussions about it already!

DonaldDuck1117
08-11-2006, 12:30 AM
Yikes, I guess I just don't see the need to justify a family vaction, especially if the student is in elementary school. I mean honestly elementary school isn't that demanding and I don't feel that there should be a set amount of absences at that age level. High school I can begin to understand but I feel if the student can make up the work and turns it in in a reasonable amount of time then what is the big deal? The whole number of absences rule is put in just to make sure students don't miss 50+ days.

BronxTigger-I know many school distrcits take the decision out of the hands of the teacher. At my old high shool it was 10 missed days equal an automatic fail. I guess if it WAS up to the teacher I wouldn't have a problem with one of my students going on a family vacation...as long as the work is made up :thumbsup:

togirl
08-11-2006, 01:18 AM
I agree with the later posts. I dont think we need to justify and map out what the kids can do. I mean its a nice thing to tell them after that they did learn something. But I would have a problem asking for permission to take my own child somewhere. My daughter will be starting grade 2. In grade one they did not even get homewprk sent home untill the end of october i believe. Maybe it will be different this year but we are going the first 2 weeks in october. The principals are very nice. I volunteered at the school the last few years. I probably will say like i mentioned n my above post that I feel its something I have to do incase i may end up in a bad place after the surgery and not be able to do it again. I dont want to make her do alot of work when we are away. But as in the summer I will want her to write a page per day in her journal. We can do math problems on the plane and buses to kill some time. Flash cards are very good for the younger ones. Maybe keeping them busy during waits for shows or at restaurants we can pull out the flash cards. I was not too keen on taking her out of school Last year she missed like 2 or 3 days in the whole year when she had a cold. She is a very good student all a's and b's and I think she deserves this. It will be her first trip ever outside of our city so whether the school likes it or not, too bad!

r4kids
08-11-2006, 03:20 AM
I find it annoying I have to justify a family vacation every year. We go to Disney every year and always for a week. I have to send in note after note and then fill out paper work. I should not have to go through the hoops they put forth for my own child. We are doing a family activity, this alone should be seen as an "excused absence", with the way things are today we should be happy to spend time together. Our kids are honor roll students and miss very little school. I think they should focus on safety and bullying since that seems to be a bigger problem.

Tinkerfreak
08-11-2006, 08:54 AM
We have taken our kids out for the past 4 years. We have only had one teacher who was funny about it. She acted like it was great when she talked to me but she made my DD feel guilty and when we got back kept telling her how much she had missed and that she was behind. She actually went so far as to imply that she might stay back. When I would ask her if there was a problem and offer to help my DD make up everything the teacher would tell me "Oh no she is all caught up everything is fine". then she would start in on DD again to the point that she had tummy trouble and was very stressed. I finally talked to the principal to find out what was going on. I really think she was just jealous because we went. I made it clear to the principal that anyone who would make a child feel this way has no right to be a teacher. It was a rough year but we all made it through it and the next year in fourth grade her teacher was great. She kept a journal and in the fifth grade she had a cm in each country at WS write down some words in their native language and write it in English next to it. Her teacher loved this and she shared it with the entire class. Both 4th and 5th grade teachers saw our trip as a learning experience for her and were genuinely excited for her. It all depends on the teacher.
This year she is going into middle school so we did move our trip time so she will only miss 4 or 5 days instead of 8 as in the past. I will let the school and teachers know that we are going a few weeks after school starts so they have plenty of time to make sure she gets work ahead of time. I am a bit worried that it will be harder for her this time. If it is harder for her we will have to stop going. I know I could not handle the heat and crowds of the summer and I know that school vacations are also crowded.

joeysmom
08-11-2006, 11:33 AM
Not to be rude, but I don't think by sending a letter to the teachers is asking permission. I would just like to make things easier for the teacher and for my son. I WILL take him either way, this is a once in a lifetime experience for us, going to Disney at Christmas. :cloud9: I am just trying to be considerate to the teachers and hoping they don't hold the absence against my son. He rarely misses school and has always had excellent grade, so I don't see him falling behind without being able to catch up. But thanks for the input!

Narawen
08-11-2006, 03:46 PM
I'm going to be missing 2 or 3 days for our trip in October. We decided to go when we have a long weekend (cant remember if its 3 or 4 day weekend) to minimize days missed. My school is a small private school and no longer notes a difference in "Excused" and "unexcused" absences. We are just writing to tell them ahead of time that I will be absent. Since the last week of the quarter is mostly just turning in long projects and such, I plan to just turn them all in 2 days early and that should take care of the work. I will get any homework ahead of time to do on the drive down, and ake up tests, if any, when I return. I think the most important thing when pulling them out of school is to get as much of their work ahead of time and try to have it done when they return. If the school offers it, try to schedule a tutoring session after school one day to catch up on work.

Also, I don't know about other school systems, but here the public schools have a set list for which absences are "excused" and which are "unexcused". Family vacations fall under "unexcused", no matter where you go and what you do. Unfortuately, most schools with such guidelines are bound by those to follow them and writing a letter will nto help your child to be excused.

merlinmagic4
08-11-2006, 05:38 PM
First, have a great time on your family vacation :)

Second, be courteous and give the teacher the option of providing work ahead of time OR collecting it for your child while you are gone (to be completed upon return). It is a lot less work for the teacher, who may already be putting in long days, to collect work as the class does it than to try and do it all ahead of time.

Just a thought from a person who knows many teachers who put in long, long days and then have to vacation themselves during those busy holiday periods :mickey:

disneynarula
08-11-2006, 05:51 PM
I hope you get an understanding teacher. Like you said you don't need to ask permission but perhaps if you give enough notice the teacher will provide make up work.

My parents always took us out of school and it was hit or miss with the teacher's cooperation. Some teacher's were really nice and gave us the work ahead of time and would even tell us which topics in books would be covered.

My parents were really dilligent about us getting the work done before we even left on our trip.

Sometimes a teacher will not be willing to go the extra mile for you or will just be plain rude about it.

grumpycajun
08-11-2006, 06:06 PM
Wow! A timely question for us, too. Our DS and DD are going to miss the first few days of school this year. They don't seem to do very much anyway, so I think it's o.k. I'm going to save some of these letters / suggestions for next time, though! :thedolls:

2 more days!!!!! :D

Jodi
08-11-2006, 06:10 PM
I am sure I will be repeating some of the other responses, but wanted to give my 2 cents too. We have taken DD's out of school for the last 5 years to go to WDW and I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. WE choose our own vacation time and I do not base it on a principal's opinion. We have ALWAYS notified the teachers in advance as well as office personnal and it has never been an issue. I have written in the letter that this is a PLANNED family vacation and that is about it. Both DD's are good students and I did not have second thoughts about going during school. So, that is that. We are leaving in 11 days and we cannot wait !!!!!!!!! :mickey:

FUN
08-12-2006, 04:12 PM
I Am Taking My Son Out Of School For Three Days In Nov And I Tell Them How I Also Will Make This An Education Trip Also.

mickeys_princess_mom
08-12-2006, 06:50 PM
Here's the one we used last year....
Dear Mrs. x,

Back in June, I briefly mentioned that our family would be taking a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida at the beginning of December. Restrictions at my work this year prevented us from taking our holiday during regular school vacation time.

Family holidays are very important to all of us, and we feel that the rewards reaped are felt for years afterward. With this said, we want to make it abundantly clear that we do not take Harry’s education, nor his placement in your class for granted.
As always, we appreciate the opportunity to work with you for our son. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.


