Community members got an opportunity to see the Santa Monica-Malibu schools in action during the first-ever Community Open House held during Public Schools Week, December 3-7.
All 17 of the School District’s campuses welcomed members of the community to meet principals, teachers, tour campuses, and ask questions. In an interview with the Mirror, Rebecca Kennerly, president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs, stated the District hopes the Community Open House will “become an annual event.” She also explained that the Council has joined with District parents, the Santa-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association (CTA), and the local branch of the non-classified staff’s union, SEIU, to form a partnership. The goal of the partnership, called World Class Public Schools, is to help improve communication between the District and the community.
Kennerly noted that this event is different than the traditional Back-To-School night, held in the fall, and Open House, a spring event, because those events are geared to the families of currently enrolled students rather than the community atlarge. She also mentioned that the partnership gave each school a template of suggestions of what should be included as part of the event, but each site had the opportunity to personalize their own Community Open House.
At Lincoln Middle School, community members got to tour the campus with either the principal or senior staff. Prior to the tour, opening remarks were made by the principal and Kennerly. Lincoln’s tour included visiting classrooms as well as the physical education facilities, and an opportunity to hear one of the orchestras rehearsing.
Santa Monica High School’s Open House was a little different because community members were offered the opportunity to listen to remarks from students in addition to the principal. The students also led the campus tours. Community members received a comprehensive hand-out that included, among other things, extensive information on the school’s academic offerings and school clubs. Of the two events attended by the Mirror, Samohi seemed to have a better turnout.
It appeared the majority of those who participated in both the Lincoln and Samohi Open Houses were parents of children who were interested in getting more information about the District’s schools for a variety of reasons. Some were checking out the schools to help them decide whether to send their children to District schools or to private school. Others attended because they had children who would be graduating from District elementary or middle schools and they wanted to know what to expect when their children enter middle or high schools.