Freshman Orientation Freshman Orientation

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					                                          Freshman Orientation

A student goes through many changes in their thirteen year journey from kindergarten to high school
graduation. One of the biggest of these transitions is leaving eighth grade and becoming a freshman in
high school. From the moment a teen starts high school, every grade, class choice and activity
participated in have a bearing on his or her future, even beyond the high school years!

In order to get Woodland’s eighth graders off to the best possible start, counselors Mrs. Emily Johnson
and Mrs. Joelle Mayfield, assisted by the whole Middle School team, bring the students and their
parents a Freshmen Orientation Night. “Freshman Orientation gives the students and parents a great
opportunity to be introduced to high school, the A+ program, and post-secondary options. Four-year
plans are created and we get the students thinking beyond freshman year and even beyond high
school,” relates Mrs. Mayfield. This year’s Orientation was May 10th.

The evening was kicked off with a slide presentation from the two counselors. Mrs. Johnson explained
how the eighth graders have been preparing for this night. “I have been working with the students to
complete a nine week career unit during their eighth grade year. Students develop an understanding of
career as an opportunity to demonstrate personal skills, abilities, and talents. Students explore careers
through various activities, including the Missouri Connections Online Planning System. This program
enables students to explore careers, assess their particular interests and skills, and plan for the future.
The assessment results will assist students in making course selections for their ninth grade year and
their Personal Plan of Study (POS), or 4-year plan. Students are encouraged to continue using Missouri
Connections, as this tool is an excellent resource for career planning. During the 9 weeks, students also
discuss high school terminology and create a sample four-year plan.”

This year, eighth graders were also administered the EXPLORE test, which assists in high school planning,
exploring options for the future, and college readiness. This is the first year Woodland has given the
EXPLORE test to eight grade students. Mrs. Johnson says, “I was excited about the opportunity to
administer the EXPLORE to our eighth graders. Students were eager to see their EXPLORE results, and I
noticed satisfaction on many faces. I greatly appreciate the students’ positive attitude towards this type
of assessment. I also am thankful for the 8th grade teachers, who assisted with proctoring the EXPLORE
test.”

After the counselors’ presentation, Julie Sheets, Mineral Area College Admissions Counselor, and Brandi
Brooks, SEMO College Admissions Counselor, discussed aspects of attending a community college or
university. The ladies were available to answer questions and assist students throughout the rest of the
evening, in addition to providing many college logo door prizes for the crowd. We appreciate their help!

Parents and students moved to tables in order to complete the POS, using the course description guide
to choose classes and electives, making sure to meet graduation requirements. The student’s POS is
signed by both student and parent, and turned in to Mrs. Mayfield at the end of the evening. Middle
School staff members were available to answer questions and provide assistance in completing four-
year plans.
Parent Mrs. Brandi Douglas felt the evening was very informative. Mrs. Jody McCormick appreciated
the help she and daughter Becca got from teacher Mr. Mike Sparkman. Mrs. Donna Shell remarked that
the evening was “something that’s important and very beneficial. I appreciate that the school gives the
EXPLORE test, and getting that feedback to know how my child is doing.”

Student Landry Francis shared that “Mrs. Mayfield has prepared us in advance for this night so I knew
what I was doing on my schedule.” In addition to their preparations with Mrs. Johnson, in the early
spring the 8th graders meet in small groups with Mrs. Mayfield, going over the A+ program, and high
school required courses and electives.

Baylor Blackwell said, “I liked having my parents to help me with the 4 year planning.”

The teachers also know the value of this activity. Mr. Nick James, science teacher, reflects, “It is always
great to start thinking about your future. No need to put it in stone yet, but get thinking about it. If you
don’t, you’ll sure wish you had once the college world starts!”

Mrs. Michelle Gray, math teacher, adds “The career explorations are a great tool in helping our students
plan their high school years and beyond. Students who complete a four-year plan will be confident in
their choice of classes and will be prepared for the next steps.”

Upcoming freshmen Audrey Wilkinson, Varieca Gromer and Landon Johnson all plan to take advantage
of the A+ program as they enter high school, and felt the orientation was a good planning tool, in
addition to their sessions with Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Mayfield.

It was great to have such a good turnout of families. Eighty-one percent of our eighth grade families
came for the planning session! Also appreciated was the assistance of the fifth, sixth and seventh grade
staff, who sat down with parents to answer questions they might have. The staff also opened the
computer lab so that students could show their folks “MO Connections,” the online career planning
system.

Mrs. Johnson’s reflection on the evening sums things up. “I really enjoy freshmen orientation night
because you can feel the excitement in students. I believe this group of students is ready for high
school, and I wish them the best of luck.”

We all look forward to great things from these young men and women, Woodland’s Class of 2015!

You can visit www.woodland.k12.mo.us, then Middle School, then Activities for more pictures of the
event.

				
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