Chris Scott stood patiently Saturday morning waiting to speak to her daughter’s seventh-grade teacher.
Scott’s daughter, Zayla Scott, 12, pointed out her desk and explained the meaning of the displays around the classroom.
The mother and daughter were attending the second Dutchtown Middle School Saturday open house, a three-hour meet-and-greet for the school’s 860-plus students, their parents and faculty.
Scott said she preferred the relaxed atmosphere of the Saturday open house over the hectic after-school events she’s previously attended.
That’s just the point of moving the traditional start-of-school function from a weeknight to a Saturday, said Principal Doug Walker.
Walker got the idea of a Saturday open house more than two yeas ago when he attended a Saturday open house for his niece in Shreveport.
“It was not rushed, and they had music, food and a chance to meet people,” he said. “I thought, ‘We can do that.’ ”
And that’s just what the school did last year.
“Parents and teachers seemed to like it, so it’s back,” said Walker, who has been principal since 2003.
In the past, the school, which has sixth through eighth grades, had to host three separate open houses after school. Parents and their children would get 10 minutes in each class.
There was little time for individual questions and many working parents had a difficult time attending, Walker said.
“It was hectic ... and traffic was an issue,” Walker said of the past open houses.
On Saturday, while parking spots were difficult to find, parents visited the classrooms and toured the school at their own pace.
“It’s a more friendly way to do things,” Walker said.
Sixth-grade math and science teacher Angele Ourso said the Saturday event “has more of a community feel.”
“We’ve got more time to meet the parents, answer their questions,” Ourso said.
In the school’s media center, parents watched a short video on the school’s one-to-one technology program, which provides iPads to students, and the band played in the gym.
Hot dogs and snacks were handed out and the cheerleaders performed.
“And some lucky parents went home with door prizes,” Walker said.