Schools plan open houses for parents

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The dog days of summer don’t seem to want to turn over theirreign temperature-wise, but time dictates that it’s time for areachildren to head back to school.

With city and county schools opening their doors on Thursday, openhouses abound, and authorities are reminding parents it’s always agood idea to scope out their children’s environments.

“It’s just good for them to come out and meet the teachers soeveryone has a face to put with a name,” said Lincoln County SchoolDistrict Assistant Superintendent Letha Presley. “It’s nice to meetthem to know the type of person the teacher is, and see where thechild is going to be every day. It also makes the teacher feelbetter that the parent is in support of their child’seducation.”

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Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett agreed.

“Not only do we know from experience, but all research says thatwhen you have a parent who is involved in a child’s education, thechild will be more successful,” she said.

Lipsey Middle School Principal Rob McCreary said he sees thetransition from the elementary classrooms to the middle schoolhalls as an integral time in a child’s education, and encouragedparents to be present when Lipsey has its open house Wednesday from3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“Before now you’d have one or two teachers for the entire day, nowyou’re talking about bell to bell, six times your kids are moving,”he said. “With five teachers plus an activity, you could have sixor seven teachers in a day. This way parents can come look and geta good idea of what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, also in the city school district, Mamie MartinElementary School and Brookhaven Elementary School will hold theiropen houses on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m., while Alexander Junior HighSchool’s will be from 2-5 p.m. Brookhaven High School will open itsdoors to visitors from 4-6 p.m. on August 12.

In the county, Enterprise and West Lincoln will hold their openhouses on Tuesday, with Enterprise’s at 5 p.m. and West Lincoln’sat 5:30 p.m. Loyd Star will hold its next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.Bogue Chitto’s will be held Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Brookhaven Academy officials said they will hold a “New FamilyBarbecue Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the school, since their first dayis Aug. 11. In addition, orientation will be held from 8-12 a.m.that day, with their open house to be held Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.

Barrett said the success of any school district is directly tied tohaving an involved community, which is what makes an open houseimportant.

“We are as good as we are because we have parents that care.Transparency is important to us, and the more we let parents knowwhat we’re doing, that builds a trust relationship and that’s whatwe want to do,” she said. “When a parent feels a sense of trust,that communicates to the child. It’s cyclical and builds uponitself.”

Meanwhile, teachers in the county reported back to school onMonday, and teachers in the city will come back on Wednesday.

Presley said the county schools are geared up and ready for thechildren to return, and that knowing the parents are on board toocan make all the difference in the world to the teachers.

“We just want to hit the ground running and try to do the best wecan for our kids,” she said. “I think once the parents meet theteachers it makes the whole educational process run smoother, it’svery important for a parent to be involved in child’seducation.”

McCreary said his teachers are also ready to go.

“It seems like we start earlier and earlier every year, but we’reexcited and getting everything all ready,” he said.

Barrett said that starting early will push the calendar up sochildren won’t have to return to school and then take exams on thesemester that has passed after Christmas.

“I think it was a terribly short summer, and we all hate that, butthe law says students have to go to school 180 days,” she said.”We’re trying to have the first 90 days in before Christmas.”

Still, parents need to remember that the change in schedule can betaxing on a child, especially when summer is still in fullswing.

“It’s going to be hot,” she said. “They just might need to be awarethat it is hot, and when the kids get home, they’re going to betired and cranky.”