hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Oct 29, 2014 9:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton High School Guidance Department Wins State Award Applauding Orientation Program

Oct 29, 2014 9:14 AM

The Southampton High School guidance department has been recognized by New York State for its high school orientation program designed to make the transition out of the intermediate school as seamless as possible for students.

On November 1, the counseling team will be presented with an award for its five-phase orientation program from the State School Counselors Association.

The program is a revamp of the old district orientation. It focuses on acclimating eighth-grade students, and their parents, starting nine months before the first day of high school classes. Students are given information at specific times to maximize their understanding of what is expected of them, and gradually brought over to the high school building to relieve social anxiety associated with starting at a new school.

“We are doing some amazing things here,” the district’s director of college and career counseling, Kim Rodriguez, said. “We have had a lot of great feedback with people saying this program should be replicated throughout the state.”

The teachers being honored for the program are Dr. Rodriguez, ninth-grade counselor Jessica Zay, eighth grade counselor Jorgine Buccio and ninth grade counselor Jonneigh Briody.

According to high school principal Dr. Brian Zahn, the program has evolved greatly over the last two years based on concerns about the transition from intermediate school to high school.

“We felt very strongly that we wanted our students to acclimate to the high school very quickly,” Dr. Zahn said. “We don’t want any social anxiety at all and we wanted parents to have all of the information for students about course loads and what to expect.”

According to Ms. Zay, the department was committed to improving the program based on research that shows more ninth-grade students failing classes than any other high school age, and that how a student handles the transition into high school will play a big role in the student’s success transitioning into college, and later, a career.

During phase one of the five-phase orientation, the counselors go into the eighth-grade classes—both in Southampton and Tuckahoe—to talk to the students about the importance of high school and carefully selecting classes. The counselors also have meetings with the parents to make sure all of the information is making its way home. During phase two, the high school counselors begin having one-on-one meetings with students. In phase three, students are given their first introduction to the high school building during an evening information session. In phase four, students are given a mock schedule and the opportunity to explore the school building on their own. The final phase is an end-of-summer social where students have one more opportunity to see the school before starting classes. Here, they are given their class schedule and locker information so they can do a practice rundown of the school day.

“Even though there are five phases to the program, we didn’t want it to be five meetings that were all the same,” Dr. Zahn said. “We wanted each phase to have its own feel and flair and purpose.”

“The five phases are just so crucial to making that transition to high school,” Ms. Rodriguez said. She will present more information about the orientation program to the State School Counseling Association at the award ceremony on November 1 in Albany.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

What, no comments when something good happens at the school?
By interestedtaxpayer (21), southampton on Nov 3, 14 6:07 AM
Having had two children transition to the high school, one pre-Dr. Rodriguez and one with her as Director, I can honestly say the transition was so much more informed and smoother with the process they are receiving the award for.
By remytwoton (23), southampton on Nov 3, 14 10:26 AM