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Archive for the 'Miss School Manners' Category

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS: FAFSA to the Rescue

teacher Dear Miss School Manners: Last fall, you mentioned that some local schools host college financial aid nights to help families navigate the stacks of paperwork for getting Cal grants and other tuition help. Have we missed the boat? Signed, Anxious in Antioch

Dear Anxious: Your timing is impeccable — we’ve got more than 52 (!!) college aid sessions coming up at East Bay community colleges and high schools in January and February. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is your key to federal and state grants, student loans, and scholarships from the colleges themselves. Yes, it’s a royal pain to fill out the paperwork, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

This year’s FAFSA is due March 3 and it requires information from your 2007 tax return. So if there was ever a year to get your taxes done early, this is the one. You can file your FAFSA after that date, but you’ll be low wallet on the totem pole. Do. Not. Wait.
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Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & More Gifts for Teachers

teacher Last week, Miss School Manners – our advice columnist on all things school and family-related – got a question about appropriate gifts for teachers. Now we’re revisiting the topic, because we’ve run across these darling, practical, kid-crafted gifts that should be a hit with cookie-lovers of any age, especially busy teachers trying to juggle late night paper-grading with their own family holiday prep. They’re Cookies in a Jar. And the instructions hail from Spattulata, the pint-sized cooking duo who won a James Beard Award last year at the tender ages of 10 and 8.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
Under: Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & Teacher Gifts

teacherDear Miss School Manners: I’m the room mom for my first grader’s classroom and other parents have suddenly started asking me about teacher gifts for the holidays. Ack! Are we supposed to give the teacher a present? Each kid or a group gift? And is that supposed to be my job? Signed, Worried in Walnut Creek

Dear Worried: It’s all optional, optional, optional. But having said that … yeah, most people observe the winter holiday in some way. That’s why educators have such massive collections of “Best Teacher” coffee mugs…

(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
Under: Miss School Manners | 1 Comment »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & Moms Groups

teacherDear Miss School Manners:We moved to the Bay Area recently and I’m looking for, well, friends for my toddler… and me. I belonged to a wonderful moms group in SoCal – our Lamaze class kind of morphed into a moms-of-newborns group. But I’m not sure where to find one here and I don’t want to ask some random parent at the park, “Will you be my friend?” Too pathetic. Signed, Lonely Mom

Dear Lonely: Actually, the park is a great place to meet other parents, although you might want to find a better icebreaker. But don’t fret, the Bay Area has some wonderful and very active moms groups…
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
Under: Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & Helicopter Parents

teacherDear Miss School Manners: The college application paper chase has only just begun and already, I’m losing my mind. I want to make absolutely sure that my kid gets it all done … but if he can’t get it together to do college apps on his own, how will he survive college? And when does “helping” turn into “helicoptering”? Signed, Panicked in the East Bay

Dear Panicked: We’re relieved to say that very few college students have to navigate IRS-worthy volumes of paperwork, high-stakes exams, and half a dozen different life-altering essays all at once. Not till grad school applications roll around, anyway. So helping him organize those papers and deadlines? Good. Writing his essays and hounding him about your alma mater? Not good.
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & College Admissions

teacherEarlier this week, we asked parents to weigh in on college admissions anxiety and this culture’s hyper-focus on “top tier” schools, and talk about the smaller colleges they’ve come across that were great fits for their kids. Here’s a sampling of their responses, a couple of new resources and an invitation for you to join the party – post your thoughts by clicking “comments.”

“Our learning-disabled son has attended CSU East Bay for 1 1/2 quarters and we are very pleased so far… Classes are small and the counselors and professors are very approachable. Our son gets much more help than he ever got in high school. His major advisor spent 45 min going over a schedule modified to suit his learning disabilities. By way of contrast, I think my older son (at Cal) knows the name of his advisor (maybe).” – CL, Walnut Creek

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Posted on Friday, October 26th, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners, Teens | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & the 30 Rejections

teacherDear Miss School Manners: Our neighborhood is buzzing about the girl who applied to 30 colleges and got into none. 30! 30!!! With odds like that, what chance does my kid have of getting in anywhere? Signed, Losing It In Lafayette

Dear Losing It: We would so like to tell you that’s an urban legend. But take a deep breath anyway. While it’s true it has become harder to get into elite universities, that’s not necessarily what happened to your unfortunate neighbor. So, first a word about the current college admissions climate. Then, some practical advice…
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & the Class Bully

teacherDear Miss School Manners: My first grader is being bullied at school – punched, slapped, pinched and pushed by different students ganging up on her. It’s been three weeks and my heart is breaking. I tried to call the principal, but she won’t return my calls. What do I do now?
Signed, Anguished in Richmond

Dear Anguished: Bullying is heartbreaking – and insidious. Often, children don’t report bullying to their parents or teachers, or they wait until they’re truly desperate. They’re embarrassed, say the experts at StopBullyingNow.com, or frightened of their attackers, or they don’t want to be labeled as a tattletale…

(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & Music Majors

teacherDear Miss School Manners:
My son is a junior, and he absolutely loves his choir classes. The rest of school, not so great. But his father insists that no one can make a living at music. He wants him to go to a regular university and major in something that pays. Is there a middle ground?
Signed, Worried in Walnut Creek

Dear Worried: Actually, there are many great music-making careers out there, but your husband’s fears are not entirely misplaced. The term “starving musician” didn’t come out of nowhere. Neither did “don’t give up your day job.” That said, yes, talented, passionate, very hard working musicians can make a living with their music, or put together a lifestyle that includes both performing and a day job that helps pay the rent. And yes, when it comes to college paths, there is a middle ground too …
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & the PSAT

teacherDear Miss School Manners: My daughter’s friends are talking about the PSAT. I thought that was a test for juniors. Should my sophomore sign up too? Signed, Mystified in Moraga

Dear Mystified: The PSAT is a practice version of the SAT – significantly shorter than the 4.5 hour monster, but with a similar assortment of math, reading and writing questions. The results come back with an individualized report on what exactly went wrong, which can be helpful when prepping for the SAT. But where it really counts is…

(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
Under: Miss School Manners, Teens | No Comments »