I’ve gotten lots of questions concerning why I am choosing to work freshman orientation this year at my high school. Most people say, “Come on Isaiah it’s not that important that you have to spend your whole day working it.” They’re wrong! Freshman orientation is essential for all incoming freshman…especially at a large high school. At CHS, freshman orientation is an all day event (8am-3pm). Students and parents are even fed a free lunch for coming out. Let me elaborate more on why freshman orientation is so important. We will focus mainly on the highschool (CHS) for this post.
In our district we have several elementary schools, one middle school, one junior high, and one high school. From elementary-middle school….a HUGE orientation is not needed because students have something that relates to a home room in which their teachers walk them around depending on where they need to be and when. From junior high-high school that ends. Students are responsible for getting from class to class on their own passing time (5min). When students are coming from middle school into junior high, they are going to expirence a FULL 7 class day schedule everyday. With freshman orientation (at junior high level or highschool) being an all day event, students have the opportunity to walk to each class they have so they can remember where each of them are for the first day of school. They’d also have the opportunity to find out where their locker is. Trying the combination before the first day is a must!
Our high school (junior high and high school) formulates an all day agenda so students have something to do at all times within the orientation. This could be anything from taking ID pictures, school pictures, getting a school issued chromebook, meeting upperclassman that can help you, purchasing device insurance, or finalizing a schedule for the year. When students arrive to the orienation, they are separated into groups and taken on specificly timed walk through to make sure everything gets done in order and promptly. It works very well. Students get the chance to make connections with upperclassmen which makes them feel more comfortable and welcome.
This is also a BIG change for the parents as well. Having an all day orientation event, parents have all the time they need to ask questions, get information, or meet some staff members. Counselors are also absolutely available to chat with parents during this time if there are any problems with schedules or anything else you’d need a school counselor for.
Students also get their textbooks and have the chance to partner up with a student senate, beta club, or tiger ambassador (members of those clubs sign up to work orienation) to help them get what they need for the year. There is such a difference in getting with a student to find help. So many more connections can be made this way. I’d like to remind you that everything is in stations…your “tour” guide will lead you around to each one in an orderly fashion. The students working and the freshman LOVE this!
We have a lot of transfer students at CHS, so we have to pay attention to them! We know that some kids have never been in CGPS (Cape Girardeau Public Schools), or even gotten a tour of the highschool or junior high. Since we know that information, we treat the day like a new beginning. Our “tour” guides are notified to ask their group if there is anyone that hasn’t had the official tour. If there are members in the group that haven’t had the official tour of the building, their tour guide will surely make sure that happens while they are on their way to stations. Parents are more than welcome to follow the tour guide and students around! We want everyone to feel at home and welcome.
I think I mainly work freshman orientation because… I want students to have an amazing expirence, especially if this is their first time in the highschool or even hearing about it. My freshman orientation was not very inviting or welcoming at all. I want to be the mover of the next great change within freshman orientations.
So YES… wonderers… freshman orientation is ESSENTIAL!!