New Families FAQ

Q. How do I register my child for Castro?

A. Please visit the Mountain View Whisman School District's registration website for enrollment information. The registration process is handled by the district, not by the school.

Q. When can I find out what class my child will be in next year?

A. Class assignments are posted outside our library at the class list posting the week before classes start. Please check the Castro calendar for the date and time of this important event.

Q. Where should I bring my child on the first day of school?

A. Your child will be assigned a classroom number which will be posted before school starts, students are expected to line up on the blacktop behind the school at the number corresponding to their classroom. The teacher will come and lead the children into school at the start of the school day.

Q. What should I expect on the first day of Kindergarden?

A. Each teacher may present these activities in a different order throughout the day.

  • Every child will receive a name tag. A color coded wristband will be provided for the first two weeks of school. This helps the students identify which classroom they belong to.
  • Parents will be introduced to the location of cubbies and backpack area. Teachers will make morning announcements. 
  • Attendance will be taken. Late students/parents must go to the office to get a tardy slip.
  • The children will go on a school tour and meet the school personnel: principal, secretaries, custodian and the librarian.
  • The students will be introduced the alphabet.
  • The students will listen to stories about first days of school and learn about Castro school rules.
  • The students will have a 20 minute snack recess-please bring a small healthy snack in a lunchbox.
  • The students will explore math materials: linker cubes, puzzles, tiles, etc.
  • The students will do an art activity.
  • The students will have exploration time at the end of the day
  • First day of school dismissal will be at 12:25pm as well as every Thursday.
  • Regular dismissal on MTWF will be at 2:00pm.

The first day is a Minimum Day. On minimum days parents are to pick-up their child up outside their classroom door at 12:25 pm. Please allow time to find parking so always arrive 5 minutes early to be on time for pick-up. Children having hot lunch will be picked up and taken to the cafeteria (MUR) by our school lunch monitors. Parents of children having hot lunch will meet them outside the cafeteria. The cafeteria is for students only and must finish their food inside as food is not allowed outside of the  cafeteria.

Q. What are the school hours?

A. Please see the Bell ScheduleThe first bell sounds 5 minutes before class is scheduled. The second bell signals the beginning of the school day. 

Q. Where is the best place to park for pick-up/drop-off?

A. Parking around the school is difficult at pick-up and drop off times. Limited parking is available at the main lot on Escuela, along Latham Street and near the small lot at the back of the school on Toft Street. There are very few close spots so we recommend planning on spending five or ten minutes walking with your child to the blacktop after parking. Please be careful to park legally, the Mountain View police will ticket parents who are parked illegally. The green zone in the Toft lot is drop-off or pick-up. Do not leave your car unattended.

Q. Will I always need to walk my child into the classroom, or just for the first few weeks?

A. Kinder parents almost always walk their children to their line, wait with them and then help them get settled in the classroom. For the first few weeks of school the teachers encourage the parents to stay longer and read books with their kids to get them comfortable with the classroom. For older children, the parents usually walk them to their line and wait with them until the teacher comes to lead them to the classroom. Sometimes parents will be invited into the classroom for announcements or special events. For some of the oldest students. Some parents are comfortable dropping older students off at the curb and having them walk themselves to their line, or even walking or biking to school on their own. Parents should know that the school is not responsible for their child until the teacher leads the children to the classroom.

Q. If I park around the back side of the school is it OK to enter from the back or do I need to take my child around to the front of the school?

A. At morning drop off time, parents can enter the campus from any entry point to reach the blacktop At pick-up, the TK and kinder parents must wait at the designated pick-up spot for their child’s class.  Pick-up for grades 1-5 can enter campus and wait at designated locations.

Q. Is there a "window" of time for drop-off and pick-up, is it better to arrive exactly at the start/end time?

A. Students need to be lined up on the blacktop and ready to enter the classroom before the first bell. It is a good idea to plan on arriving at school 5-10 minutes early to give yourself time to park and walk to the blacktop. At the end of the school day teachers generally open their doors at the dismissal time, parents are expected to be there to greet their children. Kindergarten parents should wait at their designated pick-up spot.  If, after 5-10 minutes, the parents do not show up, the child will be sent to the office so that their parents can be contacted. The teachers are not responsible for the students after school, and children can become upset if their parents are late, so please make every attempt to be on-time.

Q. What if my child is late for school?

A. Come to the office to get a tardy slip before going to class.

Q. What do I need to do if my child will miss school?

To report an absence by telephone, call 650.526.3590 and press 2, or use the absence report form.

Q. If I will be carpooling how do I inform the school/teacher who will be picking up my child? Do I need to provide the school a list of people who are approved to pick-up my child if a friend/grandparent will occasionally pick them up?

