ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Public Schools will open their doors on a new school year later this week.
One middle school welcomed families back a little early for a back-to-school night Tuesday. There were hundreds of families at Flinn Middle School, and one teacher said that this type of community buy-in is a huge aspect of education.
“This is that first day of really bridging that gap between the school and the community, with our doors open and them coming in,” said Flinn history teacher Jeff Emmole.
Emmale believes that the back-to-school night will make a huge difference in students’ success.
“It gives teachers the ability to put their hand out and meet the parents, meet the guardians of these students that we’re going to be in the care of for 8 hours a day,” Emmale said.
Heather Finney didn’t miss the chance. Her daughter Jazleen is now a 7th grader, but Finney said that back-to-school time is no easier for the parents.
“Every time I leave my kids anywhere without me it’s always anxiety,” Finney said. “But the faculty here is great, so I definitely trust Flinn. They’re awesome.”
Tuesday night’s open house gave students the chance to meet teachers, walk the halls and tie up any loose ends before the first day.
“One thing that’s new with COVID stuff being lifted is the kids will actually be able to access and use their lockers this year, so that was a big fear of kids not being able to open their locks, so it gives them the opportunity to be here, open their lockers, experience that,” Emmale said.
Brandie Fago, Flinn’s 8th grade assistant principal, said that the pandemic put a lot of strain on students. That is why they are starting something called “Falcon Time” this year.
“For 35 minutes they will be doing social and emotional lessons to kind of get them used to school,” Fago said. “We are here for them and making sure they feel welcomed and safe.”
Flinn also held its 3rd Annual “6th Grade Boot Camp” a couple of weeks ago, which helped kids with the transition from elementary to middle school.