Parkrose ‘Back to School’ night a success

See how the administration of Parkrose High School got families to come in and meet their student’s teachers, and become more involved in the school. And, discover how the “School Improvement Plan” there is helping freshmen turn into graduating seniors …

Roy Reynolds says he looks forward to a successful school year at Parkrose High.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In past years, the turnout for Parkrose High School’s “Back to School Night” – a time when parents are encouraged to come to the campus and informally meet with their kids teachers – was often poor.

“This year, we did it a little differently,” reports principal Roy Reynolds. “We offered a community dinner. To better form a community of education, we’re creating a feeling of community by ‘breaking bread’ together.”

Pitching Bronco shirts are Parkrose High students Derek Herman, Jr, Hang Nguyen, and Toyin Oyemaja.

During the spaghetti dinner, the school’s great jazz band plays, families and students mingle around tables in the atrium, Reynolds speaks briefly, and the families are sent off to meet – and “make a connection” with – teachers throughout the school.

This year’s focus
“We’ve been working on providing a rigorous education,” says Reynolds. “But another topic is the ‘support part’ of education. One can stress rigor – but if you don’t support it – you’re not there.

“Our School Improvement Plan is focusing on ninth graders. For students who aren’t making the grade, we have planned a series of interventions. We want to get any struggling freshmen back on track.”

These interventions, Reynolds explains, might include mandatory tutoring either during or after school.

“Tutoring will no longer be optional. If you leave it up to the struggling student, we’re indicating to them that extra learning experiences aren’t really important.

“We’re not requiring this because we’re upset at them – it is because we want our freshmen to become seniors, and graduate. Their freshman year sets up their whole high school career.”

Instructor — and director of Parkrose High’s renowned choral program — Lesley Bossert confers with parents and students during Back-to-School night.

Was the evening a success? Reynolds says he thinks so. And, judging from the full parking lots – and the cars lining NE Shaver Street – we’d agree!

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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