School reaches out to families

FAIRMONT – Students returning to Fairmont’s junior and senior high school might be inclined to put off Thursday’s open house, opting to trust their familiarity with the building.

But with an entirely new administration at the school, families are encouraged to attend the restructured event.

According to Principal Kim Niss, open houses once were a simple but useful night to find classrooms and figure out schedules.

This year, however, administrators will open with a half-hour presentation to families, including introductions and a description of educational philosophy.

After opening comments, students and parents can attend one of two breakout sessions.

Seventh- and eighth-grade orientation will take place, along with a technology presentation, with information on the district’s new BYOT program. BYOT, or Bring Your Own Technology, allows 11th- and 12th-graders the option of choosing the netbook they have been using since ninth grade, or using their own device during school.

Niss said students using their own computers are expected to have certain programs installed, something that will be addressed during the session.

Following those two gatherings, there will be a chance for students and parents to learn about Skyward, a program that offers online access to students’ progress and grades.

Assistant Principal Jamie Goebel noted that the open house does conflict will several sports activities planned for the same night.

But the idea of restructuring the event is to drive home the administration’s focus on collaboration between educators and parents.

“We want that home-to-school connection,” Niss said.

Niss said only the 1-to-1 presentation will be repeated at another date. All other sessions will not be rescheduled.

The open house will be 6-8 p.m. Thursday, beginning in the Performing Arts Center at the school. The 1-to-1 makeup night will be 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in the school’s media center.