Schools across Rock Hill are once again opening their doors to visitors through their annual community school visits.
The visits kicked off Wednesday morning at Belleview and Mount Holly elementary schools. After a brief welcome, Belleview Principal John Kirell handed control of the visit over to his students.
“I’m going to turn it over to our kids, because they know the school better than I do,” Kirell said.
Several school board members, administrators, parents and volunteers attended Wednesday’s visits. At both Belleview and Mount Holly, parents and PTO members were there to talk with school visitors and engage in dialogue about topics such as school nutrition and report cards.
Some students and parents told board members how pleased they were to go back to a traditional report card in the third through fifth grades after several years of a “standards-based” report card, which is difficult to understand, the parents said.
“I wanted our parents to have some time to talk with the board,” Kirell said.
These community visits provide a valuable opportunity for feedback at all levels, he said.
While each school decides how to handle community visits, many allow students to lead visitors on tours. They often include official stops, like the art room, and unofficial anecdotes.
“This is Ms. McCoy,” said fifth-grade tour guide Landis Beck. “She is really funny.”
At Mount Holly, after watching a student-produced video featuring students, teachers and parents talking about why they loved the school, fourth-graders took visitors out for a tour, where they could go inside classrooms and talk with students about what they were doing and how they were learning.
Tour guide Kyia Jones wants to know what the visitors think about her school because she likes it a lot – especially the teachers and art class.
“It was great for them to come and see our school and see what they like about it,” she said.
The visits will continue through May, and anyone can attend. No registration is required, but visitors do need to bring a driver’s license to be admitted to the school.