This past summer, we were fortunate to do some re configuring in Central Office to create more aligned spaces for the Office of Curriculum and Instruction and the Office of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services. Our Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services offices are now located upstairs, with our school social workers, and new Family Engagement Center (FEC). The Office of the Instructional Coaches moved downstairs to the main floor with the Office of Curriculum and Instruction, as well as a new space for central registration.
New students enroll year-round and registration is their very first experience with our school district. Starting a new school or changing schools can be stressful for families. Parents are often nervous and have their young children with them. Creating a dedicated registration office provides parents with privacy to fill out sensitive documents, and allowed us to add resources to engage children while their parents complete the registration process.
In addition to books and games, we’ve added a fish tank in the registration office–and K-8 Instructional Science Coach Samantha Levine created fun, “fish finder” activities for children. Every child that walks in is drawn to the tank, which has helped to create a calm, colorful, and welcoming environment for our new families. What we didn’t expect was that the fish tank would also become a place for South Orangetown Middle School students to visit. In fact, Ms. McKay’s class has taken on the responsibility for daily feedings!
This welcoming process now extends beyond registration as well, with the opening of our new Family Engagement Center. Following registration, new families connect with the FEC, where they receive information and resources to help them get oriented to SOCSD and our community.