Starting high school is a big step — and not just for students, but also their parents, who face another kind of learning curve.

Knowing as much, school officials here and beyond make a point to open their doors to help students and their families get acclimated before the school year begins.

Garden City High School will have an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. A social media note from Principal Steve Nordby summed up the benefits of the experience: “Open House will provide families an opportunity to follow their student’s class schedule, meet teachers as well as talk with academy principals and guidance counselors. This program is designed to help further your understanding of our teachers’ expectations with regards to classroom assignments, behavior, homework, and evaluation processes.”

Open houses for lower grades will take place soon, as well, as the new school year begins in less than a week.

While many parents and guardians take part in the annual open-house events, others interested in better understanding the public school system also should take advantage of such opportunities to tour public school facilities.

Taxpayers should want to know how schools, classrooms and the learning process have changed over the years in meeting students’ needs — especially as ongoing debate over school funding has clouded the judgment of some who believe K-12 schools demand too much, with many critics showing little if any regard for what does go on in the classroom.

A look at GCHS in particular is proof of the evolution of the educational landscape, as it improves the bridge between education and career planning through four academies of learning: Trade and Health, Arts and Communications, Public Service and a Freshman Academy.

When it comes to public schools, district patrons deserve value for their tax dollars. They need to see their investment paying off in graduates who are prepared for higher education or the workforce.

People who visit local schools should be impressed and maybe a bit surprised by what they learn about current challenges and notable achievements.

Hopefully, they’ll also appreciate why supporters of public schools work so hard for adequate funding required to keep learning on track.