The move to close Highland Middle School in the Huron Valley School District has necessitated redistricting students to balance enrollment, and efforts have been under way since the spring to make the transition easier for those students impacted.
“Transition is hard for families and we’ve tried to make it softer by offering open enrollment where we could and trying to keep neighborhoods together so it is less stressful on the students and families,” said Huron Valley Director of Community Relations and Fund Development Janet Roberts.
Besides rerouting the students who formerly attended Highland Middle School to different middle schools, the district tweaked a few boundary lines that affect both Huron Valley Lakeland and Milford high schools, as well as other middle schools.
“The general idea is to take the Highland Middle School equation out and balance enrollment between the two high schools or the two sides of the district,” Roberts said.
Transitions began last spring with multiple parent and student meetings. Counselors, and band and choir teachers, visited feeder schools while parents and students were given personal tours.
Student ambassadors were assigned to new students, counselors and principals visited individual students at their original schools, and the district held several information meetings.
With the new school year just a week away, a community ice cream social will be held this evening from 6:30-8 p.m. at Oak Valley Middle School as an opportunity for parents and students to meet staff, visit the school, try out lockers, find their classes, and renew friendships.
Oak Valley is also planning a “clap in” for all students on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 6, followed by an all-school assembly to introduce new staff, welcome new students, participate in relays and generally celebrate the beginning of a new school year.
At the high schools, freshmen orientation has been the focal point, centered around getting freshmen into the building, meeting staff and starting school off on the right foot.
“Once the school year is under way, we have intervention systems set up to support further transitioning, including new student groups and academic support,” Roberts said.
Academically, the district will be monitoring student files to flag those who may require special attention.