A. The teachers have a logbook for communications about pickup and drop-off. If you will regularly be having someone other than a parent pick-up your child, you will be asked to note this in the book. If your child is going to an afterschool program, you should note this in the logbook. If you will be occasionally relying on someone else to pick up your child when running late, please note this in the teachers logbook. You should also let your child know what the plan is if you cannot be at school at pick-up time so that they know what to expect at the end of the school day.

Q. Is there a place for the children to leave personal items at school like a sweater, hat or sunblock?

A. Items like this should be kept in your student's backpack. There are hooks inside or just outside of the classrooms for the students to hang their backpacks and coats each day, students need to take everything home at the end of the school day. Students do have cubbies for schoolwork and notices, but not for personal items. Items left behind in the classroom, may or may not be there the next day. Items are often taken to lost and found in the main office if left behind in the classroom or around campus.

Q. If we bike to school where should my child park her bike?

A. There is a bike rack near the office. Bikes are not allowed in the classroom or for use during the school day and should be kept out of the way.

Q. Is there anything my child needs to bring to school besides their lunch/snack?

A. No, school supplies are kept at school so the students don’t need to bring any supplies with them each day. You will want to have your own supplies at home to complete various homework assignments and projects.(glue/scissors/pencils).

Q. What sort of backpack should my Kindergartener have?

A. For Kindergarten, backpacks should be big enough to hold a lunchbox, snack, library book, and manilla envelope (9"x12").

Q. How does lunch work?

A. You have two options, 1 students may bring their own lunch, or 2 buy a hot lunch for $3.50. See the lunch page for more information. All students are issued a debit style lunch card for purchasing hot lunch, the cards are labeled by name and room and kept near the cafeteria. There is a box at the left side of the counter in the office for lunch money. If you put money in a envelope with your child's name on it in the box, your child will receive a credit. If your card runs out of money the school will contact you to add more to your childs card.

Q. What if my child forgets his/her lunch?

A. The school will get him/her a hot lunch that day, and $3.50 will be debited from the students lunch card even if you have not added any money to card. You will be notified if your child has a debt.

Q. Is there anything that is not allowed in lunch boxes (like nuts, etc.)?

A. The school does not have a prohibition on nuts. If there is an issue in your classroom your teacher should communicate this with you. The school does not allow students to bring candy and other junk foods to school, please pack your child a healthy lunch and snack.

Q. Any tips from other parents for packing lunches and snack?

A. The kids only have 15-20 minutes to eat their lunches, so consider packing something that can be eaten quickly and doesn't require too much preparation time. There are no facilities for refrigerating or warming up food brought from home. Hot food should be kept in a thermos and cold food kept with an ice pack, include a reusable fork or spoon as needed. The students also have a mid-morning snack so please pack a healthy item for them to eat in the morning. 

Parents and kids come up with many different ideas for lunches. Sandwiches and wraps are popular and are easy to eat. Some kids prefer eating leftovers from the previous night’s dinner kept warm in an insulated thermos. Small containers with fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt or nuts are an easy option for kids who like their food kept separate. Bento-box style lunch boxes make it easy to pack many different small items.  Involve your kids in the process of preparing lunches each day so that they have some say in what goes into their lunchbox.

Q. Why does the PTA and MVEF, keep asking me for money?

A. The state government provides the money for the school facilities, staff and basic materials, but that is all. Your contributions to each of these organizations helps your child to have an enriched school experience with art, music, science, field trips, and a classroom well stocked with books and school supplies. Without parent support, these programs are missing. Parent support of both time and money make Castro school a special place. Without your contributions to these organizations our school would suffer

Q. Can I help out in the classroom?

A. Absolutely! Sign up to be a room parent at the class list posting or contact your room parent, the PTA or your teacher to find out how to help out.

Q. How can I help if I am not available during the day?

A. There are many ways to help, even if you are not availible during school hours. Many teachers have jobs for parents at home, like prepping art projects let your teacher or room parent know that you're willing to help from home and he/she will contact you when a need arises. In addition, there are many PTA tasks that can be done from home and help not only your classroom but the entire school.

It takes a village to raise a child and Castro School is no different. There are many opportunities to volunteer your time and ideas. Look for emails, flyers, postings and requests from teachers, room parents, PTA and more. The weekly newsletter is loaded with valuable information on this and more.

Q. It's in the middle of the summer and I have a question, but the Castro and school district offices are both closed until mid-August!

A. If you have questions please join the castroparents Yahoo!Group. This is a meeting place for parents, teachers and staff of the children attending Mariano Castro Elementary School. Questions to the list are usually answered promptly by someone who has an answer.