Your child has been admitted to CFS. Now what?
This is a work in process. Your questions will help to generate the content of this page. Please email Nancy Hayes (nhayes at cfsnc.org) with questions you would like to see answered in this space. Thanks!
Meeting CFS families
We do our best to insure that every new family receives a welcome call from a parent whose child is already attending CFS.
In May, we hold welcome events for Lower, Middle, and Upper School to help new families become acquainted with current CFS parents and students. (The Early Schools hold smaller events around the start of the school year.)
We are always happy to run zip code lists for you so that you can discern what CFS families live near to you and perhaps arrange car pools to school. When you sign your enrollment contract, you'll have the opportunity to opt in to a Google map that identifies CFS families who also have opted in to this opportunity.
For Lower, Middle, and Upper School, we assign parent buddies. Ours is a parent-to-parent buddy system, where we do not expect too much of the kids, although we try to make matches by gender and approximate age. If possible, your buddy will attend the spring welcome event; but if they can't make it, we'll have plenty of other parents on hand to greet you and answer questions.
During August, parents often arrange ways that students can make informal connections with each other, whether that means Lower School families gathering on our playground or meeting for ice cream somewhere, or Middle School boys or girls meeting at a swimming pool or bowling alley. Upper School gatherings typically happen after the start of school.
After school has started, the Welcome Committee of the Parent-Staff Association (PSA) arranges for interested parents to gather for coffee or lunch. Each unit offers some form of parent get-togethers, often with some staff also present.
And once school begins there is a strong orientation program in each unit to help students adjust to CFS.
For those who use Facebook, there is a parent-initiated group. Ask, and you'll be invited to join: www.facebook.com/groups/cfsparents.
We ask that you return your signed contract within two weeks, along with a deposit of $1,000 per child, which applies to your tuition. We also ask for a $1,000 new student fee, prorated for families receiving financial aid (and with a cap of two new student fees per family). Your tuition covers all supplies and fees, including athletics. There are fees associated with some Middle and Upper School end-of-year experiences, but all students are eligible for these experiences regardless of ability to pay.
If you have applied for financial assistance, your contract will reflect the decision of the Tuition Aid Committee. It is important to apply for financial aid while applying for admission, not after learning whether there is a space for your child, so that you are offered the contract that might make it possible for you to enroll your child.
We understand that occasionally a family's plans change after they have signed a contract. If a contract is signed and then cancelled before June 1, the family will be responsible only for their deposit(s) of $1,000 per student. If a contract is signed and then cancelled on or after June 1 but before the start of school, the family is responsible for paying the deposit(s) and the first semester’s tuition. If a contract is signed and then cancelled after the start of school, the family is responsible for the full year’s tuition. If a family is receiving financial aid, they will be responsible for their share of the above costs after financial aid is applied.
In mid-August, each unit's head teacher sends a letter to families about what to expect in the first week of school. Lower School students need only their backpacks and lunch carriers, since all supplies are provided. Middle and Upper School students are asked to purchase the organizers that are sold here. Once they get to Algebra, students need a calculator; we have a few available for loan.
All books are provided for students at CFS.
All-school community picnic
All are invited to the CFS community picnic, a tradition cherished by many. This year the picnic takes place on Sunday, August 28. We set up tables and blankets along the soccer fields and enjoy a potluck meal, while kids throw frisbees, twirl hoops, kick balls, and have a grand time.
Since hundreds of people attend the picnic, the event can be daunting for new families with very young children, but there are often groups of Early School families who come to the picnic together. The Early Schools also offer their own small family get-togethers before or after the start of school.
On the Monday morning before the first day of school, Lower School offers an open house from 9:00 to 10:00 during which new parents and children are encouraged to come to meet their teachers, take a scavenger hunt, and enjoy the playground. Middle School holds an orientation for new parents and students from 10:30 to noon, and Upper School holds an orientation from 9:00 to 10:30. Sometimes there are informal family get-togethers afterwards.
The first day of school
We begin with a half-day on Tuesday, August 30. Our Early Schools have a special schedule during that first week (with half of the students coming for a half-day on Tuesday and a full day on Thursday and the other half coming for a half-day on Wednesday and a full day on Friday).
The Center staff offers coffee and light refreshments to parents who can stop by after drop-off on that important first day. You can meet Center staff and some parents of returning students. Please join us!
