Saturday, April 30, 2011

Helping Students New to Town (#apr13)

As the school year is winding down in many places, it is time to think about September. I know that some of you are still doing state testing or feel like summer is still far away, but trust me, September is coming sooner than you think.

There is one piece of the start of the school year that needs special attention for those schools in small communities or those places with a vary low mobility rate. How do you welcome students who are new to town?

At my last school, this was a combined effort of the school and the PTO. The PTO mostly focused on the parents by sponsoring an open house for new residents and town organizations. This was held in the gym of one of the schools and featured groups of all stripes and the school principals. Rm my perspective, it was nice to meet some of the new families.

The other part of our plan was to welcome new students at the school. A few days before school opened, several student council members gathered in the lobby, set up a table of food, and waited for new students. Once we had a group, the students led other students on tours of the school. I mostly stood around the lobby and fielded the kind of questions that were answered at an orientation in the spring of course these parents were not in town then).

It was simple and direct. I heard from many parents and even a few students that this brief welcome was just what they needed to calm their nerves (at least a little) before the first day of school.

How does your school welcome those new to town?

Image credit cmatsuoka CC