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Friday, September 30, 2011

Open House Opened Up

The attendance of parents at this year's series of Open House events at The Heatly School increased by approximately 50% compared to figures from last year. That difference can be viewed as an indicator of progress toward a goal of constructing a bridge between home and school in an effort to engage parents as partners in education.

Hopefully, the upsurge in parents visiting the school can be attributed to renewed interest in the people, programs, and practices that have evolved over the last year. Maybe the higher numbers reflect higher levels of support and commitment. Maybe television programs on those nights were just unappealing or re-runs. More than likely it was a combination of the above AND because of the staff members who went the extra mile and personally called parents and extended invitations to attend Open House. The refreshments were well received (I volunteered to taste test several cookies to make sure they were good enough for the public - it's a sacrifice I make for the good of the school!!) The door prizes didn't hurt either. Nor did the form and direction of the opening remarks and presentation by the building administrators. Not only was there a clear focus but the set-up in the gymnasium was much more welcoming and conducive to an accommodating spirit.

Hopefully, we can take advantage of the momentum fueled by the success of Open House this year and build a platform for future interactions by nurturing the relationship with parents. Maintaining a bridge between home and school constructed on communication, mutual respect, and trust is critical. We have expanded our formal communication apparatus to include our quarterly newsletters in print, a continuously updated district website, School News Notifier, Facebook, this daily Blog, and now - Twitter. Together they represent a comprehensive system for reaching out to parents to bring them into the school.

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