The classrooms, hallways and cafeteria at Jane Macon Middle School were a little more crowded than usual Wednesday.

The school invited all parents to participate in a “Come to School With Your Child Day” and accompany their children throughout the school day, to see firsthand what the students experience.

Parents, guardians and grandparents hurried from class to class throughout the day, had lunch in the cafeteria and sat through lessons with their students.

“It’s definitely eye-opening, to see the difference from when we were probably all in school versus this and the processes that they have now,” said Maria Carpenter, who accompanied her sixth-grade student to school Wednesday. “You really see how much they’re quick thinking, switching the classes, hurrying up and eating because we’ve got to get back to class. I see why my daughter comes home tired.”

Johnny Asbell, whose daughter is in sixth grade, hoped to gain a better understanding of what his daughter experiences at school.

“I wanted to see what she does on a daily basis, so I can understand how she’s feeling when she comes home and what kind of general day she’s had,” he said. “This tells me.”

The day began with an orientation with Jane Macon Middle School’s principal Leslie Forcina, who discussed the school’s goals with a group of nearly 65 parents who signed in that morning.

“One of our focuses is parent and community engagement,” Forcina said. “We have a full-time parent involvement coordinator, Mrs. Dawson … This is something that she has facilitated, and we work together.”

The event also allowed the school’s administrators and staff to receive immediate feedback from parents, Forcina said.

“It’s all about connecting with parents and students, and that’s what makes the difference,” she said. “It’s amazing to me that we probably had 80 parents over the course of the day in our building for a portion of time.”

The school’s parents noted that students seemed to be much more challenged by the curriculum than they were years ago when the parents were in school.

“It’s nothing compared to how much demand they have on them and how much focus they have to have,” said Ciera Wilson-Jones, a sixth-grade parent. “It seems like the classes are longer than when we were in class, so that demands a lot of attention and self control at this age.”

The parents also marveled at the improvements that have been made to school lunches. Students today have a wider variety of foods to choose from and healthier options on the menu, the parents said.

“When I was in middle school, we went through one line and you got the same thing,” Asbell said. “We had no choices. It’s crazy. I was blown away.”

Parents could also see the security measures that are in place at schools, including locked classroom doors and visitor check-in requirements.

“I asked my daughter, I said ‘Do you do this all the time?’” Wilson-Jones said. “… She said, ‘We do this everyday. It’s just today, you’re here.’”

More from this section

Future scientists, mathematicians and artists may have experienced their first sparks of interest in what will become their passions at the second annual STEAM night held Tuesday at Sterling Elementary School.