Tahlequah Daily Press

August 13, 2013

Summer socializing

Tahlequah Public Schools hosted open houses Monday for students and parents.

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

Tahlequah Public Schools’ begin the new academic year on Wednesday, and as a warm-up for 2013-14, the district held its annual “Summer Socials” for students and parents at each of its schools.

During the socials, students who do not already have copies of their class schedules may pick them up, and Johnson-O’Malley Act supplies are disbursed.

Nick Zodrow, economics teacher and head baseball coach at Tahlequah High School, said the Summer Socials serve an important function.

“They help students and parents can meet their teachers and get to know them,” he said. “Here at the high school, I believe it is probably most important for the freshmen. I really think their first day of school shouldn’t be their first day in the building. Without coming in and seeing our faces and finding their way around the school, the first day of classes will be even more chaotic for them.”

Bart Frank, a psychology and government teacher at the high school, agreed that incoming freshmen probably benefit most from the social.

“Most of my students are ninth-graders,” he said. “It is good to get the face time with the students and their parents before we get the ball rolling in the classroom.”

Kristen Hughes’ daughter, Kylie Hix, enters the sixth grade on Wednesday.

“This will be my first year of dealing with six teachers,” Hughes said. “This will be a lot to keep up with. She doesn’t know this building. This is her first year to have a locker where she keeps her supplies. There are more activities to get involved with.”

Hughes said it was important to establish a rapport with her daughter’s instructors as the school year approaches.

“I know what the teachers’ expectations are when I need to drop in and talk with them – whether there are ways I can help her, or whether she has homework,” Hughes said.

From the perspective of the teachers, many say they want a line of communication with their students’ parents.

Debbie Rader teaches short-term remediation in multiple subjects at Tahlequah Middle School. Her class is known as the “Rebound Room.”

“The most important thing for a lot of us is that we make that connection in the home,” Rader said. “It familiarizes you with the parents and you can talk with them over the course of the year about the needs of their student.”

Rader said students must make many adjustments when moving from elementary to middle school.

“They have more teachers and are moving from room to room,” she said. “It is a big leap for them because it isn’t as structured and they have to do a lot on their own. They aren’t marched around the building to where they need to be.”

Hughes said the social is as much preparation for the parents as the students.

“I don’t know what sixth-grade requirements are,” she said. “I want to ask her teachers is whether she is turning in her homework. If not, how will I know that? I want to know how they will communicate that with me, rather than me getting a call from the principal’s office saying she is in trouble because she hasn’t turned in homework for the last six days.”

“Which won’t happen,” her daughter added.