How Effective Is Back to School Night?

By Ahmed Elmahy


Every year, as October approaches, every household is flooded with calls from Galileo to remind parents to attend Back to School Night. This annual tradition is quite simple in nature and doesn’t vary much from one year to the next. Parents start off in the auditorium watching a performance and afterwards they go to each of their kids’ classes and get a short preview of what is happening in their classes. Yet, although it is tradition, one has to ask: how effective is Back to School Night?

Almost every student that I have asked feels that Back to School Night isn’t practical due to how it is scheduled, both purpose and time wise. An anonymous senior claims, “Back to School Night is ineffective [for] there’s too little time spent in each class and teachers don’t get a chance to meet all the parents.” This is true since each class “period” only lasts 10 minutes, and that time is spent making introductions and giving a brief overview of the class. While it is true that the purpose of Back to School Night isn’t for parents to be asking how their students are doing in class, it seems that it is the only thing that parents are actually interested in. They don’t really care about what is going on in the class as a whole, but rather how their own child is doing.

Furthermore, a junior pointed out that “Parents don’t really have time and students don’t care about Back to School Night.” With back to school placed on a Thursday, it makes it very inconvenient for parents to make the time to attend the event due to work. This goes back to how parents attend Back to School Night only to see how their child is doing in class, which is actually what one isn’t supposed to do at the event. A lot of students really don’t care about Back to School Night because their parents either don’t attend or see it as a waste of time.

A small minority of students do see an upside to Back to School Night. Christine (Sr) claims “Back to School Night is a good way for parents to get involved with the teachers and get feedback on how their child is doing” but also goes on to say “But as far as effectiveness it doesn’t do anything to help the child improve their studying so I feel like it’s just a socializing sort of occasion especially since it’s still early in the year and the teachers don’t have a full grasp of the student and their abilities yet.” It seems that the major thing that back to school is effective at doing is making parents who go get involved for one night.

Whether or not Back to School matters won’t affect the fact that it will continue for many years to come, around the same time every year. Back to School Night is quite ineffective in many aspects for its purpose conflicts with what parents want, and furthermore by being placed on a Thursday, it discourages parents who work from coming to the event. However, if Back to School Night was moved to Friday, then it is possible that more parents will have time to go and get involved. Also, if the assembly and homeroom part of the event is cancelled, and that time is instead used to give parents more time to interact with their children’s teachers, it will be better. Finally, if that time is used for parents to ask teachers about how their students are doing, then Back to School Night will be perfect.

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