************************************
Proposal for :mickey:
As a teacher, I like this letter. It shows that you place a high importance on family time, but that you respect the value of education. However, I would not go into the detailed plan, and I would not make the entire vacation a classroom experience. Do ask if there are any assignments to complete before your child returns, and do make sure he/she gets caught up quickly. In the meantime, hug 'em, laugh with them, and enjoy the Magic together!!
(I'll see you there three weeks from today, myself!):wave:

Space Mountain Man
08-12-2006, 11:14 PM
I find it annoying I have to justify a family vacation every year. We go to Disney every year and always for a week. I have to send in note after note and then fill out paper work. I should not have to go through the hoops they put forth for my own child. We are doing a family activity, this alone should be seen as an "excused absence", with the way things are today we should be happy to spend time together. Our kids are honor roll students and miss very little school. I think they should focus on safety and bullying since that seems to be a bigger problem.

[Bold font added by me]

As a teacher, let me flip that on it's head...why should a teacher, who cannot even think about taking a vacation during a non-vacation week, "jump through hoops" for you? I put together a package of work for a student once so he could go to the Daytona 500 and WDW. Admittedly, I was jealous, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I was all for it. He completely blew it off, then I got blamed for his failing the quarter. If I take a single day before a vacation week, I lose a day's pay.

That being said, I understand taking kids from elementary school. It's pretty easy for them to make up the work. But no more than a week, IMHO. High school kids who miss more than a couple of days in a row usually have a heck of a time getting caught up, particularly if they're not superior students.

A couple of things I think the parents need to do: 1. Notify school and the teacher(s) at least three weeks ahead, and give the teacher(s) the option of giving you the work before or after. Many teachers simply aren't organized enough (particularly the new ones) to know what they'll be doing in class 2-3 weeks ahead.

2. Make sure your kids do the work. 'nuf said.

3. How about a small gift for the teacher? Nothing extravagent, just a t-shirt, or a snow globe, something like that.

Note also that in some states, actually failing a kid for attendance is technically illegal. If the school pushes back too much, you might want to ask the principal if their policy is actually legal. Most won't want to fight the battle, and will cave.

togirl
08-13-2006, 12:26 AM
I buy a xmas present and end of school year present for the teacher. But I dont understand why i should consider buying a teacher a gift when we are on vacation. I spent almost 4000 on the trip and we havent even left yet. I have to buy some gifts for a few of my daughters close friends as well as family so I dont feel the need to buy a gift for the teacher.

Narawen
08-13-2006, 12:41 AM
I buy a xmas present and end of school year present for the teacher. But I dont understand why i should consider buying a teacher a gift when we are on vacation. I spent almost 4000 on the trip and we havent even left yet. I have to buy some gifts for a few of my daughters close friends as well as family so I dont feel the need to buy a gift for the teacher.

For me it really depends on the teacher and where we're going, and for how long. I'm missing 2 or 3 days of school, and in order to pass the quarter, I will need the teachers to allow me to turn work in either early, which can be a hassle for them, or late, which may get them in a corner because other students see this as unfair. I wouldn't get them a gift if I was gone for a day, when I didn't have alot of projects due or tests to take (at the end of a quarter, we have all long term projects due and generally a small exam). But since we are going at such an inconvenient time for the teachers, I want to show my appreciation. I attend a small private school and I'm very close to my teachers, perhaps that's why. But I know they will be understanding and compliant working with me to help me get my work turned in. I feel that deserves at least a small $5 gift. After all, they don't work with me to help make sure my work can be turned in. And without that work I would probably fail for the quarter.

tavera
08-13-2006, 07:14 AM
Well, the title says it all! We homeschool, so i do not have to answer to anyone but my God :) And for those who think that WDW is not an educational trip, let's think about a few things, since we as a homeschooling family believe that life in general is a learning experience...
The trip down - we have to calculate how much gas it is going to take, we read billboards and street signs, we play the license plate game, etc.. just those three things before we've ever gotten to WDW are math, reading, and geography!
At the park - sure, Epcot is very educational but have we thought about the other parks? Animal Kingdom is a wealth of knowledge and we consider it biology and zoology - MGM we find out about the imagineers and what they do, experience 3D effects and talk about how they are made and see plays (think Ariels' show) - WDW we have the Hall of Presidents and tons of things you can read about Disney himself, again more rides that bring into play questions about how certain things are created (mechanical aspect as well as imagination) -
but in a normal day we budget our money, pick the best place to eat based on our budget, pick or don't pick a souvenir that day based on our budget, plan out the schedule/time for the day and what we want to accomplish, etc...
So, i guess what i'm saying is that even if parent's don't do excess to try to make it educational, it is! What if reading about Cinderella gets your 7 yr old more interested in reading? What if doing the Pirates of the Carribean ride makes your 9 year old want to learn more about real pirates? Are these not springboards for more learning upon returning home? Also, and i think many people overlook this, imagination needs to be fed and nurtured, we should never lose that magic of imagination. Now will a teacher balk at you taking the child out - maybe - but reality is that it is your child and your decision. What i find interesting is teachers' saying that the child will be behind when they return - well, i guess i can see that they might be behind in the book work or even in some experiment, but they are not behind mentally and should not be penalized if they are willing to either make the work up or do it before they leave or while they are on their trip. And just because Joey doesn't do 10 pages of fractions, doesn't mean that Joey doesn't know how to do fractions, kwim?
We school year round with our daughters and i love the freedom we as a family has and i love the knowledge my girls are receiving, yes even from our Disney trips.

ravsluvdisney
08-13-2006, 10:43 AM
As a teacher, I like this letter. It shows that you place a high importance on family time, but that you respect the value of education. However, I would not go into the detailed plan, and I would not make the entire vacation a classroom experience. Do ask if there are any assignments to complete before your child returns, and do make sure he/she gets caught up quickly. In the meantime, hug 'em, laugh with them, and enjoy the Magic together!!
(I'll see you there three weeks from today, myself!):wave:


Hopefully my son's 2nd grade teacher will agree with you! I think this is a great letter (and I just copied it to use myself for our trip the first week in Oct.) We have taken our son out of school for a week the last 2 years and have never had a problem. I have worked with both his teacher's before we left and he has made up all his work. I too think that elementary school is not really a big deal but I also think you need to show a certain level of respect for the school and the fact that you are creating more work for your child's teacher. At the end of the day I am the parent but working together with your child's teacher is the only way to ensure the success of your child. Just my :twocents:

TammiMcMan
08-13-2006, 11:59 AM
I buy a xmas present and end of school year present for the teacher. But I dont understand why i should consider buying a teacher a gift when we are on vacation.Being in education myself, I think the statement about the gift was meant as a "thank you" if you have a teacher that goes above and beyond. Many, many teachers that I've dealt with, will absolutely not make up a packet of work ahead of time. On more than one occassion, we've come back from vacation, only to spend hours and hours trying to get caught up on missed homework assignments. If you have someone who will take that extra step, supply the packet to take on your trip, that to me is worth a token of appreciation.

I think that was all that was trying to be said.

togirl
08-13-2006, 01:42 PM
I didnt mean it as they said I had to. But it is something I would not consider. I have volunteered at the school for the past 3 years. First year I was not working so I was there 2-3 times a week doing the schools attendance the last year before i opened my daycare full time i was assisting the teacher in a grade one class once a week. It is nice to give them a gift but that is the job to send homework whether its early or not. If i would buy a gift for her one teacher I would have to buy a gift for all the teachers which is something I cannot afford as a single parent. I was the one who put together the homework for the grade ones classes 2 years ago i didnt get any gift lol ;)

dtootsie42
08-13-2006, 03:54 PM
Wow, I have to say that I was impressed with the letters that some of you have written. I have three daughters and we have taken them out of school several times for a family trip to Disney World. In the past I just wrote a letter stating that we would be away on a family trip and if possible could we please have assignments that will be missed. I always stated that learning takes place everywhere including a family vacation. We never had any problems with teachers, most teachers were willing to give homework a head of time but a few said wait till you get back for assingments (which was always nice). We found being honest always worked!

