Open House format changes improve parent experience

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Photo by Lexis Viena

Parents checked into the annual high school open house on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Changes this year included a different dinner menu and a different way of meeting with teachers.

By Lexis Viena, staff writer

PUKALANI-According to a sampling of parents and students, the new relaxed style of this year’s August 28 open house was a success.

The high school open house started as it has in previous years, with parents checking in for dinner and and information at Keʻeaumokupāpāiaheahe at 5:00 p.m.

For the past two years, the dining hall has served spaghetti and salad for dinner, but dinner was lighter this year, consisting of fruit, vegetables, pork hash, and shrimp. Some parents were thrilled at the change, but others weren’t. One wrote that it was more like “…pupus, not dinner.”

At 6:00, Kahu Kalani Wong officially started open house with a blessing, followed a quick promotion of Ke Kūʻono, the school store, by seniors Shikara Fitzsimmons, Tatiana Kealiʻinohomoku, and Shanise Kaʻaikala. Ke Kūʻono had re-opened the day before, and open house guests received $1 coupons for the store.

Nine\Ten Principal Lance Cagasan welcomed parents and students and explained the new format. Parents would meet as a group with their child’s foundation or academy teachers first,  and after the initial 30 minutes, parents were free to roam from class to class at their own pace and according to their own interests for the next hour.

During the half hour meeting, foundation teachers talked about what they cover in their classes, and academy teachers talked about internship, Hōʻike Nui, and academy requirements and offerings.

“I think going into the academies first is a good idea because it gives parents the feeling of the classes that their children are taking,” junior Lily Higashino said. She was one of the many National Honor Society leaders posted around campus to guide lost parents.

Last year, parents had a set schedule designed for visiting all of their students’ classes for the first semester, both even and odd, within about an hour and a half. This year, after foundation and academy meetings, parents could see whichever teacher they wanted, whenever and for however long. This included stopping in to meet second semester teachers, and allowed for parents to leave when they felt that they’d seen and heard enough.

Ms. Dancine Takahashi, parent of junior Hayden Takahashi, said she has been attending open house for over five years and that she enjoyed the new format.

“I kind of like the interaction with other parents, it’s a good way to meet new people, and you can visit classes at your own pace,” she said.

Math teacher Mrs. Brandy Cajudoy said, “It’s nicer this way. I’m not rushing through a PowerPoint, and parents are less pressured to visit every single class.”

While the dinner received mixed reviews on the parent survey forms, the format received high marks, and one parent wrote that it was “an informative evening.”