From the March 2015 issue

The Benefits of Attending School Open Houses

Parents have a plethora of choices when it comes to their child’s education. There are excellent local school districts, many quality private and parochial schools and an increasing number of innovative charters. Simply researching each option can be dizzying.

However, the best way to get true clarity on what school will be the best fit for your child is simple: Attend an open house. Potential Roeper parents have two chances to do that in March. Parents with children entering preschool through fifth grade next fall can visit the Lower School at 9 a.m. March 10 at the Lower School campus, 41190 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills. Parents with students entering grades 6 through 12th can visit the Upper School at 1 p.m. on March 15 at the Upper School Campus, 1051 Oakland Ave., Birmingham.

“I think that the only way you truly get to understand what a school has to offer is by going there,” says Lori Zinser, director of admissions and marketing for The Roeper School. By attending the open house, you can meet administrators, directors and often teachers. At Roeper, open houses are typically done while school is in session, which is an ideal way to get a sense of what kind of environment is right for your child.

Especially with younger children, it can be very reassuring for parents to meet the teacher who would actually be working with their child the following year. It can also help you prepare your child if you have a sense of what the classroom and teacher are like.

Open houses allow you a sense of a school’s climate, as well. For example, what kinds of student work are highlighted? If you have an artist and the only things lining the walls are trophy cases for sports, this school might not be the best fit. If you get a chance to observe a classroom, watch how the teacher and students interact. Is the environment child-centered, or is there a sense that children are not respected? Do teachers seem fearful of administration, or is the atmosphere open and collaborative?

Finally, there’s that question of something just feeling right. A school could be perfect on paper, but when you walk through the doors it may immediately strike you as a place not suited to your child. Sometimes, you can discover that your second or third choice is the perfect place.

“Visualize your child in these classrooms,” says Zinser. “If you can see your child really enjoying the way the program is being delivered, that’s the best indicator you have that it will be a good place for them.”

The Roeper School has two upcoming open houses:

  • Lower School (preschool-fifth grade): 9 a.m., March 10 at 41190 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills
  • Upper School (grades 6-12): 1 p.m., March 15 at 1051 Oakland Ave., Birmingham

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