Dec. 97-Contemporary
Dec. 99-Poly
2000-Disneyland
Dec. 2001-Poly
Dec. 2003-Poly
Dec. 2005-Poly

murphy1
08-13-2006, 04:03 PM
I am another one who has taken dd out twice now to go down to Disney. We see family and friends as I am from there. Guess where we used to take field trips to in school on school days-Disney, Cape Kennedy, Sea World. I figured it must be educational and I want my kids to see it as I did. Usually we go for the three days off in January and then they have two days after that they are back in school and that's when we go. If dd has not missed hardly any school, I don't have a problem with taking her out for a couple days. Bottom line though is if you tell the teacher, I'm certain they will mark unexcused.

Shari

DisneyAggies
08-13-2006, 04:23 PM
I just have to say in our district, the principal must approve extended unexcused absences. The parent must fill out a form and it has to be signed and approved by the principal prior to the absence. Our district's policy is that the teacher MUST provide make-up work, but doesn't clarify as to whether the homework should be provided before or after the absence.

In my teaching experience, the principal has never "not approved" a vacation. It is used to formally notify the parents about the attendance policy, and the expectations while the child is out. Even with the principal's approval, the absence is still counted as unexcused and nothing can change that.

Attendance is required at school--I can't remember what the percentage of attendance is, but it does allow for quite a few absences. Our assistant principal is well known for taking parents to court for their chidren's poor attendance--granted these are not the type of parents that inform the teachers and the school about their impending WDW vacation, but it does happen.

I say the simple letter is best, and be sure to give the teacher plenty of notice to get work together and make sure any paperwork for the district/school is completed correctly.

HAVE FUN!

r4kids
08-14-2006, 10:38 AM
[QUOTE=Space Mountain Man][Bold font added by me]

"As a teacher, let me flip that on it's head...why should a teacher, who cannot even think about taking a vacation during a non-vacation week, "jump through hoops" for you? I put together a package of work for a student once so he could go to the Daytona 500 and WDW. Admittedly, I was jealous, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I was all for it. He completely blew it off, then I got blamed for his failing the quarter. If I take a single day before a vacation week, I lose a day's pay."


Ok, let me clarify since you didn't understand the statement as I said it. I was referring to the ENTIRE admin. You have to fill out paperwork afer paperwork. Like I said our kids are honor roll students we ALWAYS do work on vacation or make up the work upon our return. I don't expect any teacher to jump through any hoops for me.You seem a little bitter about not being able to take vacations also. Relax, and I am also not going to bring back a gift unless it a holiday, it really gets too expensive with all the teachers. DD 11-6th grade, DS 8-3rd grade, DD 5-Kindergarten, DD 3- pre-school. WE know our time is limited on family vacations through out the school year so I am going to go and have a great time while the kids are still little enough to enjoy it.

kakn7294
08-14-2006, 10:48 AM
My DDs' school has a form letter that needs filled out and they ask who the child will be with and what educational purpose there is to the trip. I used thing similar to those letters that were posted previously. Our school did count it as an excused absence since I turned in the paper in advance. They would only give us some of their work to complete on the trip so they had another stack of it when they came home. Neither of them suffered because of it and I am pulling them out for a week this December for another trip. :soapbox: warning!: My biggest problem was the judgemental nature of the teachers when they found out we were taking a trip during the school year - you would think we were tortuing someone's sweet little grandmother or something! I know how important school is and they don't miss for any other reason except than when they are really sick (this might be 1-3 days in the entire year), but I feel that this family time is important as well. It angers me to be judged as a bad parent for taking my kids on vacation during the school year by the teachers who don't understand that I cannot just take off work anytime I want even though I have been at my job 15 years. Just like the teachers who go when they have their time off, we go when I can get time off. Sorry, just my :twocents:

sleepingbooty
08-14-2006, 09:43 PM
Wow, this seems to be quite the hot topic. My oldest daughter just started kindergarten, so I haven't yet had to consider whether I'd take her out or not. However, we live in a year round school district with a schedule that goes 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off with 6 weeks off in the summer. I really like the schedule in that we have several off season opportunities to hit WDW. But I have a feeling the teachers and administration would be less appreciative of us taking them out of school when we could just wait for cycle break. As long as late September/ early October remains a good time to go, I won't have to worry about it!

Auntie
08-14-2006, 10:10 PM
We've taken the kid out at various grade levels and it depends on where they are in school as to whether we are up front about why they are out. Frankly..son is now in high school. They don't care if you are meeting the Pope or the President...you cannot be out from class for more than 4 days in a row without a note from your doctor when you return. That is why we have scheduled our trip for when the kids have a Monday holiday off. He will likely tell his teachers ahead of time so he can get some of the work he might miss. I also think it depends on the kind of student, and how they are doing during the school year. I wouldn't take the vacation if they were struggling...wouldn't want to put them at a further disadvantage. It is nice if the teacher is supportive, and doesn't mind getting you the work(when they are in younger grades..this is a bit easier)..but it's also not in their hands..it is an administrative decision...so sometimes...you just have to fib and say they were sick on the note....all the while the teacher knows that you are away, because she gave you the work. We had this happen years ago. Public schools loose state aid for the days that are missed..so many are very strict with their attendance policies.

Maleficent's Dad
08-15-2006, 08:23 AM
Wow, a hot topic!!! :thedolls:

No one can decide what a family can and can not do - but you do need to be careful! :mickey:

Keep a few things in mind:
1. State laws vary greatly as does enforcement of the laws. Some districts follow closely, some ignore.

2. With the "No Child Left Untested (er, Behind)" Laws, schools are harshly penalized for a variety of reasons - including not only test scores, but percentages of absences.

3. NY State has 2 types of absences: Legal and Illegal. This is not up to the school district, but a mandated law. Legal absences are those which are due to illness or death in the family. Illegal absences are all others (and YES, it is that cut and dry). However, districts often do not wish to anger parents, so enforcement of said laws are usually lax.

Big case in the area where I live 2 years ago:
Student (in high school) who was an honor student doing very well went on a "family vacation" and missed 5-7 days of school. 2 Teachers failed him. Parents sued the district. School district won the suit as they were able to show that the absences were illegal. Parents have appealed, but kid is already in college.

Food for thought.

FenwayGirl
08-15-2006, 08:41 PM
Great letters. I copied and pasted both to use on our next trip 1-08. My granddaughter (who I am raising) will be dancing in WDW for Magic Music Days in January..

