As cars rolled up to the entrance of Dwight School at the end of another busy school day, doors opened and, instead of picking up students, parents exited and walked inside. Many with the same look as their children; excited, engaged, inquisitive, and anxious for the night ahead.
This feeling is quite the norm for parents at Dwight at the annual Back to School Night. A role reversal for parents. A real life version of Disney’s Freaky Friday!
Back to School Night is a chance for parents to experience their children’s daily schedule first-hand at Dwight. A condensed class schedule allows parents to visit each classroom, meet the teachers, and play the role of student. In many cases, parents weren’t just listening to the teacher and absorbing information, they were participating in class discussions, engaging in small group work, and doing math problems or conjugating verbs! Over the next six weeks, this Back to School Night model will be offered on nine different occasions to parents, organized by grade level and will include Dwight’s Early Childhood Division.
In one art class at the Middle School Back to School Night, parents were cutting and drawing while the art teacher led a discussion about medieval art. A few doors down in an English class, after a brief lecture from the teacher, parents broke up into small groups to discuss a topic. One parent commented, “It is so helpful to be able to picture where my daughter is each day and with whom she is interacting. Getting a first-hand sense for each teacher’s style and personality is fantastic.”
One father quietly confessed to another as they walked out of a middle school science class, “I had trouble keeping up with that. I don’t think we were doing that in seventh grade when I was in school!”
Besides the academic excellence that parents experienced, Back to School Night also afforded the nearly 150 parents a first-hand, or first-foot, sense of the physical rigor students experience at Dwight every day. The labyrinth that defines Manhattan private schools is not only horizontal in nature, it’s also vertical. Six stories of classrooms, hallways, and stairwells were filled with parents who, by the end of the night, were moving decidedly a bit slower!
At 7:30 pm, the student volunteers who had been deployed throughout the School in strategic locations, offering navigational support to parents, shook for one last time the blue cowbells each one of them had, bringing to a close the end of the condensed day, and the beginning of cocktails and appetizers in the Quad.
Head of School Dianne Drew addressed the assembled group in the Quad and capped the night by thanking parents for attending, and faculty for providing an inspiring glimpse into the innovative academic life at Dwight School.
For more photos from the evening, click here