Parents in the classroom

Parents give their feedback by observing classrooms at BVH

On+March+4%2C+2020%2C+principal+Roman+Del+Rosario%2C+Ed.D%2C+and+parents+from+students+in+BVH+observe+Kalie+Espinoza%27s+English+10+Accelerated+classroom.+Later%2C+parents+shared+their+feedback+with+Del+Rosario.+

Carina Muniz

On March 4, 2020, principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D, and parents from students in BVH observe Kalie Espinoza’s English 10 Accelerated classroom. Later, parents shared their feedback with Del Rosario.

For the first time on March 4, during Coffee with the Principal, parents were able to walk into different classrooms during instruction to observe how students were being taught.  Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Coffee with the Principal meeting is where BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario Ed. D. invites parents to come to the school for morning coffee, discuss different topics and ask him any questions they may have.

The idea for parent walk-ins, was suggested during the previous meeting by several parents. Parents fill out feedback forms at each meeting, and a popular request among them was for classroom observations. At the end of the meeting, the feedback showed that parents enjoyed being able to observe classrooms.

“This was the first visit, and the parents that participated in my group and the whole group had overwhelmingly positive feedback. I think the parents appreciated the perspective [of observing classroom instruction], and it’s something that I hope to continue next year,” Del Rosario said.

The meeting had about 20 parents in attendance, and the parents were split into four groups of five along with an administrator and/or staff member. The visits took place during third period, and parents were able to walk-in on a variety of different subject courses, including English 9/10 Accelerated, Integrated Math 1/2, World Geography, International Baccalaureate (IB) English, Physics, AVID, World History, ELD 1/2, Biology Accelerated and Chemistry. Teachers, like Biology Accelerated, IB Biology and Advanced Placement (AP) Biology teacher Michelle Mardahl-Dumesnil Ph.D, welcomed the involvement of parents in the classroom.

“In general, I welcome parent involvement at BVH,” Mardahl-Dumesnil said. “As far as the parent walkthrough, I liked having parents see what we are doing in Biology.”

This aspect of parental involvement is something that is also a main focus of the walk-ins, and Del Rosario feels that the more a parent is involved in their student’s education the better.

“[Parent walk-ins] really build that relationship between parents and staff at the school,” Del Rosario said. “The more that our parents understand that we’re working together on behalf of their child, the better outcomes we’re going to have.”

BVH CIS Coordinator Michele Godoy plays a large role in organizing Coffee with Principal. In regards to the walk-ins, she saw parents recognize the high level of academic engagement that students have in their classes.

“The feedback [the parents] gave said that they saw a lot of engagement and that they enjoyed seeing the different subject areas and how they were taught. They compared it to when they went to school — where it was just a lecture [and a] worksheet/packet,” Godoy said. 

The hope of administrators for the parent walk-ins is that the parents themselves were able to see how students were being taught, take that home and apply it themselves. 

“We did parent observation to show them how learning is occurring in classrooms, and the focus was letting them see what’s taking place, [as well as]  the tools they can use at home with their children,” Godoy said. 

Based on the success of the first parent walk-ins,  Del Rosario and Godoy both see them as something that BVH should do again in the future.

“I’d like it to be something we do once a semester,” Del Rosario said. “I’m of the belief that it’s our responsibility to build bridges with our community and to really pull the curtain back and demystify what we do. I want the parents to feel that the school is on their team and our job is to support their students. So the more that our parents understand that we’re working together on behalf of their child, the better outcomes we’re going to have.”