El Marino Language School

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El Marino Programs and Events » Drop Zone

Drop Zone

Welcome to the Drop Zone Information Page
About Drop Zone
Located at the southwest corner of the school (Diller & Coolidge Ave), the "Drop Zone," is a drive-thru student drop-off system run by friendly parent volunteers. Simply pull into the safety lane and a volunteer will escort your child from your car and safely into school. 

Please consider Volunteering for “Drop Zone”
With only a half hour commitment, once a week, you can help us keep our kids safe!  Set up is around 8:15am and clean up is shortly after 8:45 when the 2nd bell rings.  We try to have 5 to 6 volunteers per day.  It’s a great way to meet other parents and start getting involved!

Please email Jessica Kastendiek  tjkastendiek@gmail.com  if you would like to help out at Drop Zone.

History of the “Drop Zone"
The “Drop Zone” was started in 2001 by a group of concerned parents who wanted to make the morning drop off  for our children safer.  The original Drop Zone committee included Sam Spear, June Poyourow, Susan Bunten, and Barry Serber, with Nancy Spear doing the scheduling. The initial idea came from Stacey Serber, after seeing a “drop-off zone” at Temple Beth Am.  She mentioned it to her husband, Barry, who thought we could use something like this at El Marino.  Barry spoke with the El Marino Principal at the time, Mrs. Fields, and she announced, “You have just volunteered for the Committee to develop a Drop off Area”.  A meeting was scheduled with the Principal and planning began for the Drop Zone.  They first had to get a Petition Signed to change the time of Street sweeping on all the streets surrounding the school from the original 8:00am-10:00am to 10:00am-12:00pm.  We were losing half of our parking spots, two days per week, along with all the garbage cans that were taking up parking spots.  Then they had to change the time that a teacher would be on campus, so that the children would be allowed to enter the school campus at 8:20 am, instead of the original 8:30am. After visiting Overland Avenue Elementary School to see how their Drop Zone worked, they decided to model El Marino’s Drop Zone along those same principals. They established a curb-side drop zone on the South-West corner (Diller & Coolidge Ave) of the campus, using cones and signs to demark the area.  Finally, they asked parents if they could spare 30 minutes one morning a week to help out.  As you know, El Marino is the best place to get volunteers!

The Drop Zone has been a successful addition to school for the last decade and we hope it lasts forever.


How does “Drop Zone” work?
We, the Drop Zone Committee, want to provide a safe, convenient way for parents to drop their children off at school without the headache of having to park or get out of their cars.  We set up the signs and cones at 8:15, and are officially open from 8:20 to 8:45am.  We generally start putting the cones away just after 8:45 when the school gates are scheduled to be locked.  At that point, anyone who is late would need to enter campus through the Front Office.

Also, although the PTA has agreed to hold a space for a “Drop Zone Contact” on their Executive Board Roster, the Drop Zone is actually a separate Parent Volunteer Organization as we technically operate outside of the School Property.   As such, our volunteers are not required to do the Volunteer Orientation or have a TB test done, although everyone is encouraged to get cleared as a volunteer.  

However, if you have paid your dues (approx. $6 each year) to be a PTA member, then you may LOG YOUR VOLUNTEER HOURS into the Binder for that purpose, located in the school office.  If you estimate 38 weeks at ½ hr /week , then that equals 19 hours of PTA Volunteer time per year.  To make it easy, you can just log these hours once.  The PTA gets credit for all the Volunteer Hours that are logged.

Daily Operation

Volunteers arrive and start setting up (the custodian will unlock the padlock before 8:15). Sometimes cars come while you’re setting up, so  it helps to have someone opening doors while the others are setting up. There are painted “x”s and “T”s marked on the street to help you   locate where the 3 signs & 7 cones should be placed.  The order is: 

“Drive Past/Drop Zone” sign at the corner of Diller & Coolidge (on manhole and “x”)

Large Orange Cones with smaller cones & poles underneath on “x”s  (7 total)

“Unload Here” sign opposite the back gate (on the “T”)

“No U Turns” sign centered on parked cars beside the street sign post (on the “T”)

There is also a caution tape that can be strung strung between the poles to discourage people from J-walking.  (do not do this if it is windy)

Open for Business : open the car doors, help children out with their backpacks (sometimes in the front seat or the trunk), close the doors, and help the children put on their backpacks if they need help

1st School Bell Rings

2nd School Bell Rings 

Put away the cones and signs and lock the bin. Don’t worry about opening doors after 8:48 – we do not want to encourage parents to be late! 

Recruiting Volunteers for “Drop Zone”

During the last week of school (or the week before) it has been tradition to set up a table with donuts & pastries, juice & the next-year’s sign up sheet, so that we can thank our current volunteers, and solicit new volunteers for the next year as they walk past.  We tell the kids that they can have a donut if they get their parents to sign up for next year.  Generally the Drop Zone co-ordinator organizes this and asks a few people to bring donations.

In August, everyone is emailed to verify that they can fulfill their commitment, and also reminded to make sure that they have a “back-up” person, whom they can call at the last minute if they are unable to make their shift. 

At the beginning of the year, the Room Parents are also asked to solicit their parents for Volunteers. All together, we need approx. 30 volunteers per year, if everyone does only one shift.

Things to be aware of when you working the Drop Zone:

Be sure to close the storage bin door while you’re working, so that children don’t play in there.

Stand close to the curb, so that the children walk behind you, next to the fence.

If your children want to keep you company, please have them stand behind the school fence.

Most mini-vans have automatic doors; wait a few beats to see if the driver moves to activate it  (if the handle is a different color, chances are it may be manual).

If you have to get a backpack out of the trunk or truck bed, make sure the children stay on the sidewalk and do not let them in the street with you.

The caution tape on the poles over the cones is meant to discourage people from crossing through the drop zone.   If you don’t put up the caution tape, please try to verbally discourage unsafe street crossing.

If it’s raining, the last person in the line should hold up the “slow down” sign, because fast cars will splash us.

There should be a copy of the key in the office, if the padlock has not been opened

There is a Storage Box in the bin, marked “Drop Zone”, with extra caution tape, cups, spray paint, and the sign-up sheets for next year, etc.

If you cannot make your shift, please send someone in your place, so that we are not short volunteers.

Don’t forget to log your PTA Volunteer Hours (approx. 19/year) in the binder in the Front Office.