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Considering an Open House
Before School Begins
Next Year


Give students and parents an opportunity to meet teachers the day before school officially begins. An "open house" provides this opportunity to become a little familiar with the daily routine. (Beth Burt)

Perhaps a local organization or business will be willing to sponsor a before-school-starts hot dog roast. Principal Larry Davis says a local church organizes a special hot-dog social for new parents and students to his school. The event, held several days before the start of school, provides new parents an opportunity to meet their child's teacher, tour the school, and be entertained by the church choir. Then, the day before school starts, an orientation is held for all parents. A follow-up open house is scheduled for a couple of weeks later.

At a before-school-starts hot dog roast, principal Marcia Wright suggests that you might consider running a scavenger hunt for new students. "Each child gets a sheet with questions on it. They are teamed with veteran students who assist them in finding things or locations around the school. At each destination, the new student gets a signature from the staff person in charge of the area. The student also receives a little prize such as a ruler, stickers, or pencils. The scavenger hunt is a fun way for new students to tour the school."

At principal Doug Fiore's school, an open house is held during the week before the start of school. "This is a non-structured, free exchange between families and staff members. We include students so they meet their teacher for the first time with their parents by their side." The PTA sets up tables so families can sign up for committees and purchase school spirit wear. A back-to-school night will be held about three weeks after school begins; that is the time when teachers present an overview of the year and their expectations."

Two days before the start of school, a meet-the-teacher ice cream social is held at principal Lolli Haws' school. Teachers have their rooms ready before this event. This is a chance for students, parents, and teachers to meet face-to-face. Kids find their classrooms and even see their desks. "It's a very popular event. It also helps keep curious and anxious kids and parents from dropping by at the school all during August. It gives teachers time to prepare their classrooms without the interruptions caused when kids and parents show up one by one."

Take Five more to read this entire article from Education World's "Principal Files" series:
"Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'"

Looking for more ideas for getting the school year off to a great start? Be sure to check out Education World's Back to School theme page.