WILLIAMSTOWN - Schools throughout Wood County are easing students both new and returning into the new year with orientations and open house events.
Williamstown High School held its first seventh-grade orientation Thursday, welcoming the middle school's incoming class with a variety of activities and events.
Cindy Shawver, dropout prevention coordinator for WHS, said such events are important not only to get the school year off to a good start, but also to keep students coming back.
Seventh-grader Preston Mayer opens his loose-leaf binder during an orientation program Thursday at Williamstown High School. Students throughout the county will be attending orientation and open house programs in the days leading up to the start of school. (Photo by Michael Erb)
Seventh-grader Dakota Miller works the combination lock on his locker during an orientation program Thursday at Williamstown High School. Orientation and open house programs helps students and parents become familiar with a school and teachers before the start of school, alleviating some first-day jitters. (Photo by Michael Erb)
"We're doing this to help the kids become more organized and more familiar with the school," she said. "We are hoping to have them do well in school and to keep them from dropping out."
The first day of classes for students is Thursday, but many will have a chance this week to get an early peek at their schools.
Orientation and open-house programs scheduled for this week include:
* Emerson Elementary School will hold an open house from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
* Mineral Wells Elementary School will hold a "Rockin' Back to School" open house on Tuesday. Orientation for kindergarten will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and orientation for first- through fifth-grades will be held from 6-8 p.m.
* Blennerhassett Middle School will hold an open house and orientation program on Tuesday. Sixth- and seventh-grade orientation will be at 6:30 p.m. and eighth-grade orientation will be at 7:30 p.m. Students will receive class schedules, locker information and paperwork for parents. Students also will meet teachers and go over their schedules for the year.
* Parkersburg High School will hold freshman orientation from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday. Registration will begin in the cafeteria located at rear of the main building by the student parking lot. To help ease wait times, schedules will be based on alphabetic order of last name, with A-F beginning at 5 p.m., G-M at 6 p.m. and N-Z at 7 p.m. Parents are asked to bring emergency contact and doctor's information. Students will receive class schedules and T-shirts. Assistance will be provided in finding classrooms and setting up Edline student accounts.
* Parkersburg South High School will hold freshman orientation at 6 p.m. Tuesday. A general meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. Freshmen and students new to the school can stop in any time after 9 a.m. Tuesday to pick up schedule and locker information. All returning sophomores, juniors and seniors will receive their schedule and locker information on the first day of school.
* Jefferson Elementary Center will hold a "Back to School Ice Cream Social" from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The program is the school's annual Title I Parent Involvement event and will give students a chance to meet their teachers on the Jefferson playground.
* Kanawha Elementary School will hold a "Back-To-School Bash" from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Pre-kindergarten orientation will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.
* Madison Elementary School will hold an open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
* Vienna Elementary School's open house will be held from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday. Pre-kindergarten orientation will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.
* Worthington Elementary School PTA will hold an open house from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday. The event features a $3 hot dog dinner, chips, cookies, drink and ice cream.
* Jackson Middle School will hold an open house from 6-8 p.m. Thursday.
Among area private schools:
* Parkersburg Catholic High School held its new student orientation and ice cream social last Friday, while Parkersburg Catholic Elementary is not scheduling orientation or open house programs.
* North Christian School will hold a "Back-to-School Night" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, with new parent orientation beginning at 5:30 p.m. Kindergarten orientation will be held from 9-10 a.m. Wednesday.
* Wood County Christian will hold an orientation program from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.
Parents are encouraged to contact their child's school to find out orientation or open house schedules or for more information.