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Parents Take a Turn at Joel Barlow

Parents, maps in hand, tried to navigate the halls of Joel Barlow High School on Wednesday night at the annual open house. Many, such as Ellen O'Connor, arrived early to snag a spot in the crowded parking lot and find their child's first period class.

"[I'm excited] to get to know the school better and meet his teachers, who he keeps talking about," said O'Connor, whose son Brendan is a freshman at Barlow.

"He's joined the Debate Club, so we want to go meet Mr. Smith," she said, referring to history teacher and club facilitator Randall Smith.

"I think it's really important for the parents to meet the teachers," she added, pointing out that Brendan will be embarrassed to find out she had her photograph taken for this story. "I know [the teachers are] not going to remember anybody. But at least you can meet them face to face, and when you email them or talk to them on the phone, they kind of know who they're talking to."

But for other parents such as Anne Cartafalsa, the open house at Barlow is nothing new. Her son Jack is a junior this year, but she says she feels it is still important to attend.

"He has all new teachers this year so I don't know any of them," Cartafalsa said as she waited in the lobby just before Principal Tom McMorran rang the bell for the first class. "Parent involvement is crucial to a positive experience in high school for kids, and the more we communicate with the teachers, the more support we can give them at home."

Some students might be pleased to know they aren't the only ones late for school — a few straggling parents missed the bell.

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