Teachers visit homes in Back to School Blitz
Salem Avenue School teachers Julie Nigh, right, and Doreena Wood visit incoming third grader, Labron at home in Hagerstown Friday as part of an effort to reach out to the community and meet the students that attend Salem Avenue Elementary School before school starts. (By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / August 17, 2012)
When they answered a knock at the door, strangers were standing on the front porch and cameras were clicked in their surprised faces.
They quickly realized the visitors were their children’s teachers and members of the media tagging along to cover the Back to School Blitz.
Tom Garner, principal of Salem Avenue Elementary School, said the blitz involved about 65 teachers who hit the streets Friday to introduce themselves to their students for the upcoming academic year. It also gave teachers a chance to mingle with parents outside an educational setting.
“I think this is a better way to meet people where they live,” Garner said.
The teachers wore red T-shirts with the slogan “1323 The Place To Be” and “Nothing is Impossible if you Believe.” The address of the school is 1323 Salem Ave.
In addition to the visits, students and their families were invited to a barbecue at the school Aug. 23.
Third-grade teacher Julie Nigh said the Back to School Blitz was created as a different way for teachers to communicate with the public.
“I think so often we have the community members come to our school,” Nigh said. “It’s important for us to get out there into their community and show we’re much more than these walls.”
Third-grade teacher Ashley Saylor said she had 15 visits on her route Friday. She said she planned to talk to students and their parents about what to expect this year.
“We just want to invite them back to school ... to open up lines of communication,” she said.
The school sent messages Thursday night to the parents saying they should expect a visit Friday afternoon.
Ashley McElroy answered the door of her apartment surrounded by several children. Her son, William, will enter Nigh’s class when school starts later this month.
She said she believed the Back to School Blitz was a good way to meet the teachers.
“It improves communication,” McElroy said.
Shenna Carroll said her 8-year-old son, Labron, was a bit of a loner. She said the blitz was a better meet-and-greet than Back to School Night, when dozens of people are thrown together in a “crazy, confusing and crowded” manner.
“I think it’s really neat,” she said. “You get to see the teacher and it’s one-on-one interaction.”