An E-newsletter on EXCELLENCE in Leadership

A program of student orientation should be conducted at the beginning of each school year. This orientation could be expanded to include parents. The student handbook provides the basis for this orientation.

March 2019 | Volume 7, No. 7

The Orientation

Administrative Team | Takoma Academy Preparatory school




 Why is it important to host a student orientation? It is important to host an orientation to introduce students/families to our school. Orientations should be held for new and returning students/families introducing them to new procedures and expectations for the upcoming school year.

What are the expectations for students and their families that attend the orientation? The expectations for students and their families include meeting staff and teachers, locating their classrooms, securing school supply lists, and asking questions about the upcoming school year.

Families/students are to be provided with the following information during the orientation:

  • Introduce the school team
    • Administration (Principal, Vice Principal, Business Manager)
    • Classroom/Out of classroom teachers
    • Staffing (Office, Nurse, Academic Specialist, Counselor, Plant Operations Team)
  • Vision, Mission, Philosophy
  • School colors
  • Mascot
  • Uniform expectations
  • What makes our school unique? (Programming, Spanish, art, music, PE, technology, STEM focus, etc.)
  • Who helps you in school? (Teachers, Vice Principal, Vice Principal, Nurse, Office Staff, Plant Operations, Counselor, Academic Specialist)
  • A typical school day (School Hours, Arrival/Dismissal)
  • School safety (Code Blue/Code Red, Fire Drills)
  • Lunch cost, schedule, menu
  • School Theme: “Our school TAPS into kindness”
  •  School Song
  •  Homework Policy
  • Attendance Policy
  • RenWeb
  • Where do I find the handbook?
  • Communication
    • Weekly Newsletters
    • Updated on line calendar
    • Parent/teacher conferences
  • Parent and Teachers Association (PATA)

Back to School Night vs.
Student Orientation

Carla Thrower | Principal,
Takoma Academy Preparatory School




There can be a distinct difference between Back to School Night and the New School Year Student Orientation. The New School Year Orientation takes place prior to the opening of the school year while Back to School Night takes place after the start of school.

Back to School Night vs. Student Orientation

Back to School Night

Who is to attend?
New and returning Families

When should this take place?
3–4 weeks into the school year

Opportunity for parents to get further acquainted with the classroom and receive clarity on classroom procedures and expectations. Parents can see their students working space and projects completed or in progress. Parents can sign up to serve as room parents to assist in the classroom or help in planning field trips and class seasonal activities etc.

What Back to School Night is not:
Parent/Teacher Conference (Conferences are held at the end of the first and third quarters)

Additional components to consider:

  • Ask that students attend the Back to School Night with their parents (If this is not the school’s expectation provide child care coverage)
  • Providing settings where parents can get to know the teachers better

Student Orientation

Who is to attend?
New and returning Families

When should this take place?
Prior to the opening of the school/Prior to the first day of school

Families/students getting acquainted with the overall school, its policies and procedures. Parents are encouraged to sign up to be members of the Parent And Teachers Association.

What Orientation is not:
Parent/Teacher Conference (Conferences are held at the end of the first and third quarters)

Additional components to consider:

  • Post class lists in a centralized location and outside of the classrooms
  • Faculty/Staff in designated school attire (Staff shirt, etc.)
  • Send school supply lists prior to the orientation
  • Host a family style dinner
  • Place information on a Prezi or PowerPoint

The Student
Orientation Fair

Shanel Marchany | Principal, George E. Peter SDA School




 Starting something new can be a complex experience for anyone, regardless of age. New experiences are often met with a wide range of emotions. This was certainly true of my experience during my first year as principal of George E. Peters Adventist School. I hoped to find synergy with my team. I was anxious to kick off engaging academic programs. I was overjoyed by the opportunity, but also fearful of making mistakes. It was for these reasons, that I was grateful for the two-day principal orientation I received at the Alleghany East Conference. In just two days I was able to gain a better understanding of my newfound role, expectations, and responsibilities.

As I considered my experience, I realized the importance of welcoming children to their new school in a way that brings excitement, eases anxiety, and brings reassurance to families. At George E. Peters, orientation is an exciting event filled with unbelievable incentives. We have local barbers come out to provide free haircuts for families, we rent bouncy houses for the kids, there’s plenty of delicious food, free uniform giveaways, free backpacks, free school supplies, and fun outdoor games to play! We’ve designed orientation to be an exciting back to school event that scholars can enjoy. Additionally, new parents are given the opportunity to meet the teacher, met the principal, learn the school handbook, create an account on RenWeb, and sign up for enrichment programs. It’s an event that anyone, regardless of age, can look forward to.


Newsletter Coordinator

Carla Thrower

Takoma Academy Preparatory School

Newsletter Editor

Berit von Pohle, Editor

Pacific Union Conference, Director of Education

Ed Boyatt, Editorial Advisor