Open House creates partnership

Published 5:14 pm Monday, September 18, 2017

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Excitedly, my elementary school teacher traced one classmate. We were amazed when he stood—and his outline remained on the paper.

“We’ll create paper patterns of the entire class,” my teacher said. “You’ll draw your face, hair and clothes on the pattern. We’ll tape your paper people onto your chairs. When your parents arrive for Open House, they’ll be amazed!”

At PHS Open House, Student Ambassadors, FBLA and Lit Mag Staffers also came out to assist. Three of the Lit Mag Staff assisting included Destiny Reid, Lupita Aguilar and Morgan Harris. (Contributed)

Our paper people captured my imagination and generated my life-long devotion to Open House.

PHS’s annual Open House begins with parents traveling their students’ eight period schedule. Parents quickly understand why kids are stressed with homework on Thursday nights and why they’re mentally and physically drained after having eight classes every Friday. Parents meet teachers they’ve heard about and develop new understanding of their children’s daily experiences.

“I enjoyed meeting the people that Abby talks about so much,” Lisa April, mother of a Pelham High School junior, said.

Experiencing the work students engage in at school cements the partnership between teachers and parents creating strong community schools where students thrive. While some students have families struggling with consuming issues, those parents able to engage in school enhance every child’s education. In our digital world, actually inviting parents into the school becomes a priority. Partnering with parents empowers teachers to offer students more opportunities.

“I work with Birmingham’s music industry,” junior Anna Carden’s mom said, “The skills your Lit Mag students have could lead to paid internships. I’m impressed with their design. Would you be interested in meeting to share ideas about paid internships for students?”

Oh yes, I’m interested! We will definitely have that meeting.

Promoting student opportunity and success begins with partnership. Experiencing classrooms and witnessing writing culminating in student success ranging from scholarships and contest victories to winning ACT scores, college hours earned and an impressive printed PHS Literary Magazine inspires confidence and excitement among parents just as students were inspired on the first day of school.

“Your classroom has a great atmosphere,” junior Makenzie Rollins said.

Teachers, students and their families joining forces create this atmosphere. We call it community. Students thrive here.