Virtual Open Houses Scheduled for Aug. 12-14
AUGUST 4, 2020 – To make sure that families won’t have scheduling conflicts, open houses for elementary, middle and high schools are scheduled for different days.
The elementary school open house is Wednesday Aug. 12.
The middle school open house is Thursday Aug. 13.
The high school open house is Friday Aug. 14.
With at least the first nine weeks of school being virtual, all open houses will be virtual as well.
Deputy Superintendent Tricia McManus and other administrators gave schools such guidelines as making sure that open house includes the information that families need to get the school year off to a successful start and to be clear about expectations for each student in remote learning.
They also urged schools to make open house as engaging as possible.
Beyond that, they gave schools wide latitude when it came to how they would reach out to families.
“Do it any way you want to get kids excited about returning to schools,” McManus said. “Each school is designing their own way.”
Schools are scheduling open houses for different times during the day and working to connect with parents and students in a variety of ways. Some schools are also scheduling additional events. At some schools, parents will have the opportunity to speak individually by video to a particular teacher.
By the time school starts, families will know what each student needs for each class and will have connected virtually with teachers and others at the school.
McManus knows that many students wish they would be able to attend school in person.
“Kids miss their teachers and their administrators and their coaches,” she said.
The week of Aug. 3, each school is sending out details for that school’s activities to families.
Here are some of the ways different schools are approaching open house and related events:
At Reagan High, principal Brad Royal and others working on the open house asked each teacher to create a video that welcomes students and families to the teacher’s class and includes the information they need, such as contact information, directions on how to navigate the teacher’s page, what hours the teacher will be available if a parent needs to get in touch, and what materials the student will need to have at home.
The idea, Royal said, is to give parents and students a sense that they have walked into a virtual classroom.
Reagan will also have a separate orientation for freshmen.
“It helps us with that relationship building which is extremely important,” Royal said.
On another day – Aug. 21 – Reagan is having a live meet-the-teacher event.
“Parents can just drop in (virtually) during a two-hour window,” Royal said. “Parents have a chance to drop in and say hello.”
Shane O’Neal, who is the principal at Jefferson Middle, passed along the email about orientation and open house that is going out to Jefferson families:
“This year at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, we are Unlocking Your Future!”
“The Patriot Family will be exploring choices to unlock their future by completing Escape Room challenges throughout the school year. We wanted to bring that same exploration and excitement to our Virtual Orientation and Open House. Therefore, all Patriots are invited to complete a Virtual Orientation, with a twist.”
“During this time of uncertainty and remote learning, we want to spark creativity for our academic village. Throughout the orientation, Patriots will be faced with Escape Room challenges to move through the TJMS Orientation. The Patriot family may enter the orientation Escape Room any time after 8am on Thursday, August 13th. Patriot family members will be able to access the orientation Escape Room by going to the Thomas Jefferson Middle School homepage and clicking on the Open House tab at the top of the page.”
“During the evening of Thursday, August 13, we will hold a LIVE Virtual Open House, where students and parents will be able to meet their teachers and ask questions. The LIVE Virtual Open House will take place from 5:30-7:30pm. Parents may submit questions to their student’s team before the LIVE Virtual Open House by following the information on the TJMS website or they may submit questions to their teachers during the LIVE sessions. Any questions that are not answered during the LIVE sessions, will be nswered in writing and placed on the teacher’s Canvas page in ‘Frequently Asked Questions.’”
“To attend the LIVE Virtual Open House, families can follow the link to your student’s Learning Team, which will be available on the Open House tab of the Jefferson Middle School page.”
LeDuan Pratt, the new principal at Glenn High, had this to say:
“Glenn plans on welcoming students hopefully in a way that makes students feel as though they are not missing anything but the crowded hallways.”
“Our teachers are each making individual recordings which will allow students and parents to gain some insight about the teacher and the classes and activities that they are involve with at Glenn.”
”Some departments have also chosen to make a departmental video as well. This has become a fun, healthy competition of sorts among the staff. We will use the videos as a way to introduce ourselves asynchronously and it will be set up in a way that students and parents can control how long they want to "visit" teachers in the school.”
“We also plan to have a synchronous Open House where teachers will be available for a live discussion. We plan to follow a schedule to simulate the ‘daily schedule’ of four periods. All staff members will have some form of video, including the administrators, support staff – counselors, etc. – and secretaries.”
“We even have former students that have recorded something for us. We hope that this will make our new and veteran Glenn High School students feel welcome and like they were able to learn something about their teachers and staff.
“Who knows, people may like this better since they can choose a time that works best for their family's lifestyle, no crowded hallways, and best of all no looking for a parking spot!”
And freshmen will receive special attention.
“We have a portion especially set aside for our freshman as part of our Freshman Orientation,” Pratt said.
“That will be a separate series of videos and activities.”