SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Orientation for sixth graders and freshmen is underway for Springfield Public School students as class starts back up on August 22.

“Students can enter the school building before school actually begins and meet their teachers and see where their classroom is going to be and who is going to be in their classroom,” Director of Counseling Services Alison Roffers said. She said for some kids, starting a new year can bring on some anxiety. “Some might have a little bit of a struggle with change at first, depending on the age. Younger students may cry. Older students may feel a pit in their stomach or just have a headache or high stress showing up in their body somehow.”

But, Roffers said parents can start getting their kids into a routine now, so they feel more comfortable on that first day. She suggests starting to set a bedtime, planning meals in advance, and labeling school supplies can be helpful.

“We’re just kind of been talking about her schedule, what it’s going to look like,” SPS parent Sara Barry said. Her daughter is headed to first grade on August 22nd. “[The start time] is a lot earlier this year. So we’re saying, hey, you’re going to need to go to bed early, wake up earlier and just, you know, reiterating your schedule is going to change. This is what to expect. That way, it’s less shocking next week when we go back.”

Barry said she tends to notice her daughter’s behavior change once there’s a new routine.

“She’s excited,” Barry said. “She loves school. She’s really outgoing. But at the same time, like any schedule change or like being away from me at first, it’s just like, oh my gosh, like really overwhelming.”

Barry plans on taking her daughter to meet her teacher before the start of school.

“We’re actually allowed to go into the school this year for Meet the Teacher, which is fantastic because last year you had to go in from the outside, enter from directly into the classroom, and it was like really regulated only one kid at a time,” Barry said. “I’m really excited this year that we’re going to be able to like walk through the school.”

SPS said staff will also keep an extra eye on the kids for their first week.

“When school counselors and teachers and administrators see that a student might be struggling with tears or having anxiety that we can see on the outside, that’s when we would check in just to see if they wanted a safe place to talk about how they’re feeling,” Roffers said. “Once the day gets started and everyone’s in the classroom and the teacher starts with the lesson and content, then anxiety tends to ease on its own.”

Orientation for sixth graders and freshmen will last up until Friday, August 19th. You can find a list of the upcoming orientation dates and times here:

Sixth Grade Orientation

  • Cherokee – August 15 from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hickory Hills – August 17 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Jarrett – August 17 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Pershing – August 18 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Pipkin – August 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Pleasant View – August 16 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Reed – August 18 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Westport – August 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Wilson’s Creel – August 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Freshman Orientation

  • Central – August 18 at 5:45 p.m.
  • Glendale – August 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hillcrest – August 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.