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Archive for August, 2009

By Jennifer Grybowski
Turley Publications Reporter

STURBRIDGE – The staff and students at Tantasqua Regional High School are doing all they can to make sure new students – freshmen and transfers – are ready as possible to embark on a new year at a new school.
Interim Principal Michael Lucas said this summer’s New Student Orientation, run by the Student Council, has been successful, with about 240 students attending – that’s about 80 percent of incoming freshmen and new students.
“The feedback is they feel much better as freshmen walking in the first day,” Lucas said. “We want the kids to be coming in excited, not anxious. And it prepares them to be good students.”
Student Council President Patrick Bressette agreed.
“It went really well,” he said. “We got them active and they had a really good time. I think most of them came because their parents asked them to, but when they left, they realized they had a lot of fun.”
Orientation included presentations from students and staff about academic success, non-athletic extracurricular involvement, the athletic program, scheduling and dress code and behavior; tours of the building; a cookout lunch on the patio; and a question and answer session.
Dean of Students Leigh Joseph also pointed out that orientation programs are not solely for students. There was a Freshmen Parent/Guardian Forum Aug. 26.
“It’s an opportunity for all parties involved to be on the same page,” she said. “For many parents, this is the first time they have a student coming to the school so we want to prepare them as well. We want them to view us as partners, to help them become more involved and to know what the rigor is.”
In addition to the orientation sessions, Lucas is looking to implement what he calls a Freshmen Academy next year. The focus, he said, is to enhance the experience of freshmen.
“The program makes sure they are welcomed into the high school environment,” he said.
Joseph said making the transition from the junior high to the high school – where the population doubles – is often difficult for some freshmen.
“We are looking at what we have to offer and see what we need to do to make it easier for them,” she said.
Assistant Principal Peter Dobrowolski will be overseeing the program this year, creating a study group made up of faculty to assess what freshmen need to succeed.

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