Back to School night opens the lines of communication

Like buying school supplies, Back to School night is synonymous with the opening of a new school year.

Like buying school supplies, Back to School night is synonymous with the opening of a new school year.

On Monday, Sept. 12, Bonnie Branch Middle School, in Ellicott City, held its Back to School night in a 90-minute effort to get families familiar with classroom curriculum, teacher expectations and promote parent involvement.

Both staff and parents agreed it provides a meaningful opportunity to meet the other.

"It opens the lines of communication and sets expectations for the classroom," said Spanish teacher Alba Rivera, of Columbia.

"It's also an opportunity to put a face to a name," said physical education teacher Marci Smit, of Mount Airy. "It's usually a full house and allows us to welcome the community back into the school year."

The evening, which also featured the annual Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit Parent Orientation, World Language Parent Meeting and the G/T Parent Meeting prior to the start of the PTA meeting, aimed to provide parents an insight to their student's daily routine.

Parents visited their student's homeroom for 30 minutes and watched greetings from various departments via closed circuit television, and then followed their student's schedule. The seven minutes the teachers had with each period of parents allowed them to review their subject's curriculum.

Eighth-grade geometry and pre-algebra teacher Nga Clark, of Columbia, said the night is especially important for sixth-grade parents, who are very anxious about their child being in middle school for the first time and having to deal with lockers.

Trisha Montgomery, of Ellicott City, was exactly the type of parent Clark was referring to.

Attending Back to School night at the middle school level for the first time, Montgomery hoped to gain a better understanding of the difference between elementary and middle school. Her daughter, Sarah, 11, is in the sixth grade.

"I also wanted to meet the different teachers and learn their styles and how they're helping my child become independent and more responsible," she said.

Ronna Korotkon, of Ellicott City, had been through it once before since her son Daniel is now in the seventh grade.

"I enjoyed meeting the teachers," she said, although she felt the seven minutes allotted for each class period was a bit short. "I want to know what they're learning and how to get in touch with the teachers. I really wanted to just meet the teachers, sit in the desks and have my child's point of view in class."

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