Back-to-school events for parents
Every unit of the school will host some sort of back-to-school event for parents in September or October, usually on an evening. We strongly urge you to attend these events, where you'll meet teachers and learn more about what to expect regarding your child's experience at Carolina Friends. The Middle School will also host a "First-Year Night" for parents of students in the first-year Middle School class.
How can I get involved?
We encourage you to visit the Parent-Staff Association section of our website. Come to a meeting to learn about various committees and meet parents active in the PSA. The PSA holds monthly business meetings at which all are welcome (time alternates between 8:45 and 2:00) and several evening programs.
New families always say that the best way to get to know people at school is to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities vary depending on the age of your child, so we advise letting your child's teacher or head teacher know about your availability and interests.
What about next year?
Unless teachers and parents have been in conversation about whether Carolina Friends School is a good fit for a student, you can expect to receive a re-enrollment contract for your child at the end of January. The contract will be due on February 10, with a deposit of $1,000 per child.
If your family is receiving tuition assistance, you will be asked to apply again through Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) every year, by December 1. You will supply your best estimate of your 2015 income and send TADS your 2014 returns, completing your 2015 tax returns as soon in January as you can. Grants are contingent on being verified when 2015 tax returns are received and audited by TADS.
How can I enroll another child at CFS?
Please complete the online application as soon as you know that you'd like another child to be considered for admission. We'll arrange a parent interview and, if applicable, a student visit. If space permits and the fit is good, we hope to keep families together at Friends. Contracts for siblings go out when they go out to other newly admitted families (February and March, depending on the age of the student).
Questions from recently admitted families
How can I get in touch with some CFS families?
If you contact Nancy Hayes, she'll put you in touch with some parents, probably the liaisons for your child's unit.
For those who use Facebook, there is a parent-initiated CFS parents group: www.facebook.com/groups/cfsparents/
How early can I drop my child at school?
Lower School begins at 8:35, and you can drop off beginning at 8:20. Middle and Upper School begin at 8:30, and you can drop off beginning at 8:00.
Campus Early School and Durham Early School can be dropped off starting at 8:15, and Chapel Hill Early School students can be dropped off starting at 8:30.
Why do students call teachers by their first names?
This practice arises from our belief in the Light in every one. Friends believe deeply in equality and customarily do not use titles, believing that it is the relationship, not the title, that conveys true respect (although if we have a guest who would be offended by our not using a title, we will do so). We work diligently to create relationships among students and teachers that generate sincere mutual respect.
When can my child register for courses?
Upper School students and their parents will be invited to a welcome event in May, and there they will receive course registration materials. If they cannot attend the welcome event, they will receive the course registration materials in the mail or by email.
Middle School students will receive their morning courses at the orientation on the day before school begins. They start the year with community-building activities and then their required morning courses. They will receive a list of elective courses after the first week of school.
When will I receive information about athletics?
Upper School athletics teams begin practice on August 1. Middle School teams begin on August 26. When the schedule is finalized for games, you will see it on the calendar section of our website. For more info on our athletics program, please go here.
Is there a dress code, and is it true that some CFS students don't wear shoes at school?
There is no dress code; we ask that students wear clothes that are "clean, comfortable, and appropriate." We also ask that students be prepared for outdoor play during recess and breaks.
In the Early and Lower Schools, students must have shoes that are appropriate for indoor and outdoor play at school (although Durham Early School has a barefoot-friendly playground). In Lower School, we also have boots outside their classrooms so students can explore the creek. Once students get to Middle and Upper School, some students do occasionally go barefoot.
Are parents able to settle in with their children at the beginning of the school day?
Parents are welcome to settle in at Early, Lower, and Middle Schools. Each Early School has its own routine, which you'll learn when you arrive. In Lower School, settling in begins in the classrooms at 8:35; then parents quietly depart as students begin their work or morning sharing. In the Middle School, settling in begins at 8:30. Although students of Middle School age sometimes do not seem eager for parents to accompany them, Middle School welcomes parents who wish to be present.
How are holidays handled at CFS?
That depends on the holiday, the age of the students, and also parent involvement. You'll be notified by your child's head teacher about how the unit celebrates Halloween (Lower School's celebration involves many parent volunteers during and after lunch; Middle School has class as usual in the morning and costume contest and celebration in the afternoon; Upper School students can choose to participate in a costume contest during lunch). If you are interested in sharing a cultural tradition with your child's peers, you are welcome to talk with teachers about the possibility. (We have appreciated parents sharing about Diwali, Eid, Asian New Year, and other traditions.)
More coming soon, in response to your suggestions . . . .