LAKE JACKSON —Carolyn Ross stopped the sixth grader scurrying past her in the hallway Thursday with his parents in tow.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me?” the Rasco Middle School choir teacher asked with a laugh, extending her hand to the boy’s mother.

It was parent/teacher orientation night at Rasco Middle School, a requisite for all campuses that receive Title 1 funding. Orientation doesn’t differ much from the traditional open house format — which Brazosport ISD campuses typically host in the spring — except that the teachers rotate rooms instead of the students and their parents, providing a more centralized location for all the information they need to convey.

“It’s good for them to not have to go to a zillion different places,” art teacher Kathryn Baldwin said.

Both parent-teacher orientations and open houses are essential to students of all ages, Baldwin said, but particularly for middle school students already in a state of transition.

“It’s hard for kids this age. They’re not at the elementary anymore with teachers their parents were familiar with,” Baldwin said. “It’s an adjustment.”

Sixth graders lined up outside Brittney Dreamer’s classroom, waiting for their turn to get a moment with their language teacher. Mia Hawkins, 11, excitedly nudged her mother Ayisha, eager to introduce her to Dreamer. Mia particularly was excited about Dreamer’s policy on loaning books to her students.

“I buy books all the time. If it takes them eight weeks to read them, that’s fine,” Dreamer told parents.

Mia is the kind of student to incessantly talk about her teachers, so her mother thought it was important to establish a personal relationship with them. Ayisha Hawkins said she makes it a point to communicate with her children’s teachers each year, and open houses provide an opportunity to do so.

“I go every year so when she talks about her teachers, I can put a name to the face. It builds a relationship so that way if I have questions, they’re more approachable,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins also appreciated the insight into her daughter’s daily classroom procedures, she said.

“Now that they’ve been in for awhile, it’s nice to see their routine,” she said.

Where Open House nights ease the transition for middle schoolers, they also set an important precedence for elementary students, said Lee Ann Wiseman, a second-grade teacher at Southside Elementary in Angleton.

“I personally believe that, first of all, it shows the children their parents feel school is very important, and it also gives parents an opportunity to come into our classroom and see what kind of resources we have, the techniques and materials we’re using, and the technology provided here at Southside as well as how they can help their children at home,” Wiseman said. “It’s very important to build that teacher-parent relationship.”

With the elementary school’s Open House on the horizon, Wiseman said her students’ excitement is building.

“The children get so excited when their parents come up to school and see the work they’re working on and where they sit. They give them tours of the classroom and take them out to the gym and music room,” Wiseman said. “We were handing out notes and the excitement level in the classroom just rose when they were thinking their parents get to come up here.”

Erinn Callahan is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0150.

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