Open House Checklist

Open House is a great time to meet parents and students and set the tone for the school year.  However, because it falls during that precious week before school starts, it is easy to get distracted. Avoid hosting another less than spectacular Open House by using a checklist!  

First, it is important to understand what it is that you want to accomplish at your open house.  For me, this is a time to start putting names to faces, learning about students and their families , and discovering a bit about the student's personalities.  This is all very helpful when I put together my seating chart (which I usually do shortly after Open House.)

1.  Setting up the Room

I teach a variety of studio classes, so I usually set up one table for each class.  I put up a sign at each table, and lay out examples of student work from that class.  I put up a roster on the table and ask students to mark their names off, so that I have a record of who came to open house.  This also gives the students a chance to look through the roster and see if they have any buddies in the class.

2.  Sign-in Sheet

Near the door, I leave out a sign-in sheet for parents.  I collect the parents names and contact information.   When the event is over, I'll go through the list, trying to recall the conversations I had with each parent.  I ask myself: 

  • Who would be good to call for a chaperone for our Field Trip? I'm looking for parents who have flexible schedules and a friendly demeanor

  • Who mentioned that they have materials to donate?

  • Who seemed concerned about how their child will adjust to high school (for Freshman) or to a new school (moved from out of town). Can I remember where they moved from

Simply by spending some quiet time with this list, I am able to remember more about each student and family, which is often a huge leg up as I build relationships with students.

3.  Slide show

Put together a slideshow that promotes your program.  Rather than present the show, I usually keep it playing on continuos at a low level while families filter in.  This leaves me free to have conversations with each family, and those who are waiting for their turn with me are learning about our art program.  The slide show I used this year was put together by a colleague to promote AP Art History.  It had tons of pics and an inspirational sound track... think movie trailer.  Putting together a movie trailer for your Art program would make a fantastic end of the year project for students!

4.  Checklist for Parents

At Open Houses, parents want to 

  • meet teachers

  • help their students get comfortable and be familiar with the "lay of the land"

  • learn what materials and / or fees are required for each class

To communicate this last point to parents, I provide a checklist.  It looks like this:

Screenshot 2018-09-25 03.01.57.png

I hope this helps! Walking away from a great Open House is a wonderful way to start your year off right.

Helen LoweryComment