EMMA – Sometimes, Westview Junior High School officials believe, the best way to understand a junior high school student is to spend a day walking in his or her shoes.

So, Thursday morning, the school threw its front doors wide open and invited parents of junior high students to come to in and shadow their child through his or her classes.

Nearly 90 parents took the school up on its offer.

Elias Rojas, the first-year junior high school principal said having that many parents willing to take a day off work just to shadow their child through school is a real testament to the level of commitment the Westview community has in the education of their children.

Rojas said he hoped the parents would learn just how hard both students and staff work.

“I hope they see authentic, real learning going on here,” he said. “I want parents to see what our teachers do, which is delivering great teaching using research-based strategies that prepare our kids to be the best they can be.”

For parent Michelle Rheinheimer, Thursday was a chance to watch her daughter Katie interact with her teachers. It also was a chance to meet all Katie’s friends.

Rojas said he worries the parents of many junior high school students aren’t as involved with their child’s education as they were when that same child was in elementary school.

“I think oftentimes as our kids get older, we have an impression our kids are independent,” he said. “But they’re still kids. They still need to be loved, to be guided and taught and supported. We want to keep that high-level parent engagement. I think at the elementary schools we do a great job planning activities that bring parents into our schools. But as our kids get older, that parent engagement seems to dwindle. We want parents in our schools, we want them in our classrooms and we want them engaged with their child’s education.”

Parent Stacy Shrock came to spend a little time watching and learning what day is really like for her son Dylan, a seventh-grade student. Shrock said she wanted to get a better understand of his day.

“I think this is just a chance to get inside his world and have a better understand what he does,” she said. “We talk about learning at home but it’s another thing to actually see it happen.”

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