Auntie
08-15-2006, 08:48 PM
My brother had a client (he is an attorney) that missed more than the 18 days of schools. The boy was an honor student..and was sickly. I don't remember exactly what was wrong with him..but he was a good student and didn't fail any courses..but the district was saying they were required not to give him credit for the courses he had taken..even though he passed them, because he wasn absent more than the 18 days. The district lost. I don't remember all the specifics. Actually the district is required to provide a tutor for students who are ill and not able to attend school. They didn't want to do this as they new the boy was an honor student..and so around it went. In any case he did graduate.
This happens to be the same district my kids are in..so we are careful about removing them from school. We know they may need the days for when and if they are really sick. As I said..we have a vacation coming up and we chose a week when we knew the kids had a Monday holiday so they would miss only 4 days as opposed to 5. If they miss 5 they have to return with a Dr.'s note.
It is a far cry from when we first started visiting Disney back in the early 90's. Back then my oldest was in 4th grade and his teacher was thrilled for him..and he wrote a report about it upon his return. Times have changed. Now my youngest is starting high school..and it's a different world. It isn't up to the teacher...it's the state and the district depends on the state aid. So...you have a whole lot more to consider.

mickeys_princess_mom
08-16-2006, 12:15 AM
I considered starting a related post re: Letter to School (From Teacher to Principal)...Should I tell him where I'm going in two weeks (for three days off after Labor Day weekend....?) But today he calmly mentioned across the table at one of our breakfast meetings that our brand new vice-principal would be out three WEEKS on a "family trip" to Alaska!!! So I just-as-calmly let him in on my trip and he had no problem with it! I knew I was going to like him. Told him I was going to tell the secretary I could feel "Mickeyitis" coming on... :mickey: :ill:

amyn2610
08-16-2006, 04:57 AM
My kids were in 8th and 4th grades for our previous trip & will be in 10th and 6th for our next one. They are at their dad's all summer, so the only time I have to take a "family" vacation is during the school year.

I refuse to go when the parks are "crowded" (i.e. Spring Break) and will only travel in January since that was a great time to visit.

Although I didn't have any grief this trip, if the school district wants to give me hassle next time about spending time with my kids then I will hire an attorney and pursue the matter thru the legal system. When do they expect me to be able to do things with my kids who are gone all summer?

allie_to_you
08-16-2006, 10:00 AM
Here's my :twocents: ...

I agree with both sides of the fence on this one. While I think it is polite and a good thing to do to write a simple note to the teacher and administration, informing them of your child's absence and requesting their homework, I personally don't see the need to go into any great detail informing anyone about what you will be doing, what you child will be learning, etc. This is your family vacation, and as long as your child's absences the rest of the year are not excessive and your child make's up the required work, the rest is your business. If you child doesn't learn a thing while on vacation, who cares. This is your trip and it's no one elses business except yours.

Narawen
08-16-2006, 12:12 PM
What some people fail to realize is that types of absences that are allowed are clearly stated and will remain that way, no matter what kind of letter you write. If a family vacation is listed under "unexcused", the school cannot make an exception for you.

realtreebar
09-09-2007, 01:36 AM
thanks for the info will help us out when going on vacation!

vamaggie
09-09-2007, 09:19 AM
Don't know if I really want to jump into this since I lean a bit to "the dark side". I really can't justify taking kids out of school for a week or more every year for a trip. The school attendance limit rules (just like the WDW rules) are just that--Rules. They should be followed or the consequences should be expected. Many folks who seem to think it is horribly wrong for folks to try to allow kids who are not tall enough to ride some rides, or complain about folks who re-use the refillable mugs, seem to think it is ok for them to decide if the attendance rules are ok or not. While we are parents, we still cannot decide which "rules"/laws etc we want to comply with regarding our kids(attendance? seatbelts? leaving them alone at certain ages? driving? alcohol? etc)-we need to follow them or expect to suffer the consequences. If we don't like the laws, work to change them. Just my 2 cents.

TooGoofy
09-09-2007, 09:23 AM
Oh, dear.

Seems like there are some of you out there who feel that we teachers are inflexible or bitter about you going on your family vacations. I assure you, that is not always the case.

As a high school English teacher, I often have students who go on family vacations during the school year. No lengthy letters or justifications are required at our school. The student gets a "pre-approved absence form" from our office, and brings it to all of his or her teachers. We sign it, and I always provide homework for the student. (I've been teaching for 17 years, so I know how to plan ahead!) Most of the time I just ask the student to keep up with the reading.

I never expect a gift, though I have occasionally gotten them. If the student is going to Disney, I tell him or her to hug Mickey for me. If the student is going to the beach, I often ask for a sea shell...I have quite the collection after 17 years, and the kids say that they enjoy looking for just the right shell for me. (Last year a student of mine brought me back a shell that had a small hole in it at the top. She put it on a small leather thong for me to wear as a necklace!)

I am sorry that some of you feel like you have to jump through hoops and justify your family time.

disneydeb
09-09-2007, 09:48 AM
I think this has been stated before, Attendance laws in different states are different. I think if left, to the teacher most teachers would allow a family vacation. The decision is never left to the teacher and many times not left to the principal. In my state, students are allowed X number of days for unexcused absenses. The rest have to be turned in from a doctor's office, showing that the child was ill.

Sean Riley Taylor's Mom
09-09-2007, 11:18 AM
Having just went through this with my kids school since we leave Thursday, I can tell you what I wrote.

Hi Mr (Principal's name):

I hope you had a great summer. We have and everyone is excited to get back to school.

I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that Sean (5th), Riley (2nd) and Taylor (Pre-K) will be out of school 9/13-9/21.

I emailed (Sean's teacher) a few weeks ago. She has emailed me back and discussed what work Sean will do while away.

The same with (Riley's teacher) in regards to Riley.

I spoke with Mrs G directly at Taylor's visit to the Pre-K classroom on Thursday.

We will be giving Ms (school nurse) a letter the day before we leave. Since school is closed the 13th, we will send it in on 9/12.

Please let me know if there is anything else we should do. As you know, we take the kids education and attendance very seriously. We will do whatever we can with keeping their assignments current and work missed once we get back.

We are looking forward to a great school year.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely:
Allison (last name)

-The boys teachers are both putting a packet together for them to do while we are away. There is no debate with the boys. They know that if the teacher took the time to get it ready for us, they are doing it. There is never a problem with them finishing it...They know it is expected of them. They also have to read and log each night we are there. Taylor is only in Pre-K so she does not have any homework. The teacher did ask for us to send in some pics for her to share with the class when we got back.
I gave both the teachers the option of giving us work to do while we are gone or putting it aside for when we got back. I know that it is not their resonsibility to do it since we are taking them out. But, they were very understanding and said they had no problem getting some work together for them.
They all know where we are going. I never try to keep it a secret.
Obviously this is always a heated discussion. My answer to that is always do what it right for you and your family. We have taken our kids out and never feel like the school or teachers have to go above and beyond or be 100% okay with us doing it. We have been lucky that it has never been an issue.
Good luck with your letter and have a great trip!!:mickey:

merlinmagic4
09-09-2007, 02:01 PM
I gave both the teachers the option of giving us work to do while we are gone or putting it aside for when we got back. I know that it is not their resonsibility to do it since we are taking them out. But, they were very understanding and said they had no problem getting some work together for them.


This is VERY considerate of you!! I am thinking of my daughter's teacher right now who is teaching second grade for the first time and has 4 kids of her own at home. I think it might be tough for her to come up with it ahead of time. I know she would do it but I will most certainly say that we would be happy to make up the two days my daughter is missing on the weekend we return.

It's people like you who teachers are happy to help out :)

TheRustyScupper
09-09-2007, 02:19 PM
1) We took the kids out of school for EVERY vacation.
2) The kids now take the grandkids out of school for vacation.
3) They write a note and
. . . state it is a vacation
. . . ask for assignments
. . . assure the teacher the work will be done daily
4) They do not
. . . pretend the vacation is educational
. . . give stories like learning from other cultures

NOTE: We have had a few sticky teachers, but we go over their heads if necessary. Family time is every bit as important as education, and more important than 3-5 days of school. The lessons can be made up - the lost family time cannot.

tinksmom02
09-09-2007, 11:49 PM
Interesting that this topic should be brought up at this time, I'm sending my letter to DD's teacher tomorrow!

My problem is that she only just started kindergarten last week, and she is my first (and only!) child is the district.

