Navigating the KUA Experience
Helpful tips and information for new parents
(created by the Parents’ Association)
Kimball Union makes every effort to provide new and returning parents with information to facilitate a smooth transition into the school as a boarding or day student. While you will receive the detailed Student Handbook outlining policies and procedures, the Parents’ Association has initiated this document to further assist you by sharing the experiences of veteran families.
Absences (for all reasons):
- Sickness: If a day student is sick, a parent should call the Health Center at 603-469-2055 or contact Kathy Langevin in the Student Life Office (603-469-2116, email@example.com). Boarding students are instructed to visit the Health Center in person if they do not feel well enough to attend classes.
- Missing school for family/personal reasons: The school’s attendance policy is firm. Parents are discouraged from taking their children out of school unless it is absolutely necessary. However, there may be times when your child needs to miss school. The administration asks that all children fill out an “excused absence form.” These are in the Student Life Office. The student is responsible for asking his or her teachers, advisor, coach, and house parent (for boarders) for signatures well in advance. This allows your child to have a conversation with his or her teacher about missed work and how it will be made up. The completed form is returned to the Student Life Office for verification of attendance.
- Road conditions for Day Students: In the winter there may be days when road conditions prohibit parents or students from driving. Call the Student Life Office on these days at 603-469-2000. On days when the school has decided it is unsafe to travel to campus, you will be notified by our automated calling system. Every effort will also be made to post this information on the web and it is called in to local radio stations. However, you are the best judge of the weather in your neighborhood, so the administration looks to you to make the decision.
- Vacation and exam periods: There are exam blocks at the end of the fall and spring trimesters. The school does not allow exams to be moved, so be sure to schedule any travel plans after consulting with your child regarding their exam schedule. Similarly, students are not allowed to stay in the residence halls after the notified closing date or return prior to the date when they re-open. International students, with advance communication, may return one night early from certain breaks if they have traveled home. It is always helpful to look at the vacation dates early and plan for pick-up and drop-off. During the March break the school often offers trips. Information about these trips is available before the December break. In addition, the Student Life and Academic Offices can provide information on travel possibilities. These scheduled dates can be found in the plan book, both your child’s printed version and online.
Administrator on Call (AOC):
The school has five administrators who serve as Administrators on Call (AOC). The AOC rotates weekly and are identified in the school’s electronic Daily Bulletin. They can be reached after hours through the school switchboard. This group shares a smartphone (603-398-2299) and an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org
, making this person very accessible to parent and students. Each AOC will list his or her home phone numbers as an additional contact. The group of five administrators rotates weeks and is available for emergency purposes at night and on weekends. The 2015-2016 AOC’s are: David Weidman, Brooklyn Raney, Eric Russman, Michael Porrazzo, and Derek Gueldenzoph.
Advisors: The Student Life Office will assign your child an advisor before the year starts. This faculty member is your point person for questions or direction. He or she will be in touch with you early in the year and provide contact information. Take advantage of this person, particularly if your child is not communicating with you. Advisors will provide formal electronic comments periodically, but are available for you as needed. The more open and honest your communication is, the better the relationship will be. E-mail is often a good way to reach advisors as they are rarely by a phone and may miss a voice mail. The advisor will tell you if there is a more appropriate person to contact for guidance. Sometimes it may be necessary to contact a teacher directly. This is fine, but while an advisor is responsible for 5-7 students, a fulltime teacher supports 50-60 students. Returning students have the opportunity to request to stay with their current advisor or work with someone new at the conclusion of each year. The school discourages changing advisors during the course of the year.
After Hours Contacts: There is always someone who can and should be reached if there is a problem. Residence hall phones do not accept calls during study hours or after in-room times. Faculty can be contacted in their on-campus apartments as needed for routine questions and there is always an Administrator on Call who can be reached 24 hours a day through the school switchboard (603- 469-2000) or the AOC cell phone (603-398-2299). If your child becomes ill or has another problem in the middle of the night they should wake up one of the house parents or call the AOC. House parents and administrators are use to these types of problems and are happy to help your child, regardless of the time. By reaching out to an adult on campus, the school can engage health services or other support mechanisms as needed.
Car policy: All day student drivers and senior boarders with cars must register their vehicles with the Student Life Office.
- Day students are allowed to drive their own vehicles to campus. The school requires that they be parked in the large lot between Flickinger Arts Center and Whittemore Athletic Center. They are not allowed to move their cars until they leave for the day.
