by Vinny Roca
This past Wednesday, September 12th, was Back to School Night here at Branford high school. Parents had the chance to not only see and walk the long journeys their student takes in between classes, but also to see who is actually teaching their students. The night was set up to foster a connection between the parents and the teachers to ensure that the parents understand who is teaching their students and what exactly the students are learning. When asked what her hopes were upon coming to back to school night, one parent said, “I came here not only because my daughter made me” she said jokingly, “but because I wanted to get a better understand of who my daughter is being influenced by each day, it makes me feel safe that I know now that all her teachers are wonderful.” She went on to explain that Back to School Night provides a great way for her and other parents to play a larger role in their children’s education by knowing about the teachers and what their expectations are.
The night put a strong influence on teacher- parent collaboration for the betterment of the students. When walking through classrooms throughout the night, one could see teachers and parents chatting and laughing as well as teachers “lecturing” parents on the importance that their children remain focused.Mrs. Elperina, who is always a big hit at Back to School Night for her “fun accent”, as one parent described it, was seenexplaining to the parents of her AP physics students theimportance of reading and dedication in such a challenging course. She is a prime example of great teacher-parent collaboration. She made sure that the parents understand that the course is challenging, but if parents notice that their child is struggling, there should be no hesitation to contact her. Her, and all the other teachers, spent Wednesday night dispelling all fears of parents by giving out email addresses and phone numbers the parents could use to contact the teacher.
The success of Back to School night was due to the efforts of many individuals. Current student played a big role in the success of the Night. Many students who take band classes here at the high school volunteered to play at corners of the building to lighten the mood of the evening. It provided a great background tone to the myriad of conversations going on throughout the school. The help of National Honor Society students also contributed to the success. They did many jobs including finding schedules for parents, greeting parents with maps and time schedules at all entrances, directing parents to different wings, and even escorting parent to those odd classrooms at the back of the library. Chase Fowler, a member of NHS noted that, “I can see standing up here [on senior balcony] which parents are going to have trouble getting to the right class. It’s usually the ones who keep spinning the map and looking at the walls to see which wing is which.” It was Chase’s job to ask parents if they needed help finding a class, and the answer was almost certainly yes. The efforts of NHS students allowed for a flow in the night, creating an evening that was beneficial for the parents, and ultimately for the students.
Overall, Back to School Night was a great representation of the overall effort of the Branford public school system to keep parents and teachers connected and collaborating to help with the success of their children’s education. Many, if not all, parents left, feeling a sense a security knowing that their children were in good hands during the school day.