About our school
The John A. Bishop Elementary School opened in 1949 and welcomed the first class of children from the Russell School. A former community member of the Bishop School Advisory Council, Carlene Newell, was among those children who walked to their new school on that sunny day. An addition, consisting of six classrooms, was completed in 1956. A new addition and total renovation of the existing school was completed in August 2000.
The Bishop School originally served only the children of the Morningside area of Arlington. In September 1983, with the closing of the Parmenter School, Bishop School welcomed children from both the Morningside district and the Parmenter School district. Bishop School is unique in that approximately 1/3 of the children come to school on a bus provided for a fee by the Arlington Public Schools.
The Bishop School currently has approximately 380 children enrolled in 20 classes, kindergarten through grade five. The average class size is approximately 20. In addition to the classroom teachers there is a complete support staff for all the children. Bishop participates in the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities program (METCO – a voluntary desegregation program). There are private extended after school facilities available on site and in our school district.
The Bishop School Parent Teacher Organization is an extremely active group involved in a variety of ways throughout the school, as well as throughout the community. PTO committees, chaired by parents, support the children and staff. Funds raised contribute towards curriculum related materials for the staff and children. The funds are also used for; enrichment programs, grants, and significant grounds improvement (i.e., a nature center and new playground equipment). Parents also volunteer in and outside the classroom in support of the staff.
Our school colors are blue and gold and we are the home of the Bishop Bears!
Information Report for Parents Suggested Guidelines.
There are a variety of individuals and groups at Bishop School whose role and responsibilities may be somewhat confusing for parents when questions and/or concerns arise. I have put together some descriptions of people you should contact when you feel it is necessary to pursue questions.
Teachers: The best place to begin is with your child’s teacher, who is likely to have the most information about the situation or curriculum question. Starting with the teacher also demonstrates your respect. Minor issues can generally be addressed successfully over the telephone, but talking directly with the teacher is probably better when a major problem arises. If you feel a face-to-face visit is necessary, be sure to make an appointment. Appearing unannounced means that you may have to wait until the person you wish to see is available or not being able to see that person if he/she has a meeting or other commitment. Let the teacher know by telephone, note, or in person that you have a problem you wish to discuss. It’s a good idea to have some notes, questions, and points of clarification prepared for your meeting. Also, you should be prepared to listen without interruption to the teacher’s response. If you feel more information is needed after the discussion with the teacher, tell the him/her that you plan to bring the matter to the next level, the principal. Whether you do this or not, it’s important to maintain civil contact with the teacher about your child’s education.
Principal: If you have questions about overall school policy or feel you need more information after a meeting with a teacher, contact the principal. Again, you must first decide whether to speak with the principal by telephone or in person. Whichever you choose, be sure to let the principal know whether or not you have spoken with the teacher. If there was not a discussion, be prepared to explain why the teacher was bypassed and to share whatever information you have. In either case, you should understand that the principal will not address your problem until he has spoken with the teacher – who may be invited to sit in on the discussion – and had a chance to examine all available information.
Advisory Council: The Bishop School Advisory Council is a representative group of the Bishop community. The members include the principal, elected teachers and parents, and recruited community members. The role of the council is to shape school policy and programs as well as to develop an improvement plan that sets goals working toward a better school. The council meets monthly during the school year. This would be the correct place to bring questions and/or concerns about school policy and programs. A parent member of the Advisory Council also serves as liaison to the PTO. He/She shares information from council meetings at the monthly PTO meeting. You may ask questions and/or share concerns with this liaison at the PTO meeting. This information will be brought back to the Advisory Council.
PTO: The PTO is made up of the staff and parents of Bishop School. There are elected board members. The main role of the PTO is to support the initiatives of the children and staff at Bishop. The main show of support is manifested through fund raising that goes directly to provide a wealth of materials and opportunities for children and staff, such as curriculum enrichment and parent education programs. The PTO is also where you might become involved in one of the many committees in place that support the school. In addition, you could become directly involved on a regular basis working in classrooms and/or doing clerical work for teachers. You should contact individual teachers or room parents for this involvement. This year the Principal will hold a ten-fifteen minute answer/question session.
I hope these distinctions are clear and provide you with helpful information that will direct you to the correct person or group. If you have any confusion at all you should contact the principal for clarification.