Over 250 parents filled the classrooms and lined the corridors of the Daniel Webster School on Sept. 30 for the annual Back to School Night.
Back to School Night allows for a sort of “meet and greet” between parents and teachers, and also allows them to go through the curriculum together so parents can see exactly what their kids will be doing during the course of the year. Parents can also sign up for conferences to talk with their child’s teacher individually.
“[It] was really a great success,” said Principal Anthony Colasurdo. “It’s just indicative of a brand new interest in Webster School.”
Webster welcomed 35 new students to their classrooms this year, bringing the total school population to approximately 390.
With the additional student population, Colasurdo said he has also seen an increase in the amount of parent involvement for school activities.
“I’d like to hope that people are hearing good things about Webster School and know it’s a good place to send their kids.” – Anthony Colasurdo
Kerrin Burke, who has taught at Webster for 14 years, sees a very special side of Back to School Night – she teaches kindergarten, which for many parents and children is their first foray into the school environment.
“I like Back to School Night because we have such young children,” said Burke. “Parents are giving us their greatest asset and they don’t know us. I think it’s a really nice way for parents to come in and get to see the classroom and see the teacher and know that the teacher is a nice person that cares about their child.”
Burke said that while the evening allows parents to feel comfortable, it also helps teachers by opening up a line of communication.
And with better rapport, she said, there’s more likely to be better assistance from parents when it’s needed later in the year.
She added that the night is also important because it allows parents to lay fears to rest about whether their children are getting too much or not enough academic instruction in their early years of school.
Some that assume that kindergarten teachers spend all day finger painting may be surprised to learn that Burke actually goes through a 430-page math book as part of the curriculum.
But all fun is not lost – when the kindergartners go through their writing word list, the finger paints do get to come out.
“I have a fabulous class this year,” said Burke. “I’m just looking forward to enjoying them and doing a lot with them. They seem very motivated and excited about school.”
Special care for special needs
An additional Back to School night was held for students that participate in ESL (English as a Second Language) and Basic Skills Math, Reading, and Writing classes.
Instead of trying to pack everything into one evening, Burke said that for the past few years, Webster has held an additional night for parents of students in these programs in order to address expectations and questions in private meetings.
“It’s nice because parents get an overview of how their child receives help, and they can continue that at home,” said Burke.
Also, Colasurdo said the school tries to work around all parent’s schedules to facilitate any additional meetings, and that parents of children at the pre-k and kindergarten level, especially, are welcome to come into the school anytime during the year.
Staying in touch through the year ahead
Parents are encouraged to stay in touch with their child’s teacher as well as the events at Webster throughout the year by getting involved with the Parent Teacher Participating Association (PTPA).
The next meeting of the PTPA will be held on Oct. 14. For more information, contact the school at (201) 422-6150.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.