Mundelein parents go back to school — for a night
Mundelein resident Leesah Whapoe (center) and her children Thomas Gonquoi, a freshman, and Jerra Whapoe, a sophomore, listen to a Mundelein High School teacher Aug. 29 during the school's open house for parents. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:36AM
MUNDELEIN — The tables were turned Aug. 29.
Mundelein High School parents were given five-minute passing periods to follow their children’s daily class schedule from classroom to classroom during the school’s annual open house.
About half of the parents and guardians of MHS’ student population participated. The goal, school organizers explained, was to allow faculty and staff members an opportunity to inform parents about what will be expected of their students; what they can do to facilitate learning at home; and how they can access their students’ grades and course information on the school’s web-based student information system, Power School.
A small number of students chose to accompany their parents as well.
Rafael and Elba Roques were lucky to have their freshman daughter, Patricia, help them find their way around the school’s recently renumbered classrooms.
“I didn’t want them to just be wandering around the school,” Patricia laughed. “I also think it’s helpful to come to these things because we don’t always repeat all the information we hear in class to our parents, so it’s a nice refresher for both the kids and the parents.”
Patricia’s mom added that the open house was helpful because it put faces to teachers’ names.
Sophomore Jerra Whapoe explained that she joined her mother, Leesah, because she felt it would ultimately help her perform better in school.
“I feel like I work better in class when my teachers actually know my parents and communicate with them, and so does my teacher,” Whapoe said. “He feels like when he knows the parents, he’s more comfortable with the students.”
Leesah Whapoe left the open house night with a much better understanding of teacher Jonathan Meier’s expectations in his theatre class.
The night began with parents of about 1,050 students gathered in the school’s auditorium to hear a brief introduction from Superintendent Dr. Jody Ware and MHS principal Lauren Fagel about the 2012-13 school year.
They were then dismissed to follow their children’s block schedules and meet their teachers in short sessions from 7:20 p.m. to about 8:35 p.m. The rest of the evening was dedicated to helping the freshman students’ parents learn how to utilize Power School.
“It’s important for me to be involved in my son’s education,” said MHS parent Rick Walters, as he walked to son Brian’s sophomore year honors English class.
The open house is traditionally held two weeks into the new school year, but this year the event came just three days into students’ coursework. Tom Buenik, the school’s director of guidance, explained that the Aug. 29 date made more sense because of the school’s construction delays.