- Senior boarding students are also allowed to have cars on campus. The boarders park their cars behind Miller Bicentennial Hall and must turn in their car keys to the Student Life Office. Boarders can only use their cars for an approved weekend away or a Sunday day trip.
Cell Phones: Cell coverage on campus is spotty. There is reasonable coverage through Verizon and US Cellular. The Campus Center has a cell “hot spot”, providing good coverage for day students coordinating transportation or boarders calling home. Students may not bring their phones to class or school assemblies. They are also not allowed to be on their phones during evening study hours or after lights out. Please avoid calling your student between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm on school nights and after lights out. Texting is a good means of communication as it requires less signal strength and is the way most teens prefer to use their phones. The school will collect student cell phone numbers as a way to reach students when needed.
Day students on campus after the school day ends:
- Day students are integral members of this community, and are always welcome on campus. Many come for breakfast and stay for dinner. The Campus Center is always open should you be delayed in picking them up. The school discourages day students from being on campus during evening study hours unless they have a prearranged meeting with a faculty member since they are not a group the school plans evening supervision for.
- Overnights: There are times when day students may need to make arrangements to stay on campus. This should be done through the Student Life Office well in advance. There is a charge for overnight stays out of convenience versus a weather issue that warrants your child staying over. Day parents will often consider boarding their child temporarily if they are traveling and need a place for their child to be so they don’t miss school.
- Weekends: The school plans activities for the students every weekend. Day students are encouraged to participate as they wish, but are not to be on campus after evening check-in for the boarding students.
Directory: The Academy has a password protected on-line directory. It contains pictures and contact information for students, faculty, staff and parents. The school encourages the use of this directory for coordinating weekend plans or simply for establishing adult relationships within the community. Parents can search through the online directory for current students, parents and faculty as well as alumni.
Disciplinary process: While none of us expect our children to get in trouble, mistakes do happen. The faculty may address minor behavioral issues in their classrooms or the residence halls. A student who develops a pattern of behavior that is inconsistent with the Academy’s expectations or is a violation of a major school rule will be handled by the Student Life Office. Depending on the issue, it will either be handled directly with the student, their advisor and parents or the issue could be sent to the school’s Honor Board. The Honor Board is comprised of students and faculty that have been trained to hear from students and advisors about disciplinary matters and make recommendations to the administration regarding ramifications. Parents will be contacted prior to any meeting of the Honor Board. If a situation involves a simple conversation with your child you will hear from the advisor or a member of the Student Life Office. In disciplinary cases, it is always wise to ask as many questions as you may have as these can be anxiety producing times.
End of the day: For day parents, it can be difficult to know exactly when the school day ends. On game days, you can usually find out when a traveling team will return to campus through The Daily Bulletin. On other days you should communicate with your child (or members of the carpool) to know when their last activity concludes.
Expenses during the year: Boarders and day students may have times when they want to use spending money at the Campus Store, on a town trip, or for a weekend activity. How much money your child needs is really a personal decision based on your own finances. Teenagers are always hungry, so some money for food at night or a weekend activity is usually a good thing.
Students are discouraged from keeping large amounts of cash in their rooms.
- Escrow account: This is primarily reserved for academic needs – standardized testing, school supplies, tutorial fees, etc…
- Student Account: This account works like a bank and can be used for any purpose. Students (or parents) can deposit or withdraw money from either the Campus Store or Business Office. Parents can set whatever withdrawal limits they may like on this account.
- Fees for activities: While tuition covers the majority of the expenses, there are other things that come up during the year. Each student who participates in a team activity is issued practice attire and a travel suit that they are expected to wear. This is roughly $150. Personal equipment is needed for some sports and there are also fees associated with certain activities (alpine skiing, STEM, and golf are examples). Some trips that are offered during the year include a fee as do events like the prom, senior trip and mementos, such as yearbooks. AP exams and most tutorial services through the Learning Center are also at a fee.
Evening commitments: There are certain evening events throughout the year in which all students are required to participate. Examples include an advisor/advisee dish crew at an evening meal, attendance at a school play, concert or other program. These are designed to be educational and also to build community through common experiences. While the school tries to notify parents in advance, they may not always do this as early as parents might like. Monitor The Daily Bulletin or look through your child’s Plan Book periodically as these events are often listed in one of these places.
Meals: The Doe Dining Hall provides three meals a day for all students. Sunday the offering is brunch and dinner. Day students are welcome to attend any and all meals. When there are seated meals in the evening the school asks that day students notify the Student Life Office of their intention to stay so they can assign them a seat. Parents are welcome to join their child at a meal if they are on campus for a game or meeting. The school asks that parents only attend meals if they are with their student.
