Arundel schools to eliminate orientation day

April 29, 2003|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

Students entering middle and high school in Anne Arundel County this fall won't have an extra day to orient themselves before older students join them, as has been the practice in past years, officials said.

Superintendent Eric J. Smith noted instructional and financial reasons for eliminating the staggered openings, which allowed incoming sixth- and ninth-graders to start school a day early.

"I think it's very important that both parents and students are at ease," Smith said. "But there are ways to deal with it that are more cost effective and less disruptive to one of our precious school days."

Some parents, however, are worried about the loss of the orientation day.

Severna Park parent Lisa C. Cox said her son is nervous about starting high school next year and needs the day to adjust.

"I just think the transition between elementary and middle school, and middle school and high school, is a very big step for students," Cox said. "They're very intimidated when older students are there."

Officials said the staggered openings deprive students not in the sixth or ninth grade of one of the schools' 180 instructional days.

Because new secondary school schedules to be used this fall will reduce instructional time in some subjects, teachers will have to make the most of every class session, school officials said.

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