Open House Welcomes Families


On Oct. 21, nearly 100 prospective families attended KO’s Open House, during which time they got a chance to experience and get to know more about all that KO’s Middle and Upper Schools has to offer.

The Middle School program ran from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., while the Upper School program went from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The planning for the Open House was a team effort by the entire admissions office including Assistant Head of School for External Affairs Zaira Santiago, Senior Associate Director of Admissions Rebecca Benavides, Associate Director of Admissions Meredith Crowther, Senior Associate Director of Admissions Susan Emery, and Administrative Assistant Holly Westfall.

Ms. Benavides said that the team hopes that it gave families a snippet of what student life is like at KO. “We wanted to provide a welcoming environment for families to come and learn more about our school,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we offer a breath of everything that goes on here, and cover all the corners of what makes KO so special.”
The Middle School program started off with a welcome from Head of School Tom Dillow and Director of the Middle School Ann Sciglimpaglia. Families then walked through the curriculum fair where they got a chance to chat with faculty members.

Next, parents and students attended a mini class session taught by middle school teachers. Ms. Benavides said that this aspect is different from past years, where students were the only ones who attended the classes. “We wanted to make the program a little more interactive and let parents see what is happening in the classroom as well,” she said. “We got a lot of requests about that in previous years.”

After, the parents moved on to attend a parent panel and the students went on to attend two more mini class sessions.

The Upper School program was essentially the same as previous years, with minor tweaks. At first, the prospective families gathered in Roberts Theater where they heard from Mr. Dillow, Ms. Santiago, and Interim Director of the Upper School Carolyn McKee.
Then the parents attended a panel, while the students attended two mini class sessions. In the end, the families grouped back together and rotated through three different sessions: the academic journey in library with a panel of department chairs, a student panel in Roberts Leadership Center, and a programs fair in the Hoffman Field House.
Ms. Sciglimpaglia said that the Open House was a great opportunity for families to get a feel of KO. “It’s hard for an entire family to get to school during a regular school day to see it in session, so this was the next best thing,” she said. “They had our full attention since all the faculty and administration were here to answer all their questions and familiarize them with KO and have a better understanding of who we are.”

Mr. Dillow said he agreed that the Open House was a time for KO to shine. “They could see the talent and expertise of faculty, and experience and touch base with the many opportunities here for students to pursue their passions,” he said.

Ms. McKee said that having an Open House was essential since it exposed families to the nature of independent schools and introduced people to KO.

History teacher Tricia Watson said she enjoyed giving families a snapshot of what a history class might be like at KO.

“We were obviously gearing our clients to understand small classrooms and what we are able to do through structured and discovery based conversations,” she said. “I was able to share that excitement about what we do, and talk a little about how the class is organized.”

Ms. Watson talked to prospective families about the MET trip that freshmen students take every year as a part of their Empires and Republics class. She showed them artifacts that former students made and gave them a short lesson, demonstrating the creativity and results of research based learning.

Ms. McKee led a panel of department chairs, posing them various questions about the curriculum at KO. “I wanted to expose them [families] to academic opportunities and give them a sense of classroom environment here,” she said.

Ms. Sciglimpaglia said she hopes that families walked away seeing KO in one of its best lights. “We look at the whole child,” she said. “Your children are going to learn how to learn.”

Mr. Dillow said he agreed that he hopes families got a chance to learn about the value of a KO education. “Hopefully, students and parents came out getting a feel of what our values are and learned about the plethora of opportunities we offer here.”


  • Esha Kataria

    Esha is the News Editor for the KO News. She comes to KO from her hometown of Ellington, CT, and is part of the class of 2020. She loves English class, playing tennis and volleyball, and the color dark purple.