I explained to her teacher that this trip has been planned for a long time, and that this is a one-time trip, not something that will become a habit. I also explained that I wasn't sure what the proper protocol is for announcing that we would be away, and asked for her guidance--do I need to contact the principal, etc? (The school handbook seemed pretty obscure on this. Basically it said, "please try to take your family vacations during school holidays.")

Finally, I asked if there was anything that Jenna
could do during the vacation, I would be happy to work with her, and if there was anything else that the teacher thought we could do, we'd be happy to do it.

I am not asking permission to take her out, and I am going on the assumption that the absences will be unexcused...I just want to give her a heads-up, and if she wants to send work home ahead of time, all the better.

I showed it to a co-worker (whose daughters are in middle and high schools, and who pulls them out at least once a year), and she said it sounded pretty good, so we'll see. I will report back to you about the reaction I get.

Oh, what really stinks, though, is that we'll be in WDW during Back to School night. So I added that in the letter and offered to come in and meet with her, if it was convenient, because I really am interested in learning about the kidnergarten program.

KAT1811
09-10-2007, 12:02 AM
Not to be rude, but I don't think by sending a letter to the teachers is asking permission. I would just like to make things easier for the teacher and for my son. I WILL take him either way, this is a once in a lifetime experience for us, going to Disney at Christmas. :cloud9: I am just trying to be considerate to the teachers and hoping they don't hold the absence against my son. He rarely misses school and has always had excellent grade, so I don't see him falling behind without being able to catch up. But thanks for the input!


I would just simply state that you are going on a family vacation and would sincerely appreciate any assistance he/she could give you and your child in preparing for his absence. If the teacher is going to cooperate with preparing assignments a simple, nicely written note sould do the trick.

Our school district has a "no prepared work for unauthorized/unexcused absences" rule, so I am not even giving her teacher advance notice, no need to, I'll just call (like I usually do when we go to WDW) and let them know she'll be out and when she'll return. I'm sure your son will do just fine, prepared work or not.

Family time is so precious and they're only small for so long, enjoy your trip!!! On another thread a teacher posted that she felt it was much more important that her student spend time creating memories with their family than be present for her volcano lecture. She felt that the student could always make up the work but could never make up the memories, those are once in a lifetime. If only all teachers felt like that!!!

TammiMcMan
09-10-2007, 02:15 AM
My answer to that is always do what it right for you and your family.While I agree with this statement and some others who don't want to go to Disney when it's crowded, I think everyone just needs to understand that there may be consequences down the road. It's been brought up by a number of posters, that schools rely on funding and funding is based on average attendance. While your 1 child may not affect the bottom line too much, when they're added to the other 30% of children in your district who also take family vacation time, you're going to notice it. I'm in an area that has once again cut back and this time at the elementary level. They are no longer offering a weekly gym or art class.

As pointed out earlier in the thread by Maleficents Dad, the policies are becoming very clear now and in the case he cited, the schools policy was upheld when brought to court by parents :judge:.

Not to be a drama queen :bow: or anything, just some things to think about. It is what it is, an unexecused absence and either we're okay with it or we hold off and vacation with hordes of school kids in April or July :crowd:. Trying to justify it or making assumptions about teachers who don't embrace the idea with open arms doesn't make any sense to me. Unless some people honestly don't understand school funding issues.

For the record, yes, I have taken my kids out of school for Disney vacations. Once they hit middle school though, the best we could do was a 1 or 2 day absence that we tried to work into a long weekend. We left public for private school in high school and they fortunately are not bound by the same funding woes.

disneyfan328
09-10-2007, 11:03 AM
I am going to try and keep this short and sweet - My personal opionions are shared between the two sides. Our school district REQUIRED me to write them a letter regarding taking my 2 kids ( K & 2nd grade ) out of school my oldest is in college and they required nothing of her. We have to get approval in order for the abscenses to be excused vs. unexcused. If they remain unexcused, then there is the possibility that every abscence they would incur for the rest of the year would require a dr's excuse. I can't take my kids to the DR every time they aren't feeling well and if they get the flu the dr's don't even want them to come in. I am doing what I have to do now to prevent issues for myself in the future. In any event, I came across the first letter that was posted on another site. While I didn't use it word for word, I did change/add a few things that I personally did (Like for my DS in K I found disney themed alphabet pages for him to use to practice his writing skills during the plane ride as well as some fun geography/math questions for my 2nd grader). While I am with those that side with family time being very important, their educations are as well.

Personally when I thought of education at Disney at first the only thing that I thought of was WS at epcot. After reading the letter that I found, I realized that there are SO many aspects to Disney that you can use to teach your children life lessons (ie. map reading and energy & animal conservation) I took a whole new spin on the vacation and will be teaching my kids through this to read maps and the signs on buses ect. Again that is my choice to do that. While everyone else may not, I see this as a great opportunity to mix fun with education and I for one and going to use it to its fullest advantage.

Normally I do not pull my kids out of school we normally go to the beach in June and we can't go to Disney every year, so I don't feel bad about this at all. If the teachers can give us the work ahead of time, that is great, and if not, then we will get it when we get back. My DD has already asked if she can get a Monkey for her teacher at Ak since her whole classroom in Jungle themed and she loves Monkeys. I told her not a problem. She said that she would even use her Disney dollars to get it so there is a life lesson right there. Caring about others. We will try to find something for DS's teacher as well.

Anyway - remember to keep this civil and don't put down anyone for their choices. They are ours to make and hopefully we will all have well rounded indviduals when they grow up because of EVERYTHING we have done for them, not just the trips to Disney(or for some of us the lack thereof.)

TheRustyScupper
09-10-2007, 12:57 PM
. . . why should a teacher, who cannot even think about taking a vacation during a non-vacation week, "jump through hoops" for you? . . .

1) Maybe because they are public employees who are to serve the public.
2) It it too bad that you can't take a vacation when you wish.
3) But, that is the profession you chose.
4) You knew this going in.
5) I am NOT saying to change, just realize the job constraints.
6) There are other jobs that cannot take a Summer vacation.

mousetrapper
09-10-2007, 03:11 PM
We just made sure we informed the teachers asap to give them adequate time to prepare assignments for our DDs as necessary. We also sent in a note reminding each teacher about a week and a half prior to our trip. Most of their teachers said, "Go, and have a great time!" and even excused our DDs from various assignments while they were out.

Now that our older DD is in high school (young DD starts HS next year), it doesn't work that way. I mentioned in another post how stressful it was for our DD when she was a freshman and we took our WDW trip. The teachers just said she had to do all the work and that was that. I totally understood that; their job is to teach our kids, not let them off easy. But because it was so stressful for our DD (she had to bring her backpack full of books and work on the plane as well as in our hotel room, by the pool, etc. -- plus make up all tests and quizzes and get class notes from her classmates when she returned -- on top of the new work she got when she got back), we've decided not to take trips during the school year unless it's vacation time or our DDs will only miss one or two days.

Here's the letter we wrote to our DDs' homeroom teachers in anticipation of our last trip:

DATE

Dear Mrs. X:

I want to let you know that we have planned a family trip to Walt Disney World. We believe it is important for us to take this trip as a family, even though it is, unfortunately, during the school year.

Our travel will be from Thursday, September 29 through Tuesday, October 4, 2005. Therefore, DD1 will be out of school for four days. We want to inform all of DD1’s teachers as soon as possible so that she can do whatever is required in terms of work leading up to, during and after our trip.

My intention is to inform each of DD1’s teachers individually. Please let me know if you agree that’s the best procedure. Any other advice you have would be appreciated.

Again, we are excited to have the opportunity to enjoy this trip as a family, but also want to assure DD1’s schoolwork is completed properly. DD1 is a very conscientious student and is eager to do whatever is necessary to stay on track with her studies.

