Well, we did it. We changed something. Whoa. Open house is normally 5:00-8:00 and parents come and go as they please. It's usually on the same night as all the other Open House nights in the county. I found that to be a busy night of parents wanting to ask questions of certain teachers and other teachers never seeing them. Sometimes the line outside doors would be 30 minutes long, but it was an unproductive night. I wanted parents to meet ALL the teachers and hear ALL of their stories. So, I made a change. Boy, was it a scary change! You don't know how much people are against change until you change something. But my thoughts are if it's best for the students I'm going to make that change. I may fall flat on my face but I'm going for it anyway.
So the change was made. I have a super supportive superintendent who allows me to have crazy ideas. Thank goodness for that. I have a staff of amazing teachers willing to try crazy ideas. Thank goodness for that. I have an assistant principal willing to do whatever I come up with. Thank goodness for that. As a faculty we brainstormed about things to talk about in the time they had. Here are some things they came up with:
* do a bell ringer
* go over class procedures
* go over discipline plan
* show books or texts using in class
* show how to use the starboard
* show about Google forms, email, and Mac Books
* in PE show the fitness tests
* in cheer show how they work out
* anything else you come up with
So the time came. As parents started piling in I felt that small need to vomit - hehe - but I didn't. At 6:30 I dismissed all "students" to the classes. I made announcements just like we do every morning. We even did the school mission statement and pledge. I explained how the night would go. Then it was time to begin. The teachers were on. It was time to "teach" the parents. It was great. They were a little nervous at first but then something amazing happened. They just took over and did what they do best. I was so proud of them. You know, teaching a child is one thing, teaching a parent is a whole different thing. They are the best faculty in the world.
I rang the bell after 5 minutes, told them to go to 2nd period, and gave them the full 3 minutes between classes. I wanted parents to see how long they really had between classes and that it was plenty of time to use the bathroom and go to the locker. Then I rang the tardy bell. During this period my teachers continue to be amazing. We continued to ring the bell and send them to each class as the night went on.
One thing we noticed as the night went on was that the classes were not long enough, so we extended them to 10 minutes. This included the time between classes. That gave the teachers enough time to explain everything. Another change we will make for next year is that for parents with multiple children. We will split time time to 5th/6th grade from 5:30-6:30 and 7th/8th grade from 6:30-7:30. That way those parents can spend the whole night in one grade and not have to move between grades.
I am so happy we made the change. I feel it was best for the kids and their parents. It was to be a fun filled night for parents to enjoy "A Day in the Life" of their child. I hope we succeeded in that and helped them enjoy their child's real day.