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Sixth-graders prepare for a new school year in Saugus

Sixth grade orientation, kids outside

(Editor’s Note: This info is from an article submitted by the Saugus Public Schools.)

  The staff at Saugus Middle High School recently welcomed incoming sixth-grade students and families to an orientation program to help prepare them for a successful middle school experience.

  SMHS Principal Brendon Sullivan said the “#ISurvivedMiddleSchool” program was developed to help alleviate anxiety for students and parents as they enter middle school, and also set the tone for a successful year. “The transition to middle school can be a difficult one, which is why our team put this program in place about five years ago,” Sullivan said. “We also want to communicate student expectations clearly from the beginning. Consistent communication between school and home is a critical part of ensuring student success.”

  Sullivan credited SMHS Assistant Principal Maureen Lueke for working with her team, including several high school student volunteers, to create the welcoming two-day orientation. Assisting Lueke were Amy O’Neill, one of the adjustment counselors at SMHS; Tracy Rodrigues, a sixth-grade Special Education teacher; and Paul Doucette, a seventh-grade Social Studies teacher.

  About 122 incoming sixth-graders attended the first day, which was followed by a parent session the second day. Lueke said students took a tour of the building to learn the ins and outs of important locations, such as the gym, bathrooms, lockers and cafeteria. They received tips on preparing for the school year, such as study skills, keeping assignments organized and how to stay ahead – and heard advice on navigating the social environment of middle school.

  “Learning how to meet new people, how to handle peer pressure, advocating for yourself and developing coping skills are all critical as our students navigate through their middle school years,” Lueke said.

  One way to help students develop those skills during orientation was through team-building activities, she said.

  Lueke ran the parent session the next day, giving families insight into the mindset and challenges of middle school students. The program was designed to:

  • Help families better understand their adolescent child
  • Familiarize parents and/or families to the middle school program
  • Provide parents and/or families with information and resources to better help them understand adolescence.

  “This is one way to let students and families know from the beginning that we want to work together as a team to make the middle school experience a positive one,” Lueke said. “We have staff and resources available to both students and families and urge them to reach out with any questions or concerns.”

  A copy of the presentation for parents and caregivers is available on the district’s website.

  Incoming sixth-grade parents or caregivers with questions should reach out to Lueke at mlueke@saugus.k12.ma.us.

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