Coventry High School will be holding it’s first ever Community Night for incoming freshman this Wednesday.
Lynn Burke, Assistant Principal for Student Services, is calling it a vehicle for communicating with the eighth grade students who will be starting high school this fall.
It will be a chance to show the Coventry students and their parents “what we have to offer,” she said.
Students and parents usually meet with department heads in May, but the school is already planning for the 2011-2012 academic school year, so getting this jump will help the students and the school.
The cafeteria will be set up with information on every aspect of life at Coventry High School. Whether its academics or music or sports there will me someone there to answer questions and encourage students in the direction they want to go.
Burke said parents and students alike will be able to see the school and ask questions.
This is the first time for the current eighth graders to be formally invited into the doors of the high school.
It will be a regular academic fair and for athletics, some coaches will be present, Burke said, knowing that that means money for college for many students, just as much as academics.
Some art rooms, science rooms and laboratories will also be open.
Tours will be conducted by students who are already at Coventry High School and who know the building inside and out and are able to show students and parents what it will really be like.
Burke said that with students answering questions they will “shoot straight” and visitors will get a student’s perception, which can be completely different from that of a teacher or administrator.
Burke has recruited around 40 current students to be at there and engage with the newcomers. They will be wearing eye-catching, red “Ask me, I know stuff,” t-shirts.
Burke said she recruited a variety of students so that those available would be across the board.
The Coventry High School Jazz Band may also be performing during the evening.
The first hour of the night will be all about information gathering for parents and students.
The second half will be a more formal presentation in the high school auditorium.
There is a video of Coventry High School highlights in the works and Burke will present on the scheduling process for new students.
Families were sent a letter from the principal in December and on Jan. 12, the day of the event, Burke will be going to the middle school to present to the eighth grade students. She will be reminding them about the event and telling them she will see them that night. Currently there are 409 eighth graders at the middle school.
This year’s freshman class at the high school was 444 and the total number of students currently at the high school is 1,746.
Burke said that with how quiet the school is, it is a marvel that that many people move through the building throughout the course of the day.
“We are really able to personalize it,” she said.
In putting together their academic program Burke wants the students to make an informed decision. Students will have to choose electives and classes that will affect their next four years and beyond.
The kids will get recommendations from their teachers at the middle school, but that will only be for five classes and they will need to choose two more to be up to the required seven.
What the students choose will affect the school’s master schedule, “it is student driven,” Burke said.
They will learn how to complete the scheduling process at the presentation.
Burke wants the kids to think about the next four years and their post-secondary education, as she knows many of the students and their parents already are.
She is thinking about the incoming class not just as the class of 2015, the year they will graduate high school, but also as the class of 2019, the year they will graduate college.
There will also be information about the Regional Career and Technical Center, which students apply for during their freshman year.
The event is for all families—no matter what their plans are.
Burke pointed out too that with kids moving up to the high school for the first time or being the first child in their family to go to the high school, “it can be hard and scary for the parent.”
“This is the big, bad building to some,” she said. “They will have a lot of questions.”
“This is a phenomenal high school,” Burke said, “Students have great opportunities here.”
She gives credit to the students for being a tolerant, accepting student body that exemplifies “stuff you can’t teach.”
She also said there is a great community of administrators and dedicated teachers.
Teachers, students, some athletic coaches and all department heads will be there to answer questions this Wednesday, Jan. 12 at Coventry High School at 6:30 p.m.
Entrance will be through the cafeteria and their will be signs to point the way.