First Weeks of School Survival Guide

Greetings, McDonald International Families! We are excited about the weeks ahead!  In order to help your student's first day and week of school go as smoothly as possible, the PTA has tried to answer some frequently asked questions here.

Go Home Plan

Parents/Guardians: You must complete the required Go Home Plan form for each McDonald student. Please bring these plans to the Back to School Event in September or send them with your child on the first day of school.

Changes to how your student goes home after school? Send in a Go Home Plan Change Note.


Is your child taking the bus home or to off-site childcare? Visit the Transportation page for full details and important updates.

Be prepared for slow/delayed bus service during the first week of school! Many parents opt to transport their children during the first week because service can be so slow. 

The First Morning of School

Drop-off begins in the playground at 7:40am. School begins when the first bell rings at 7:55am - don't be late!

If you're driving your child and walking them in, parking may be a challenge.

Parking is not allowed:

  • on NE 55th St. (the bus zone)

  • on NE 54th St. in front of the school (rolling drop-offs only)

  • in the parking lot (reserved for Teachers and Staff only)

Parking is allowed:

  • on surrounding streets

  • further down on NE 54th and 55th Streets

Please respect our neighbors and do not block driveways or park in no-parking zones.

If you are dropping off your child and not parking, rolling drop-offs are allowed on NE 54th St. in front of the school as you are travelling west. Drop-off starts at 7:40 am.

Our narrow neighborhood streets have a hard time accommodating two-way traffic. In order to minimize traffic jams during drop-off and pick-up times, please treat 54th and 55th as one-way streets: only travel west on NE 54th St. (south of the school) and travel easton NE 55th St. (north of the school).

In the morning, teachers will meet the kids on the playground. They would like to get good systems started from the first day so please do not bring your child directly to the classroom. The teachers will meet their classes on the playground and bring them to their classes. Please plan to say your farewells on the playground - help us build good habits with our students from day 1. Be there before 7:55am when the first bell rings.

First Day of School Coffee hour for parents in the Cafeteria from 8:00a to 9:00am: After dropping your child(ren) off on the playground where they’ll enter the school with their teachers, the PTA invites you to join us in the cafeteria for social time, coffee, bagels, and a brief address by Principal Goldberg and your PTA leadership.


Drop-Off Procedure After the First Day

From 7:40-7:55am the playground will be supervised. Students may not arrive at school before 7:40 am.

If you plan to drop off your child, please drop off on the north side of 54th St. (the school side of the street) as you are travelling west on 54th. Our narrow neighborhood streets have a hard time accommodating two-way traffic.

If you would like to park and wait on the playground with your child, please find a parking space along one of the nearby residential streets following the parking guidelines above. 

There will be a teacher on "bus duty" in the morning.  Students get off the bus and go to the playground - not into the building.

Teachers will meet their students on the playground in the morning all year long.  Teachers line up their classes when the first bell rings at 7:55 am, please drop your children off before then.  The last/tardy bell rings at 8:00 am.  By that time, it's expected that students are already in their classrooms, ready to learn.

If your child arrives after the last/tardy bell at 8:00 am, you must sign them into the office as tardy before they can go to their classroom.

Please understand that most days your child's teacher uses the time before school to prepare for the instruction. Teachers will share expectations with you and with students about entering their classroom before school.  Exceptions may be made for students working on ongoing projects or other teacher choices.

Students who are eating breakfast in the cafeteria may always enter the building.


Pick-Up Procedure

After school, all teachers will take their classes to the playground for pick-up. You must pick up your child on the playground. Please use the above guidelines for parking procedures.

Students taking the bus or attending KidsCo will be directed to the appropriate location. The teachers will then take the kids who are getting picked up by parents to the playground.

If you need to pick up your child early, please check in at the office first. Your student will then be brought to the office to meet you there.

Note:  We will have to park and come meet our kids for pick-up. There will be no drive-through pick-ups. 

Thanks for your continued flexibility! And stay tuned -- there may be more improvements to our systems as the weeks unfold.

Click here for the full Pick-Up and Drop-Off Procedures info.


In Case of Rain

Here are the current drop-off locations if it's pouring down rain:

  • Kindergarten: to their respective classrooms

  • 1st Grade: to the cafeteria

  • 2nd Grade: to the west covered outdoor playcourt (close to Kids Co.)

  • 3rd Grade: to the east covered outdoor playcourt (next to the playground)

  • 4th Grade: to the gym

  • 5th Grade: to their classroom

Students being dropped off by car should be dropped off on NE 54th at the Southwest corner of the building, go up the stairs there, enter the school through the cafeteria doors (across from the gym), and then proceed to their grade-level location listed above.

Note: students may not be dropped off before 7:40 am. Thanks for your continued flexibility! And stay tuned -- there may be more improvements to our systems as the weeks unfold.

Pick-up after school in the case of rain remains the same as on other days. Teachers will bring students going home by parent pick-up to the east covered outdoor playcourt after the last bell rings at 2:25 pm. Parents, for security and space limitation reasons, please wait for your child(ren) in the playground area.

School Supplies

In an effort to save parents time and money and enable our teachers to buy their preferred items at bulk rates, the PTA provides parents with a bulk purchasing program for shared classroom supplies.


Lunch & The Cafeteria

Is your child buying hot lunch? Your child can pay daily with cash, check or money order, or you can load your child's account.

Get all the details about meals, payments, and free/reduced meals here.


Classroom Visitors & Volunteers

Volunteering: The first few weeks of school are a time for kids and teachers to establish and get comfortable with their new routines and expectations. Parent volunteers will not be used in the classroom for those first few weeks, but are very much needed and appreciated after that!  Beginning in October, you'll hear from your teacher(s) and/or Room Parent when they're ready for your help in the classroom and playground.

Don't forget to download and submit SPS's background check/screening forms, required to volunteer in the classroom. This has to be done annually. Visit our Volunteer page for more info.

Visiting: The school has asks that we hold off on classroom visits until the week of Sept 30. This will give our teachers three full weeks of school to establish good routines, etc., in the classrooms.


Lunchroom Visitors & Volunteers

Can You Help Out At Lunchtime?

The beginning of the year is a great time to help out in the cafeteria. Many of the new or younger students could use help learning the ropes or opening their packages.

Sign-up on our Volunteer page, or if you need more information contact your PTA volunteer coordinator at

No Lunch Visitors During the First Three Weeks

Unless you are the on-duty lunchtime volunteer, we do ask that you hold off visiting your child until after the third week of school. This will give your child time to get comfortable enough to be able to teach you all the lunchroom procedures and expectations.

Lunchtime Visits After the Third Week

Parents, guardians, siblings and extended family members are welcome to join students for lunch or breakfast. You may bring your own meal or purchase one at school -- don't forget to sign in at the front office and get a Visitor badge when you first arrive!


More Information

The PTA website is chock full of great information geared towards us (McDonald Int'l families) and what we want to know. Be sure to explore the full menu at the top of this page. We hope you take some time to get acquainted with the wealth of info and resources available, and check back often for new postings.

Questions for the PTA or the school? We’d love to hear from you!

Welcome to the New School Year!