Sunday, 6 September 2015

Reminders for all Parents...

....T-minus two days!!!

As we begin a new school year here are some thoughts for all parents, regardless of whether you are a veteran high school parent or are sending your oldest child to high school for the first time.  As a parent who is about to become an Empty-Nester, and as a Teacher beginning my 29th year, I certainly have some experience and perspective on this subject.

If you're an experienced high school parent many of these things may seem silly but they're good to keep in mind nontheless.  For parents about to embark on their first high school experience (as parents)....hold on tight.  It may be smooth sailing for many, but it also can be an exciting, and sometimes bumpy, ride!

A few key reminders:

1.  Your son or daughter (regardless of whether they'd ever express this to you out loud) is a combination of nerves, fear, excitement, and anticipation.  That's OK, and completely to be expected.  While it may not seem like much of a jump from grade 8 to 9, remember they are going from being the oldest in a school to the youngest.....and those grade 12's can seem pretty intimidating - even if they're great too!

2.  You may feel that it's time to back off a bit as parents now that 'they' are in high school.  You may also expect that you will not hear much from high school teachers.  Fight that urge and don't be hesitant about reminding your children (they are still children even if they think they're mini adults) that you will continue to be active in their school years as long as you can.  Please also don't hesitate to e-mail teachers and inquire about progress, etc. if you have any questions or concerns.  I've heard many parents mention that they have been surprised by the volume of contact between HS teachers and parents - I think this is a good thing and encourage staff to maintain home contact as much as possible.

3.  Don't be shocked if your child starts saying that they "don't have tons of homework".  While there will certainly be homework remember that for many of our students grade 9 will feel like 'less work'.  In grade 8 they were on a rotary schedule carrying 7 or 8 different subjects.  In high school students have 4 courses per semester.  Most students will have 2 traditional academic subjects per semester (two of Math, Science, English, and Geography) and then 2 additional courses that we might consider optional (Phys. Ed., Visual Art, Music, Business, etc.).  Each subject (and each teacher) will generate homework based upon a variety of factors and many teachers do try to build in time each day to begin homework in class.

4.  If you're or email us!  Expect your child to miss messages and not to bring things home - again, pretty normal behaviour for 13-15 year old students.  We try to maintain our school website, and to email important messages directly to parents, however it is possible that information may not make it home so please don't hesitate to call or email if you are uncertain about anything.

The First Day of School!!!

Here at OTHS we have a blended start to school on Day One.  Our Grade 9's start the day working with our Link Crew (Senior Students) Mentors.  There are multiple activities planned to assist in making all of our new students feel welcome at OT.  As well new students meet some senior mentors so that they might have a senior student to lean on should any questions or concerns emerge in the opening weeks of school.
Grade 9's will report to school at 8:00 a.m. and proceed to the Gymnasium for opening remarks.
The balance of our returning students will start Period 1 at 11:45 a.m.  This 'delayed' start allows our Grade 9 students and their Link Crew Leaders to spend the balance of the morning getting to know each other and the school.  It's also a nice way to welcome back our senior students after a long summer break.

Students will see a lot of activities start right away (clubs, teams, etc.) and so make sure to jump in with both feet!  Getting involved (in something) is still the best way to ensure a stronger high school experience for all students.  Listen for announcements and postings around the school for information.  We are hosting a Club Fair during Week Two so no student should be unaware of the variety of activities available.

I wish every family, and all of our students, a great start to the 2015-16 school year.  The first couple of weeks will fly by in a blur!

J. Phillips

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