Orientation and Transition Activities
Guidance Counselors host an Orientation Day each spring for incoming 7th grade students. 6th Graders from all four towns (Petersham, New Salem, Orange, Wendell, as well as students from private schools within the district) are invited, with their teachers, to experience our middle school programming during a school day. Students follow a shortened schedule, visiting middle school classrooms with a student tour guide, in order to orient themselves to the building, and learn about Mahar’s middle school classes and extracurricular activities.
In addition, counselors host a 6th Grade Parent Night and invite students again, along with their parents/guardians, to get an in-depth introduction to our middle school programming, curriculum, and scheduling processes.
Parent/Student Tours - A week or so preceding each school year, incoming 7th graders are invited to attend a Parent/Student tour at Mahar. While most incoming 7th graders and their parents/guardians will have toured Mahar back in the spring, this is an opportunity to tour the school with a student’s actual schedule in hand. We have found that this tour – with schedule in hand – helps students with those pre-seventh grade jitters. Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity (during one of two tour times – one day and one evening time available) and allow their students to explore the classrooms in which they will be spending most of their time in coming weeks.
7th Grade Welcome – On the first day of school all new 7th graders report to the auditorium first thing in the morning. During this time students will be introduced to their teachers, their “houses”, and guided safely to their first class of the day for further orientation.
Training Active Bystanders (TAB) – Each year students in 7th and 10th grade receive active bystander training. The Training Active Bystanders curriculum is an evidence-based curriculum that has been taught at Mahar since 2006. The focus of the curriculum is to help students identify harm and bullying, what needs to happen to prevent it and how to intervene safely when they see harm happening. Some of these actions could include:
In the words of a Mahar student, “TAB has made me realize what can happen when others don’t take action, or when you take action for other people. One person can make a difference.” The program is coordinated through the guidance office and each of the 6 lessons is co-taught by a Mahar high school student and a community member who have been specially trained by Quabbin Mediation.