Thank you. If you would like to discuss this, you may reach me or my husband at home at PHONE or via email at EMAIL ADDRESS.

Sincerely,

DisneyCouture
09-10-2007, 03:19 PM
I would just tell the truth that you are going on a trip and this is more convenient for the family to go at this time. I work in the Special Ed. field in a group home environment so we do not have such a procedure for vacations. My other friends who are teachers too usually have the kids write a report/journal entries of the child's trip.

crazeedizneefinatic
09-10-2007, 04:20 PM
We are leaving for Disney in just 10 short days and have informed my son's teacher (he's in 2nd grade) that we were going the beginning of school. I just spoke with her this morning again about preparing. She told us just have a good time and things will fall in place when we return. My son is an excellent student and we are both confident he will be caught up quickly. He goes to a private school and no long notes are required, thank goodness. After reading some of the example letters I started to feel very sorry for the parents who had to write such letters. It is terrible that these school districts make the parents feel as if they are doing something wrong by spending quality time with their children. It sounded as if these letters are defending their parenting. Everyday is a life lesson I believe but some of the reasoning about how educational the trip will be is crazy. It's awful. It's not fair that higher ups require a vacation to feel like work. I sure hope that once the vacation starts the stress levels are lowered and the families can actually enjoy themselves instead of feeling guilty their children are missing school and not being "educated".

TammiMcMan
09-10-2007, 04:21 PM
Anyway - remember to keep this civil and don't put down anyone for their choices. Either we're not reading the same thread or we're interpreting it very differently. From what I've been following, everyone has acted in a very civil manner, especially considering what could be a "hot button" topic. We used to go every September and I'll readily admit that it was nothing more than a family vacation to us and unless there was some obligatory homework (usually done in bulk on the plane ride home), we just had a good time.

We're mostly parents who have responded, and many have said that they see the issue from both sides. My point is that we should just accept it for what it is and move on. No need for a lengthy letter, or searching for educational opportunities, or threatening lawsuits against the school district. Don't expect teachers to prepare homework in advance and honestly, it's getting harder now to even get them to help with makeup when the kids get back (anyone else here have "homework" buddies in their childs classroom?). Know the policy and understand the possible consequences (funding or maybe even the stress level of an older child catching up). If that's fine, then go for it and have an awesome trip with lots of family memories. I wouldn't trade ours for anything, but then again, we've definitely modified our vacation style since the youngest hit middle school.


After reading some of the example letters I started to feel very sorry for the parents who had to write such letters. It is terrible that these school districts make the parents feel as if they are doing something wrong by spending quality time with their children. It sounded as if these letters are defending their parenting.That's the thing though, schools are not requiring these lengthly letters or references to Disney educational opportunites. Whether a parent writes a note or simply calls their kid out sick for a week, the bottom line is that they still go on record as an unexecused absence. It's kind of common courtesy to let the teacher know ahead of time that your little one will be out and that way they aren't worried about a medical problem or something, but that's basically all that needs to be said. I don't think parents are necessarily trying to defend their parenting, but instead, trying to defend their choice of taking a trip during school instead of waiting until summer or school break.

Minniemouse27
09-10-2007, 04:37 PM
I buy a xmas present and end of school year present for the teacher. But I dont understand why i should consider buying a teacher a gift when we are on vacation. I spent almost 4000 on the trip and we havent even left yet. I have to buy some gifts for a few of my daughters close friends as well as family so I dont feel the need to buy a gift for the teacher.

My parents pulled us out of school for our one trip to the Magic Kingdom (none of the other parks existed yet!) when I was younger.

Mom picked up a can of "florida sunshine" for my sister's 5th grade teacher. He LOVED it! :funny:

We are going to WDW in December and dd will miss five days from first grade. I may or may not get a gift for her teacher (or ds' day care teachers).

We generally give a holiday gift to teachers but make it something homemade from our child(ren) as opposed to store bought. Dd painted a wooden birdhouse for her kindergarten teacher last year.

disneyfan328
09-10-2007, 05:10 PM
Either we're not reading the same thread or we're interpreting it very differently. From what I've been following, everyone has acted in a very civil manner, especially considering what could be a "hot button" topic. We used to go every September and I'll readily admit that it was nothing more than a family vacation to us and unless there was some obligatory homework (usually done in bulk on the plane ride home), we just had a good time.

We're mostly parents who have responded, and many have said that they see the issue from both sides. My point is that we should just accept it for what it is and move on. No need for a lengthy letter, or searching for educational opportunities, or threatening lawsuits against the school district. Don't expect teachers to prepare homework in advance and honestly, it's getting harder now to even get them to help with makeup when the kids get back (anyone else here have "homework" buddies in their childs classroom?). Know the policy and understand the possible consequences (funding or maybe even the stress level of an older child catching up). If that's fine, then go for it and have an awesome trip with lots of family memories. I wouldn't trade ours for anything, but then again, we've definitely modified our vacation style since the youngest hit middle school.

That's the thing though, schools are not requiring these lengthly letters or references to Disney educational opportunites. Whether a parent writes a note or simply calls their kid out sick for a week, the bottom line is that they still go on record as an unexecused absence. It's kind of common courtesy to let the teacher know ahead of time that your little one will be out and that way they aren't worried about a medical problem or something, but that's basically all that needs to be said. I don't think parents are necessarily trying to defend their parenting, but instead, trying to defend their choice of taking a trip during school instead of waiting until summer or school break.

What I was referencing in the above was that this is a heated topic and that whether it is all right or wrong that schools, parents, teachers require or don't require certain letters, that we all have to make choices.

As far as your statmement that schools aren't requiring these letters as to the educational aspect of Disney - In my case yes, they are. In order for it to be an excused absence I must show that this trip has the potential to be education and its not just a fun week at the beach. If I can't show that, then no matter how much notice I give, it won't be approved as excused. Now that doesn't mean that I can't take my child, it just means that it goes on record that those days are unexcused and that they can ask for a dr's excuse for ever absencse once you reach x amount of unexcused absences in any given grading period - not the whole year.

I just plan to make trip as educational and fun as I can and I don't think that anyone but my family can judge that.

illini
09-10-2007, 05:22 PM
Hm. I'm surprised so many people find the letter posted in page one as a joke. I guess people all have different ideas of what is educational. However, as a former teacher, I certainly think that World Showcase is educational for kids. I also always let my kids help navigate with a map, even when the adults know where we're going. It's a skill they need, so why not hone it somewhere fun? All those little things *are* teaching your kids something. Education doesn't have to be direct instruction. I hate to see people poking fun at other's idea of what education is.

As for me, I just either send an email to the teacher letting her know that we're going to WDW. I'll let them know about 3 weeks out. I haven't had a problem with this before. If I do this time, I won't hesitate to use one of the letters in here. :mickey:

Oh, and as for gifts. Yes, the teachers have to provide the child with makeup work in most instances. However, they aren't required to give it in advance. That's going above and beyond. Helping a child who has missed a week+ of instruction for a vacation makes her job harder, too. So yeah... I buy small gifts for our teachers. Not because it's required or expected, but to express my thanks for their positive attitude about it. If I get attitude from the teacher, I won't buy a gift.

