Tips for an Organized Dismissal Time

Organization has never been my strength as a teacher…(it’s a rare day when my desk isn’t covered in papers)…but every year I get a little bit better about it.  It only took me 6 years to get my dismissal routine organized in a way I am happy with! 

I’m not sure how dismissal works at other schools but at my school students are dismissed from homeroom one bus at a time (always in the same order), then car riders, then extended day students, and then clubs.  I’m responsible for making sure my homeroom students leave the classroom at the appropriate time.

I always take a couple of minutes on the first day to ask students how they typically go home (which bus they are on, if they are a car rider or walker, etc.)  I record this information on the following chart, which I keep in my teacher binder.   (You can download it free by clicking the picture below).

student transportation

Students are required to bring in notes if they are going home a different way on any given day, so I get a bunch of notes each day.  This is where my organization fell apart…until I figured out the following system a couple of years ago:

  • I make a typical dismissal list on the left side of a piece of paper.  I list each bus in the order they are called, car riders, and extended day.  Under each one, I list the students who typically go home that way.
  • I title the right side of the paper “changes” and leave it blank.
  • I have an awesome 2-pocket folder with a clear-view cover that I got from Staples a few years ago.  I slide my Dismissal sheet in the cover spot of that folder.
  • When I collect change of dismissal notes in the morning I write the changes on the cover with a dry-erase marker.  If the note applies to more than just one day (i.e. “Susie will be car rider today and tomorrow”) I stick the note in one of the pockets in the folder so I have it for the next day.
  • I keep a monthly calendar of after school clubs/activities in the other pocket, along with a list of who in my class is in each club.  If I have students going to a club one day, I record that on my “changes” list for the day, as well.
Organized Dismissal Folder Dry Erase Changes| Math in the Middle Blog
Cover of my Dismissal Folder


Organized Dismissal Folder Dry Erase Changes| Math in the Middle Blog
Inside of my Dismissal Folder

At the end of the day, I grab my folder and am ready to monitor dismissal and make sure everyone is leaving when they should be.  I simply wipe off the changes each day and write the new changes…simple and effective!

You can download the FREE monthly calendar (weekdays only) I use to record after-school activities by clicking the picture below.


 Thanks for reading,


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