Aug. 11, 2017
GETTING TO KNOW YOU — During the first week of school at Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School, students participated in O-Week (short for Orientation Week), which allows students and staff to get to know each other better. On Friday, Aug. 4, students and staff spent time exploring and having fun at Garfield Park. Below, students design T-shirts inside Garfield Park’s art center.
The first day of school can be a stressful experience, especially for high school freshmen. Navigating the school halls in a new building, finding and opening a locker, and identifying a place to sit in a lunchroom filled with new faces can all be stressors.
Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School attempts to lessen this stress by using the first week of school to help freshmen and new and returning students, engage in the community and culture of their learning environment. Bucking the traditional first week of formal class instruction, Shortridge starts its school year off with O-Week (short for Orientation Week).
The purpose of O-Week is “to provide positive, engaging ways to build relationships between students and staff, establish norms and expectations, and reinforce the cultural values of our school,” said Albert Hoffmann, Shortridge English teacher.
During O-Week, students follow a shortened class schedule as they get to know each other and adjust to their surroundings. They make the most of this out-of-class time by meeting administrators, restructuring their schedules, and interacting with their guidance counselors.
“It is extremely important that all students and staff, whether new or returning, have a sense of community and what it means to be a part of Shortridge High School,” said Principal Shane O’Day.
O-Week features a variety of team-building activities. Some of the games students play include “People Bingo” and “Blob Tag,” among others. They also engage in an “Ask a Teacher” discussion panel.
“O-Week’s unconventional approach to the beginning of the new school year is an excellent way to set the rhythm of the year in motion,” said Hoffman.
The week ended on Friday, Aug. 4, with a field trip to historic Garfield Park.
“At the end of O-Week, we hold a field day, or picnic day, where we come together for a bit of fun through games and activities,” said O’Day. “The entire school is split into color groups and the groups compete against one another. The purpose is to instill a bit of fun and energy into the high school experience, as well as continue to help build relationships among and between students and staff.”
Some students and staff visited the Garfield Park Conservatory, while others chose to make tie-dye shirts in the art center. Others chose to engage in a variety of sports, explore the park, or just sit and relax.
According to Shortridge Drama and Theater teacher Carrie Reiberg, “It’s a great day!”