TammiMcMan
09-10-2007, 05:45 PM
Hm. I'm surprised so many people find the letter posted in page one as a joke. I guess people all have different ideas of what is educational. However, as a former teacher, I certainly think that World Showcase is educational for kids.From a current educator :cool:, every moment you spend with your kids is an educational opportunity, you shouldn't have to try and come up with ways to convince school admins that a trip to Disney or Six Flags for that matter is educational. It should be a simple letter, a quick meeting to show that you are aware of the policy and aware of the consequences and move along. We've had to take extended time off over the past few years for sports related events and it wasn't until my son hit private school that we didn't have to jump through hoops ourselves. So, no joke to me, just dismay that it's come down to this for parents to take their kids out for a few days and for educators to have to try and make up their lost funding from somewhere else. It wasn't always like this, but I guess that's a topic for a whole other conversation.

Sean Riley Taylor's Mom
09-10-2007, 10:21 PM
Not to be a drama queen :bow: or anything, just some things to think about. It is what it is, an unexecused absence and either we're okay with it or we hold off and vacation with hordes of school kids in April or July :crowd:. Trying to justify it or making assumptions about teachers who don't embrace the idea with open arms doesn't make any sense to me. Unless some people honestly don't understand school funding issues.




I am not quite sure if this was directed at me or just a point in general but, I have never tried to justify taking my kids out or have a problem with a teacher who has an issue with me doing so. :confused:

The reason I said do what is right for your family is because that is what it comes down to. As parents, we should do our homework to find out the attendance rules and take in consideration what effect it will have on our kids, their teachers, the school and your family. Then, make an informed decision based on those facts. Whether that means you take them out or don't. I totally understand both sides of view. This is our last vaction during the school year because my oldest will be in Jr High next year. We know how much work,etc, is involved with 6th grade so we have decided what is right for our family. If there are other families that have no problem taking their kids out then that is fine too.

I know I wrote my kids school a very cut and dry letter. Not for permission, just to inform them of the days they would be out. I did not try to defend our choice to take them out or try to make the time out of school anything then what it is...a vacation. We know the attendance policy in our school. We know the absenses will be unexcused and that is fine. We would not expect them to be anything different.

I know this topic can be a hot one. I only said make the decision that is right for your family because that is how I feel. For us, that is taking in all the facts and making a decison that is right for everyone involved..including the school itself.

I understand there are people that do not gather all the infomation and then get angry when something does not go their way. I am not saying that applies to anyone on here, I have just seen it happen time and time again. We make sure we know all the facts and then weigh them to make the right decision for us.

:hands:

TammiMcMan
09-10-2007, 10:47 PM
I am not quite sure if this was directed at me or just a point in general but, I have never tried to justify taking my kids out or have a problem with a teacher who has an issue with me doing so. :confused:No, not directed at anyone, just an observation that it's crazy how some parents are required to go into lengthy explanations about the educational value of a Disney trip. It's a family vacation and as you pointed out, provided the parents are aware of what may happen, that should be the end of the story.

I went through watching my son nearly fail the 8th grade, because he missed 8 days of school in one semester. This was sports related and not a family vacation, but teachers would not give him assignments ahead of time. When he got back, they were only available 1 day a week for afterschool help. He fell so far behind that it very nearly impacted his acceptance to the school he's in now. Knowing all that though, we still wouldn't have done anything different, but those were some tough consequences.

Funding issues aside, I do think there's a happy medium. There's a maximum number of days allowed for unexecused absences. Provided the child is not in jeopardy of going over that allotment, school admins should just let it go. Many schools have found the internet a very useful tool and my kids can find their whole week of homework assignments right on line. Last December when we went away, my youngest daughter was able to log in from our hotel room, get her homework assignment on line, type it in word and e-mail it right to the teacher :thumbsup:. It was great.

disneyfan328
09-10-2007, 10:51 PM
Funding issues aside, I do think there's a happy medium. There's a maximum number of days allowed for unexecused absences. Provided the child is not in jeopardy of going over that allotment, school admins should just let it go. Many schools have found the internet a very useful tool and my kids can find their whole week of homework assignments right on line. Last December when we went away, my youngest daughter was able to log in from our hotel room, get her homework assignment on line, type it in word and e-mail it right to the teacher :thumbsup:. It was great.


Ditto that I concur completly

Sean Riley Taylor's Mom
09-10-2007, 11:10 PM
Funding issues aside, I do think there's a happy medium. There's a maximum number of days allowed for unexecused absences. Provided the child is not in jeopardy of going over that allotment, school admins should just let it go. Many schools have found the internet a very useful tool and my kids can find their whole week of homework assignments right on line. Last December when we went away, my youngest daughter was able to log in from our hotel room, get her homework assignment on line, type it in word and e-mail it right to the teacher :thumbsup:. It was great.

I totally agree with you. This is exactly how our school handles absenses. I know how fortunate we are after reading some of these responses. Our teachers can put assignments on line too. It is their preference if they do or not. My oldest son's teacher puts everything on her site, my younger son's does not. What a useful tool. :thumbsup:

IloveDisney71
09-10-2007, 11:19 PM
I came across this post at the right time. I'm in the middle of trying to write a letter for my daughter. She's a senior and she will only be missing 3 days at the end of her fall semester (one final review day, and 2 days for final exams) - which all of her teachers said she could take early. She doesn't need the review day and the other days are strictly to take the finals. Our school system allows 3 to 5 vacation days but the principals can choose to approve or disapprove of the days. I'm hoping ours will be understanding. This is a once in a lifetime trip because we are having a "grand gathering" with lots of family members. I'm using some of the ideas I've read in this post and I'm crossing my fingers.

Tinkitude
09-11-2007, 10:42 AM
I started notifying principles during the summer before our fall trip to Disney. I followed up a few times and made sure of dates for ISTEP testing and so forth. This is a mandatory test in our state that the children cannot miss. I have found the teachers to be more than willing to help out with a family vacation like this. As long as your son or daughter isn't struggling in school or going to be missing mandatory testing that can't be made up, they usually have no problems with it. :mickey:

disneyfan328
09-14-2007, 04:19 PM
I wanted to post a quick update as we had Open house earlier this week ~ We leave next Saturday for the world whoooo hoooo:thumbsup: anyway ~ My DD in 2nd grade has a wonderful teacher whom she likes very much but from what I have been told and read from her updates and newsletters home, she has very high expectations of 2nd graders. Anyway - I sent the letter in to the princicipal and got both teachers to sign off on it ( my sons as well). Went to see DD's teacher at open house and was pleasantly surprised to hear from her that she is very excited for us and to have a great time, and that as far as make up work - she said "We'll play it by ear and see how DD does when you get back". I don't forsee her having any trouble catching back up at all and if she does, we offer tutoring 2 days a week that she could come to, but I really don't think she'll need it. As for make up work, we'll see what she needs to do when you get back, and to not worry about it. She offered to give us some math fact cards to use on the plane for some upcoming testing and that was it!!! She said don't worry about school it will be here when you get back and enjoy your time together!!! Its vacation.

I can not tell you how thrilled and surprised I was by this. I expected her to have a pack of work for us to either take with us (which I was fine with as this is our choice and I expect that there would be work for her to do), or that we would get it when we got back. Anyway - even though the school made me write the letter ect, I can see that even some of the teachers don't necessarily agree with that part of it. (the letter writing is what I was refering to) She said that she understands, and they went to WDW last July - never again was all she said. She would rather go in the fall too and hopes that even though she is a teacher that she may be able to do it.

Whew! I am glad it is all working out. Still waiting to talk to DS's teacher, but hopefully it will be about the same and if not, then we will deal with that as well. :cloud9:

thejens
09-14-2007, 06:59 PM
Just had to chime in. I think we really need to write our legislators (state and national) president, and also school board members to let them know how important family vacations are to us. I have a difficult time taking my vacation time when my kids are our of school so usually take my kids out 5 days a year. I think most teachers really want the best for the kids and families. Some kids do have a hard time catching back up, especially if they are already struggling. Some parents do not support their kids learning and may take their kids out too often. Unfortunately politicians and administrators make rules to penalize good teachers who get sick before a holiday and kids who simply want to have some family time. Let's face it, the politicians are elected by us! We need to be involved with our schools and with public policy and not take our our anger on a teacher who IMHO is not valued, respected or paid nearly enough. Incidentally, my son's last teacher loves Disney too. I gave her 50 Disney dollars as a thank you gift at the end of the year. She loved it! Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox.

