By JESSICA KRAMPE
It’s the time of year for school buses and armloads of books, and West Junior High School is ready.
With an ice cream social, an informational assembly and a run-through of students’ schedules, “Back-to-School Night” on Thursday provided a meet-and-greet for students, parents and teachers alike.
“I hope to take out that she’ll connect with teachers and have a great experience,” said Chris Mills, whose daughter, Samantha, is in eighth grade at West Junior High.
The cafeteria bustled with students mingling and parents clutching class schedules and school maps, some holding ice cream sandwiches. With a record number of attendees, the crowd spilled out into the gymnasium and down the hallways. The event tally was 369 parents, up from 344 last year, 129 students and 68 other guests. The total was 566, up from 510 last year.
Sandra Logan, principal of West Junior High, welcomed the attendees during the assembly portion of the night. Logan encouraged parents to get involved in the school and to voice any concerns they might have throughout the year.
“We want you to be involved as partners in your student’s educational experience with West Junior High,” she said.
After the assembly, parents were dismissed to follow their student’s “B” day schedule. They attended shortened class periods to gain perspective into their student’s school life and to learn about each class.
“(The event) benefits teachers and parents with face-to-face communication,” said Sarah Gerling, who teaches theater, debate and film studies at West Junior High.
Gerling explained that as the students get older, it becomes more difficult to maintain those connections. Back-to-school nights help create a relationship beyond school.
It is exciting to have a new group of students each year, Gerling said.
“I see the glimmers and potential,” she said. “That’s the cool part, to see the possibilities.”
The teachers are not the only ones who value this night. Students walked through the hallways chattering with anticipation, their parents following closely.
“I really like seeing my teachers outside of class,” eighth-grader Sierra Westphal said.
If you missed the back-to-school night, “Day Open House” is on Thursday, Nov. 4, during school hours.