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Project Appleseed Open House Ideas

How To Hold A Successful

School Open House Or Parent Night

Hosting a successful school open house or parent night is a great way to connect with the parents of your students, familiarize them with your teaching style and classroom, and let them know what you expect from their children in the coming year. Additionally, it's an excellent opportunity to get parents involved with the school and volunteering. However, since open houses and parent nights typically have limited time, it's important to plan ahead and make the most of the event.

Here are a few tips on how to host a successful parent night at your school:

  • Pick a theme: Parent nights are a great opportunity to share an important idea, goal, or aspect of your community with your students' families. Examples of themes may include Reading With Your Family, Music In Our Schools, International Food, or Technology in the Classroom.

  • Incorporating the "Red Carpet Treatment”: Enhance the success of your school open house or parent night. The Red Carpet Treatment is a concept that emphasizes treating all families with respect and hospitality, making them feel valued and appreciated. Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all families.

  • Have a Parent Engagement Pledge sign-up: Parents often want to volunteer but don't know how to go about it. Having them pledge a few hours of their time or sign up to help with a specific task or event while at a parent night is an ideal way to recruit help. 

  • Providing opportunities for families to learn and grow together: This can include workshops on topics such as parenting, literacy, and technology, as well as family literacy nights and other events.

  • Building partnerships between families, school, and community: This can include connecting families with local resources, such as libraries and community organizations, and encouraging families to become involved in school decision-making.

  • Display student art: Make your school warm and welcoming by displaying recent student art along hallways or by creating a mural in the school's lobby, lunchroom, gym, or auditorium.

  • Offer Guided tours: Parents will be more likely to visit their children's schools, visit with teachers, and become more involved if they know their way around the school's halls. As an alternative to a tour, send parents and children on scavenger hunts in which they visit all of the important places throughout the school.

  • Share teacher expectations: All too often, parents do not understand how a child's school day is structured or what skill level their children should achieve by the end of the academic year. A parent night is a prime opportunity to give an overview of your classroom environment and curriculum. Have sample textbooks, a sample schedule, or even a slide show or A Project Appleseed PowerPoint presentation of daily activities.

  • Avoid individual conversations about students: Parent night is not a parent-teacher conference, but rather a general welcome for everyone. If a parent would like to discuss their child with you in depth, set up a separate appointment for them in the coming weeks. Make sure every parent has your contact information.

  • Make sure parents know when the open house is: Perhaps the most important aspect of a successful open house is getting the parents in the door. Don't shy away from using several different modes of communication, including the school newsletter, emails, a website bulletin or even personal phone calls from teachers.

In summary, hosting a successful school open house or parent night requires planning and attention to detail, but it's well worth the effort to connect with parents, build a sense of community, and encourage parent involvement in the school. By picking a theme, having a Parent Engagement Pledge sign-up, displaying student art, offering guided tours, sharing teacher expectations, avoiding individual conversations about students, and making sure parents know when the open house is, you can create a memorable and engaging event for everyone.

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Hosting an open house on National Parental Involvement Day (Third Thursday in November) or Public School Volunteer Week (Third Full Week of April) can have several benefits.

  1. Increased attendance: National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week are recognized events and families may be more likely to attend an open house on these days because it is a designated time for parents to get involved in their child's education.

  2. Increased awareness: Holding an open house on National Parental Involvement Day or Public School Volunteer Week can help raise awareness about the importance of parental involvement in education and the role that volunteers play in the school community.

  3. Increased community support: By hosting an open house on these days, schools can show their commitment to parental involvement and volunteerism, which can help generate support and enthusiasm from the community.

  4. Increased opportunities for parent engagement: National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week provide the opportunity for schools to highlight the ways in which parents can be involved and engage with the school community.

  5. Increased opportunities for volunteer engagement: Public School Volunteer Week provides the opportunity for schools to highlight the volunteer opportunities available in the school and to recognize the contributions of current volunteers.

  6. Increased opportunities for recognition: National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week provides the opportunity for schools to recognize the efforts of parents and volunteers for their contributions to the school community.

Overall, hosting an open house on National Parental Involvement Day or Public School Volunteer Week can help to increase attendance, raise awareness, generate community support, and provide opportunities for parent and volunteer engagement and recognition.

Here are some of the best resources for creating an open house at the elementary, middle, and high school levels:

  1. TeacherVision, "Hosting a Successful Open House"

  2. Education World, "Top 8 Keys to a Great Parent Open House",

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