DONROCK
09-15-2007, 12:43 PM
I have two teenagers in High School. I was more comfortable and found it much easier to pull them out for a whole week when they were younger. Due to crowds and heat, I refuse to go during the summer months. So, now I search the school calendar for a Friday or Monday school closure, then just pull them out for 1 or 2 days giving us a 4 or 5 day WDW vacation! Example: they're off Nov 2nd this year.....we'll fly down Thurs afternoon (11/1) right when they get home from school and I'm pulling them out for Monday ONLY - just missing one day of school. I'm not even writing in ahead of time for that!

vamaggie
09-15-2007, 01:17 PM
I have two teenagers in High School. I was more comfortable and found it much easier to pull them out for a whole week when they were younger. Due to crowds and heat, I refuse to go during the summer months. So, now I search the school calendar for a Friday or Monday school closure, then just pull them out for 1 or 2 days giving us a 4 or 5 day WDW vacation! Example: they're off Nov 2nd this year.....we'll fly down Thurs afternoon (11/1) right when they get home from school and I'm pulling them out for Monday ONLY - just missing one day of school. I'm not even writing in ahead of time for that!

This is what we do as well. DS has off Nov 5 & 6 so we are going down Nov 1 and he is only missing Nov 2 (the last day of the quarter). His teacher already knows and said that he can turn in any work or take any tests/quizzes early if they fall on Nov 2. We will call the school on Nov 2 and let them know he is absent for the day for a family obligation. See you there!!!!

tinksmom02
09-15-2007, 11:14 PM
I sent my letter to school with DD5 on Monday, and Thursday evening her teacher called me at home. She was very nice, so excited that we were going, and what a great time of year it is, and a great age DD is, etc. And how she pulled her kids out of school when they were in elementary school!

She said that the letter I wrote was fine, she would forward it to the office, and her absences would be excused :confused: I was anitcipating unexcused absences, so that's a bonus!

She also said that school policy was to send work home when the student returns to school, so she can make it up after we get back. She's only in kindergarten, so I'm not that concerned about the "work load."

Overall, I was really pleased by the conversation, and I can rest easy now (I'd been very nervous all week, waiting to hear her reaction LOL)

So that's my experience!

realtreebar
09-21-2007, 10:37 PM
if the grades are good then call the school and tell them you plans! "gottalove:mickey:"

irish1967
09-22-2007, 01:42 PM
I have no strong feelings one way or another on this subject - if it works for you and your family and the school policy allows it - then go for it.

But, I just wanted to mention something one of my children's teachers (very experienced third grade teacher) said to me the one time that I did pull my kids out of school (once in a lifetime trip to London.)

She doesn't like assigning "homework" ahead of time because too often the "best laid plans" go awry.

A class can struggle with a concept and end up spending an extra day or two on it - which means students on vacation come back ahead of the game and then some parents get upset because they had Susie do work that didn't need to be done.

Or a class might get a concept faster than expected and she can't hold a class back because of vacationing students and some parents then become upset because they "thought" Susie would be caught up when she returned from vacation and isn't.

Essentially, she did not expect my son to make up any homework he missed and did not include them when she calculated his final grade(she did assign a short presentation to him to discuss his trip upon our return)

But she made it clear that it was up to him (and ultimately us as his parents) to be reponsible for making sure he understood the work he missed so that he wouldn't fall further behind as time progressed. She did tell us what she "expected" to cover so we were able to work with him while travelling and he returned to school with no problem.

cal5755
09-23-2007, 10:53 PM
Also, I don't know about other school systems, but here the public schools have a set list for which absences are "excused" and which are "unexcused". Family vacations fall under "unexcused", no matter where you go and what you do. Unfortuately, most schools with such guidelines are bound by those to follow them and writing a letter will nto help your child to be excused.



Here in MD the family vacations are excused... only 5 days are allowed. My dd 8 is an aspiring actress/singer and misses days here and there for auditions as well as shooting commercials... the school system excuses all absences she has so long as her grades remain above average and she has paperwork form her manager. Most school systems will work with you as long as you are upfront and honest. We take our kids out for vacation in September.. one is in grade school and the other is in Middle.... no long notes just a request for vacation days for a trip to Disney. All work is made up in a timely manner and a report on what they did and learned is handed in with make up work. Our kids here only get a few long weekends and a Christmas break so there is no planning during school vacation.

realtreebar
12-07-2007, 01:28 AM
this is a great letter and i am going to use it! thanks.

Nurse Kim
12-08-2007, 02:24 PM
Wow. I have never taken my kids out for vacation but will in March when we take our first family vacation. My kids are in middle school and high school. We are very involved in their education and I keep in frequent contact with the teachers/school regarding grades or any concerns I have about their grades. We feel very strongly about this vacation because we have never taken a family vacation before. I know here the kids are allowed to miss a certain number of days a semester. My kids had perfect attendance the first quarter and have only missed 4 hours the second because of a dentist appt. We are planning no missed days until our vacation in which they will miss 5. I hope our school is understanding.

TheRustyScupper
12-08-2007, 05:07 PM
1) Just write that you are going on vacation.
2) Ask that homework be assigned.
3) You will make sure homework is done daily.
4) We took our kids out of school EVERY year.
5) Now, our kids take the grandkids out of school.

NOTE: I have seen all the letters about WDW being a learning experience, yada-yada-yada. I don't really think this will convince a teacher or principal? Besides. This might lead to the kid shaving to do a paper or something about the vacation.

thrillme
01-14-2008, 04:03 PM
Lots of good suggestions and letters...

I think that's exactly what I'm going to do and I admit since this is my first time taking him out I'm nervous since he'll be in 7th at the time. I really want to go to the Halloween Party at least ONCE...I want to see something different that Disney offers outside of summer. My DS is a straight A student taking both Honors and Excel classes (fortunately and unfortunately they seem to be really easy for him...he gets a little bored...taking him away for a couple of days will actually give him some "relief"). I'm a little disappointed with the "No Kid Left Behind" Act because it seems to cut into the funding some kids NEED if they're ahead of the game.

It really doesn't matter if the teacher will be willing to provide homework for him before or after the trip (I'm looking at 2 MAYBE 3 days) he's the type that will finish it ALL in about 2 hours.

I read all kinds of different stuff where the schools are making this difficult. I understand in some ways and don't in others. Perhaps it gets abused. I guess I'm going to have to take a deep breath and just submit a letter. I admit after reading some of these letters about school districts I'm "tempted" to simply call in and say he's SICK. He won't be out long enough to warrant a dr.'s visit and he'll get to make up work easily. I just don't want to get caught lying.

vamaggie
01-14-2008, 05:04 PM
I admit after reading some of these letters about school districts I'm "tempted" to simply call in and say he's SICK. He won't be out long enough to warrant a dr.'s visit and he'll get to make up work easily. I just don't want to get caught lying.

I would not lie to the school about him being sick. Not only does it send a wrong message to your son but if you do get called on it it will make things worse. Just let the school/teachers know that he will be out, offer to get work ahead (if teachers can/want to give it ahead of time) and let them know all work will be made up asap on his return. Unless he has missed a lot of days, I don't think they can tell you he can't be out. Good Luck!