By Lindsey Derrick
Dalton Public Schools
Roan School decided to try something a little different with its open house this year — instead of the traditional format of parents going to classrooms to meet teachers, the elementary school introduced “Picnic in the Park.”
Picnic in the Park featured many activities and booths set up for both children and parents. The school store had a booth so kids could come buy supplies and other goodies, a book fair was set up in the library, and large inflatables stood in the middle of the field to entertain the children.
Each grade level had a tent, and there was also a booth dedicated to the new clubs that have come to Roan such as the chess club, running club and the drama club.
There were also booths for the adults — a tent was dedicated to getting more men involved with the school and students, and the PTO had a booth.
“We normally just have an open house and have a PTO meeting,” said Roan Principal Cindy Parrott.
Parrott said school officials decided to do things a little differently when approximately 95 new students were rezoned for Roan from other schools.
“We felt like this was a great opportunity to do something different to build bridges for the families and build relationships,” Parrott said.
Parrott also invited many local agencies to provide helpful information to the families. People could get their blood pressure taken at the Amerigroup tent, learn a little bit about United Way and make a donation to the organization, or visit the Girl Scout booth and get a temporary tattoo.
“It just kept growing and growing,” Parrott said of all the local agencies that showed up.
Carrie Smith has a 6-year-old daughter at Roan and said she likes the Picnic in the Park format of open house better.
“There’s a lot more stuff to do, and it’s a good way to get parents to come,” she said. “It was boring just going into the classrooms, but the kids were excited to come.”
Picnic in the Park also had a free dinner with hot dogs, chips, fruit, drinks and dessert — parents brought the dessert items, and all the other food was provided by Rock Bridge Community Church.
Rock Bridge Pastor Matt Evans announced that the church has adopted Roan for a partnership.
“I went to Roan many years ago,” Evans told the crowd. “The church is excited to be a part of the community and make a difference, so here we are today.”