A video of Mr. Sullivan pushing a cart around the middle school started to play. I thought it was some kind of comic relief. Most of the audience retook their seats.
At this point, everyone was expecting the following:
Superintendent Morse: Thanks so much for coming out parents and students. It's a tribute to how much our district cares about education that so many of you are here. This open house is special, because I have the honor of introducing our fantastic new principal, Suzanne Filippone. I could spend more time telling you how wonderful she is, but I hear what you're thinking so I'm just going to turn the microphone right over to her.
Principal Filippone: Thank you, Dr. Morse. Thank you, everyone. It's so wonderful to see you all here tonight. It's been great getting to know your children this month, and I look forward to getting to know all of you. This year is all about learning for me as well. I hope you'll come to me with any concerns or questions you might have, or just to chat. School is off to a great start, and we're really proud to offer you this glimpse into your children's high school experience. I'll be around and I hope to meet you all. Enjoy the open house.
We didn't get anything like that. The principal didn't seem to be anywhere in sight. After the overlong video finished, the superintendent got up and explained what we were seeing. Apparently it takes many minutes to push the computer cart from one end of the building to the other, including a stint outside. It's an old, pieced-together building. Therefore, dear taxpayers, we need to have a "conversation" about building a new middle school.
The audience was nonplussed. They had come to meet the new principal and their kid's teachers. Now they were stuck in a timeshare pitch. It happened so fast. Folks started looking around, wondering if they could leave. A fair number did.
I was thinking why the heck start with parents whose kids just finished middle school? All they'll care about is the tax hike in store for them. And why an ambush almost guaranteed to engender bad feelings toward the project? And where in the world is the principal? Trying to hide far away from this awful scene, no doubt.
I usually admire the superintendent's political savvy, but not last night.
The rest of the open house went well, though now that I think about it I don't recall seeing the principal. [A few people have assured me the principal was cheerily there throughout the open house.]
I was at the board meeting when they discussed using the open houses as occasions to address the public, given the large audiences. It's seemed like a good idea to me at the time. I had no idea how ghastly it would turn out.
I know the middle school open house is next week. I'm not sure if the elementary school ones have occurred. Be warned, people. Save yourselves.
The board and administration seem to be screwing up the Start Time issue too. It's all coming to a boil soon, but I'll save that for my next post.
Don't forget that tomorrow, Saturday Sept 24, 2016, is official opening day for the new ORHS field, with festivities starting at 9 am and games all day.