Getting the Most Out of Orientation
Each new school year brings change. Some students will be heading off to new schools, while others will be simply advancing grade levels at the same school. Parents will be meeting new educators and school principals and adjusting to new policies and practices. Whatever the situation is for your student, school orientation is an important part of starting the year right. Parents should arrive prepared on orientation night with questions and a plan to get the most out of the experience.
Talk With Your Child Ask your child to express his or her feelings about the upcoming school year with you. Some students will be changing classes for the first time, dealing with multiple teachers or heading off to high school. Whatever the specifics are for your child, there is certain to be some trepidation about the new challenges. Discuss any possible concerns your child has, as well as the things he or she is looking forward to. This will help prepare you with a list of questions specific to your child’s needs come orientation night.
Know What Is Expected of Your Child During the orientation, it is good to ask what skills and concepts your child will be expected to master this year. Understanding what your child needs to know is important. It is also helpful to understand how grades are determined in each class. If it is possible to speak with new educators about grading systems, do so. This will help when teacher conferences roll around and parents have a chance to meet with educators to discuss student progress.
Understand School Policy School policies are constantly changing and being updated. You should be aware of any changes made in the last year so that nothing surprises you. As children get older, dress codes become more important and attendance policies become more rigid. It is always important to understand the policies and guidelines being enforced by the school. These can differ even within school districts, so it is best to get these straight from school principals.
Learn About Extracurricular Activities As students mature, more and more activities outside of normal academics become available. Extracurricular activities enrich students’ lives. Orientation night is a perfect opportunity to get a list of available sports, clubs and groups your child may be interested in. These activities build leadership skills and other character traits that might not otherwise be learned inside a classroom. Learn about what is available and discuss these with your child.
Schedule a Tour Touring a school with your child and the school principal after orientation will be a positive experience. This is a time when your child can ask specific questions that will ease the transition into the new school year. Your child may have anxiety about the new year simply because he or she does not know what to expect on that first day. The simple act of experiencing the school grounds before the pressures of that first day can help greatly.
Orientation night is designed to foster a smooth and comfortable transition for students and families into a new environment. Educators welcome parents who come ready to immerse themselves in the details in order to provide the best possible experience for their students. Arrive prepared and you are sure to get the most out of this year’s orientation.
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