Schools welcome freshmen next week
Hilliard City Schools freshmen next week will learn how to navigate unfamiliar high school buildings through programs designed to ease the transition from eighth grade to high school.
The first day of school is Aug. 21, but freshmen becoming Bradley High School Jaguars will have a "Jag Day" and freshman orientation Thursday, Aug. 16.
Assistant Principal Mindy Mordarski said Jag Day and orientation is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"We invite freshmen to come in and do different activities with upperclassmen," she said. "They learn time-management skills and study skills, along with interpersonal skills and team-building.
"The students will also get a chance to tour the building, eat lunch in the cafeteria, get textbooks and learn where their lockers are. We end the day with them going through their class schedules."
At 7 p.m. Aug. 16, it is their parents' turn to come to school.
"We have a freshman parent gathering that night, to talk to parents about a lot of the things we talked to their kids about, such as the literacy test kids are given in the morning and about their child's freshman year," Mordarski said. "We finish by showing them a website that presents career-planning information."
She said the website is Ohio Career Information Systems at ocis.org.
She said district teachers begin talking to students about career paths in middle school.
"We try to get kids started thinking about career paths early so that freshmen can begin to take classes geared toward what they might want to do after high school," Mordarski said. "We encourage parents and students to sit down and look at the website together."
Mordarski said she sat down with her eighth-grade son to explore the website.
"I spent an hour talking to him about what he might want to do someday," she said. "If nothing else, I had an hour of bonding with my teenage son."
She said students are expected to declare a career "pathway" by their sophomore year in high school.
"The pathway is a general career area they would like to focus on," she said.
Mordarski said if parents have not called to register a student for freshman orientation, they should call the school as soon as possible, at 614-921-7400.
The other two high schools also have freshman orientation days, with Davidson High School planning its Freshman Focus Camp from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, Aug. 13-15, and Darby High School hosting "Darby Day" for freshmen from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The Davidson Freshman Focus Camp focuses on four components. It details "looks" as students learn about the dress code; how to order food in the cafeteria during "lunch;" how to open and stow gear into their "lockers;" and how not to get "lost" in the high school.
The school brought in a motivational speaker last year to lead students through motivational exercises, with the help of volunteer upperclassmen.
Parents of Darby freshmen are asked to attend a parent information night from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the high school, where teachers and administrators will learn about the freshmen team structure and how to help their children transition into high school.