Back to School Night replaced by Back to School Day due to change in CUP


Photo credit: Avery Fox

Parents came to Archer’s campus for the first Back to School Day. “Since we’re on such a beautiful campus, [parents] could delight in just the environment in a way that, at night, it’s often hard to do,” Associate Head Karen Pavliscak said.

Archer’s annual Back to School Night is an “exciting” event for both teachers and parents, Associate Head of School Karen Pavliscak said. On Saturday, Sept. 28, parents participated in Archer’s first Back to School Day, an event that replaced Back to School Night but maintained a similar structure. 

I think it’s most people’s favorite event of the school year because it’s an opportunity to connect with parents,” Upper School Director Gretchen Warner said. “It was really nice that people got to come here and not sit in the awful evening rush-hour commute to get here. So people were refreshed and really engaged.”

After the Diana Meehan Academic Center opened, Archer’s conditional use permit [CUP] changed. It now states that Archer cannot start evening events until 7:30 p.m., an hour later than when Back to School night previously started. 

“With a three-hour program, you would [either] have to stay till 10:30 or we would have to somehow remove something,” Pavliscak said. “We don’t want to remove any opportunity for parents to partner with teachers.”

On Back to School Day, parents met with their daughter’s teachers for fifteen minutes after a presentation from either Warner (for upper school) or Middle School Director Jemma Kennedy (for middle school). 

“I had a great opportunity to meet with all of the parents from the sixth, the seventh and the eighth grade and helped set the tone for what they can expect for the whole year,” Kennedy said. “When I was teaching math, I got to do that in my classes, and it’s a different experience to be doing it for an entire grade and then for the whole middle school.”

The event for upper school started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m., while the event for middle school lasted from 1:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Faculty members had to be on campus for the division they teach. 

“It didn’t feel like everyone was rushing right home from work to get there,” English teacher Kathleen Bergen said. “I don’t think people were as tired or ready to pack it in and go home and eat dinner, so it was a nice way to meet people in a more relaxed environment.”

In addition to faculty who taught in both divisions, parents who have children in middle and upper school had to spend the whole day at Archer, which concerned the senior administrative team. However, Pavliscak received opposite feedback from parents after the event. 

“They said it was an amazing day and that the length was offset by the inspiration, the passion and the depth that they gained from sharing all that time with their daughter’s teachers,” Pavliscak said. 

While it isn’t known by the senior administration team if Back to School Day will be taking the place of Back to School Night in the future, it is a “strong” possibility, according to Warner. 

“We had to innovate when we were in construction, and we piloted having Fall Outing before the school year,” Warner said. “We loved it, and now that’s why Fall Outing was before school again this year. Sometimes, when we have to pilot things, we find out we like them.”