Off campus activities for boarding students:
- Day trips: Parents of boarding students need to get permission from an administrator to take their child off campus during a visit. This allows the school to know where all the students are in the event someone is late for an obligation. While most adults can help you with permission, there are five administrators who rotate duty for signing these forms (see AOC section). Day parents who are taking a boarding friend off campus for dinner or some other activity should follow the same procedure. The school will reference parent permissions provided as part of the summer registration process when deciding what is or isn’t permissible.
- Weekends: There are clear procedures for boarding students and parents to follow if your child would like to come home for the weekend. Students must complete a sign-out form by noon on Thursday and parents must call in permission by noon on Friday. If your child is going to a friend’s house and not home, the school requires that both the host and the parent call in permission. Assuming all procedures are followed, the student can leave after their last commitment (usually a game or activity on Saturday) and is due back by 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. When hosting students for a weekend, you should expect to be asked about adult supervision and the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The school’s policy on substance use only works if we, as parents, uphold the same expectations.
Opening of school: The various registration days include a window of time in which the school asks you to arrive. Boarding parents would benefit from arriving on the early end of the registration window so you have time to move into the residence halls and get settled before orientation activities and meetings begin. Day students should plan to arrive during the second half of the registration period so you don’t have too much down-time between completing registration and waiting for the first event. In both cases, parents are encouraged to attend registration with their student to ensure that all paperwork is in order. Day parents should also look for drop-off and pick-up times on the opening of school schedule. This schedule is mailed to all parents and is available on the website.
Parents’ Association: You are already a member of the Parents’ Association. Our function is to enhance the experience of parents, students, faculty, and staff at KUA. Through the organization of the Parents Association Council we offer several social and informational meetings throughout the year and also assist with a number of projects on campus. We encourage you to participate as your time and interests permit as our success depends on your involvement. Information about upcoming events are published in The Daily Bulletin and on our website.
Plan Book: KUA produces a plan book for each student which outlines each week’s class schedule, meetings, special events, exam periods and vacations. Parents should familiarize themselves with their child’s Plan Book to better understand the school schedule and for information on evening or weekend events, such as plays, concerts, or campus weekends that might require attendance. An electronic version of the plan book is available on the website.
Room Set-up: The Student Handbook provides a lot of information on what is allowed and not allowed in student rooms. As much as we want our children to be comfortable, the school takes a “less is more” approach. Posters and other wall decorations are permitted as long as the content does not include nudity, alcohol, drugs, or tobacco products. Stereos and computers are welcome as is a comfortable chair for reading and extra lighting. External monitors for movies or games are permitted as long as they are not used during study hours or after lights out and as long as they don’t detract from a students ability to meet their academic responsibilities. Room safes are available for valuables and operate the same way as a hotel safe. Non-perishable food and drinks are also allowed; although refrigerators, hot pots or other cooking devices are not. Each residence hall has a lounge with a community refrigerator, TV and microwave.
Summer office contacts: Kimball Union remains open throughout the summer. Academic, student life, college advising, admissions, communications, and business offices are ready to answer questions you may have. Summer hours for the offices are generally 8 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Textbooks: This year books are being purchased for your child by the school and they will be delivered when classes begin. There is an additional fee of $150 for a student changing a class after books have been released or for taking a sixth class.
KUA relies heavily on their website as a helpful resource for parents and students. The full life of the school can be discovered and followed through the website. Each student and parent has their own “page” on the portal. The student page contains daily schedule information, assignments, advisor information, housing or locker assignment and other useful data. You can track attendance through the portal and will also be able to access grades and comments when distributed through the website. Parents are asked to maintain current contact information (phone numbers, e-mail addresses, home address, etc.) as the school relies on this information to reach you. If you ever have questions about access or navigating the web portal, you should contact Kit Creeger (email@example.com
) or Sarah Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org
) in the Communications Office.
When all else fails: If you have gone through all the channels you feel exist (teacher, advisor, coach, house parent, etc.) and still have questions or uncertainty, you are encouraged to contact David Weidman, Assistant Head of School or Joe Williams, Assitant Head for External Affairs. They will often be aware of an existing situation and will discuss ways to work together through the dilemma at hand.
Why isn’t there information in here about…: Still don’t have the answer to your question? The Parents’ Association runs a discussion board on our website. This board is available for you to post questions and give or receive answers from fellow parents.