Zach Randall practices using the combination on his new locker as he gets ready for the start of school.

by Dave Warner

Sixth-grade orientation was held Wednesday evening at the Little Falls Middle/High School building. All of the new 6th graders who are coming up to the school were invited to attend, along with their parents and family.

According to Principal Maria Lindsay “We have orientation up here so that they are a little bit more comfortable coming to school on the first day. That way, it’s not all brand new to them.”

“Lockers tend to be the most stressful point for them because they are afraid of not getting their locker open, so we give them time to practice their locker combination and bring their supplies and set up their locker. It’s also a time for them to meet all their teachers,” she said.

Students are allowed to tour the building and follow their schedule so that it becomes familiar for them. “They get to see the cafeteria line and where they’ll have to have lunch as well,” said Lindsay.

The orientation also includes the Chromebook policy, as each student is assigned their own computer. “We’re one-to-one, so every student has their own Chromebook,” she said.

The computers are assigned but must remain in the school for the sixth-graders.

The guidance counselor is also a large part of the program. “Mrs. Salls is a major organizer of our orientation and she goes over their schedules with them and things in the auditorium all together with them. We’re just trying to ease any of the fears they may have and make them feel welcome,” said Lindsay.

“We want them to see the culture up here – that we’re all in this together and that we’re here to help them and let them be successful and join our middle school family,” she said.

There are a little over eighty students that will be entering sixth grade next week. Teachers will be at school on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the first day of school for the students will be Thursday.

“We’re continuing some classes that we started last year. Engineering by Design, a geometry class, a research skills class, so they have quite a few elective classes that they get to do in sixth grade, which is exciting,” said Lindsay.

Students also got a chance to find out what clubs are available like drama, newspaper, the morning broadcast, or student government. “They find out about all of the new things that they can do that are different than elementary school,” she stated.

Sports are also covered, even though sixth-graders aren’t allowed to play modified sports. “We do talk to them about it and being eligible and that sixth-grade is the year to get yourself ready in terms of being organized and doing your academics to be ready to play on a sports team in seventh-grade,” said Lindsay.

“We try to encourage as much participation in any outside activity, not just sports, but girl scouts, boy scouts, and all kinds of things,” she said.

Four new teachers are starting their first year along with the students.

Parents were notified about the orientation when report cards were handed out at Benton Hall at the end of fifth grade, and then reminders were sent out during the summer.