are Shortridge together” – that’s the theme of Orientation Week (O-Week) at
Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School, and the students and
faculty are living up to the motto!

“O-Week is centered on defining our culture as a new
school and having students feel ownership of that culture,” said Assistant
Principal John Brady. “The students are the ones who live it every day, and
they’re the ones who go out in the community and engage in positive ways.”

This week is the beginning of a new chapter in Shortridge’s
history, as the IPS International Baccalaureate high school program
transitioned from Gambold Preparatory Magnet High School. Many Gambold Prep students
are continuing their IB studies at Shortridge, joining returning students who
were previously in the Law and Public Policy magnet program. O-Week is full of
activities dedicated to team building, exploring the community, meeting new
people and setting expectations for an amazing year.

One of the ways students are building relationships is
through Approaches to Learning groups (ATLs). These groups – in the vein of
homeroom or advisory groups – will remain constant throughout a student’s time
at Shortridge; your ATL on the first day of freshman year will stay together
all the way through senior year. The ATLs are really getting to know each other
this week through a variety of ice breaker activities; one group had an improv
comedy class to increase social risk taking, while another created a coat of
arms to identify their new Shortridge family and shape their path for the
coming years.

Over the course of two days this week, every Shortridge
student participated in a community service project. From work in food pantries
and a community farm to building a wheelchair-accessible ramp, these students
really made their mark on the community in a short time.

“That shared experience is what bonds us together,” said
Brady. Students say they’re already feeling the sense of community Shortridge
leaders are encouraging.

“I love the teachers – they’re interacting with the students
a lot,” said Dashell, a senior returning to Shortridge for her final year.
“It’s a different feeling than other years, and some of us took a minute to get
used to it, but I like the new change. At the assembly on the first day they
told us ‘we are home, we are all Shortridge,’ and that made us [returning
Shortridge students] feel really good.”

“There are a lot of new faces, and we have a new campus,”
said Hunter, a junior who went to Gambold Prep last year. “I wouldn’t say it’s
a shock, but it’s definitely something different. I play soccer, and a lot of
the guys on the team went to Shortridge last year, so I’m getting to know a new
group of people really well through that experience.”

Shortridge wrapped up O-Week with a community
picnic at Riverside Park to reflect on this eventful week and to look ahead at
the exciting future in store for this new school family. We look forward to
seeing the great things in store for our Shortridge students this year!