The bell sounds, marking the end of class, and halls flood with . . . parents? At the annual Back to School Night (BTSN) parents attend classes just like their children in order to meet their student’s teachers, Aug. 19.

This year, BTSN has been split into two different nights. Junior high and high school parents met with parents Aug. 19 while elementary parents are slated to meet faculty, Aug. 20. The goal of BTSN is to bridge the gap between parents and teachers, creating opportunity for new relationships, better communication and unity as a school family.

As a teacher and now Principal, Todd Bennett has attended about 26 back to school night events. Bennett feels that the opportunities that this night brings out are crucial to the unity of the school community.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for parents to get to know teachers, to know their programs and expectation,” Bennett said. “So often if parents aren’t in communication with teachers then they don’t know how much work their kid is doing. They don’t know how much they need to study, or what the grading policies are.”

For new teachers, like science teacher Karen Walters, BTSN is a treat where she is able to match kids to their parents. It also helps parents gain confidence in her teaching abilities.

“It’s great; it’s really a treat to meet all the parents and see how the parents match up to the kids,” Walters said. “The parents also get to know who I am and that I do care about their kids. {They can see} my philosophy matches theirs so that they have confidence in what their kids are going to be learning, especially in the science class. Of course it helps me, any personal connection improves communication and improves the environment for the students.”

Bennett also believes that BTSN can help the new teachers develop their classes better, especially because they are supposed to present the curriculum to the parents.

“Back to School Night is an opportunity for the teacher to put the parents at ease, as in showing them that they are professional and care about kids,” Bennett said. “It helps new teachers get to know parents and make a connection with them face to face. When you’re preparing for back to school night, you have to plan out your whole year. With teaching, if you’re good at it then they can make it look easy and well developed.”

For parents, the night allows parents to get a feel for what their students go through. Julie Flamming, parent of senior Grant Flamming, attended her last BTSN. She also thinks FC does BTSN on a more personal level than public schools usually do.

“I love back to school night,” Flamming said. “I’m sad this is our last one. I like it because you get a feel for the classes you guys {students} have and what you do in each class. We have another child in public school, and they {public schools} do back to school night, but it’s not as personal as Back to School Night here.”

For new parent Melanie Beyelia, she enjoyed BTSN because she got to see how much the teachers cared about her son, Sam Beyelia.

“I love all the teachers, their incredible the care about their students and this is the right place to be,” Beyelia said. “The best part of the night is meeting everyone and meeting all the parents. Knowing just how much the parents care about the kids is huge.”

Even though veteran BTSN teacher Robert Foshee has presented in front of many parents, he still makes special preparations for his classes. Foshee also wants to connect with parents on a spiritual level to work together to encourage the students academically and spiritually.

“I put together what I say because I don’t want to gloss over stuff; it’s been that many years, but each year’s different,” Foshee said. “It’s funny I guess because it’s like when you’re on stage and you’re nervous. But once I start, I see that we’re all doing the same things together, all working to help their student to find out more of what God has in their lives once we make contact that way, it’s pretty cool.”

Valerie Adams, who has attended many BTSN events, tries to go throughout the night as her kid would. Especially since she has older and younger children, she attempts to reevaluate the teacher based on which kid is in the class.

“It was fine, we’ve done it (BTSN) a lot of times,” Adams said. “I think it’s great to meet the teachers and hear their hearts for the kids. Even though we’ve met the teacher before, because we have older kids, I think we view it differently depending on which kid is in which class. I kind of tend to look at teachers differently through the eyes of the kid who is with them. I find the night informative, absolutely.”

This author can be reached via Twitter: @TyninFries. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

Editor’s note: There will be added elementary Back to School Night photos tomorrow.

For more features, read the Aug. 16 article, Youth group enlightened through unconventional camp.