Academic Showcase (Parent Open House Night)

I’m excited to share with you our district’s Academic Showcase Night.  One of my best friends shared this idea with me a few years ago.  I was finally able to bring it to life in my own district.

Academic Showcase Night

We started planning back in October for this event.  I formed a committee and shared this idea with the team, and they helped me bring this to life.  The committee helped me make it better than I had ever imagined.  We created a presentation to share with the rest of the staff to let them know about the event and how to be prepared for our big showcase night.

An Academic Showcase is similar to an Open House.  But instead of parents going to classrooms, our event was held in our cafeteria and gym.  A1 Rent-All was hired to install the booths.  We rented the dividers and a few tables.  Our cafeteria has almost all round tables.  We designed our layout to fit the space of our existing tables.  By not having to rent tables, we were able to save funds.


We dismissed school at 1:00 pm to allow us to transform the space.  While teachers were in a short staff meeting or working in their rooms from 1:00-2:00, the team moved tables and chairs.  I had planned ahead and held a short meeting with the team prior to the night to discuss the layout and the job duties.  The teachers set up/decorated their booths, and we opened our doors to the public from 5:00-7:00.

Every teacher and subject area was represented in the two spaces.  Teachers had a booth similar to a tradeshow or convention.  They decorated their space and showcased their academic content area.  In the gym (connecting to the cafeteria), we had live performances from our physical education teachers, band, and theatre department.

Behind the cafeteria, we served hot dogs from a food truck/grill on wheels.  Also, we had our Agricultural classes showcase their projects outside.  In addition, we were able to rent a STEAM bus from a neighboring school district.

The meal was provided by local businesses which was such a help to us.  They grilled and served almost 500 hotdogs.  We purchased to-go bags and hotdog wrappers from Amazon.  Parents could grab their meal bag and have dinner on the go or attend the baseball game that was happening that same night.


We had vinyl signs made for every booth which will be reused year after year.  They are very durable.  We used zip ties to tie them onto the booth.  Our regional education service center was able to create these for us.  We sent them a list of booth signs, and they were able to create these within a few days.


VistaPrint is another vendor that we used to create our welcome banner.  We did not put a date on these banners, so we can use them again next year.


1.  Having this event in one space allowed parents to not just see one grade level or one teacher.  They could view all of the great things happening in every grade level.
2.  Our staff shared an appreciation for the other campuses or other teachers and could see all of the great things happening in another grade level or campus.
3.  Parents communicated they loved this new redesign because they were not traveling from school to school.
4.  Typically, we have lower attendance from secondary parents at our Open House events.  We had more parents show up for middle and high school this year.  We hope to continue to see more secondary parents attend as we make this a tradition.
5.  It is important that we showcase the learning that is happening in our district.  We need to celebrate the accomplishment of our students, but also give the opportunity for teachers to share their classrooms with the community.  Our teachers work so hard, and I just loved seeing them share their passion with their parents.

Take a look at our video!

What do you think?  Any questions? Email me [email protected]
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Stephanie McConnell

I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.

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Hi, I'm Stephanie

Hello friend! Welcome to Principal Principles. I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.


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