Most schools have transition programs for incoming students, whether it is elementary schools providing incoming kindergarten students and parents with fun activities, middle schools hosting orientation for incoming sixth graders, or high schools doing likewise for incoming freshmen. Recently, Montevallo Middle and Montevallo High Schools went a step beyond the typical orientation or transition program for exiting eighth grade/incoming ninth grade students.
On Friday May 1, MHS hosted MMS eighth graders during the first ever Eighth Grade Student Shadowing Program. The program was highly engaging, with incoming freshmen being treated to a number of activities. One of the most beneficial activities was eighth grade students having the opportunity to walk the high school campus, interact with current MHS students, faculty, and staff, and visit classrooms during actual instructional time. They had the chance to experience a typical school day at MHS before they actually become students there.
Student-leaders at MHS played the role of mentors and campus-guides, each showing one or two eighth grade students around campus and classrooms. In addition to campus tours and classroom visits, the eighth grade students were also presented with fun ice-breakers and the Activity Rush program, which highlights the extracurricular organizations and activities at MHS. After exploring the various activities and organizations, the eighth grade students were able to sign up to join the groups of their interest.
“Student involvement and ownership is a premier focus and top priority at MHS,” said Dr. Wesley Hester, principal at MHS. “Our MHS student-leaders and officers recruited the visiting eighth graders during the Rush program with the intent of getting them to join their respective groups.”
Hester said the Eighth Grade Shadowing Program was a success, and it took the typical student transition and orientation program to the next level.
“The program was created to ease tensions for incoming freshmen and provide them opportunities to know the school and better understand the ways and routines of a MHS student,” said Dr. Hester. “Ms. Pastor, our SGA Adviser, SGA student-leaders, and other student-leaders put a lot of planning and effort into this event, which was primarily student-driven. It was a great example of partnership between MMS and MHS, as teachers and staff worked together to create a meaningful and engaging event for the 8th grade students.”