The first week of school for Fridley students was different this year, with a focus on building relationships and addressing the social and emotional needs of students. By introducing smaller groups of students to their new schools and teachers, Fridley staff were able to welcome families with a personal touch, building on a practice that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Hayes and Stevenson Elementary Schools, teachers met one-on-one with students and families on Tuesday and Wednesday. As students arrived for their meetings they were greeted with enthusiastic smiles and hugs from staff, and Jack the Giraffe made an appearance at Hayes Elementary. Students were able to walk through the school to see where their new classrooms and lockers would be, and teachers were able to get a sense of how students are doing and where they are at with their learning.
Only two grades were back at Fridley High School (FHS) on Tuesday, September 6, as staff worked to ease the transition of ninth graders into high school and highlight unique postsecondary opportunities for 12th grade students. The FHS Link Crew–upper class students who serve as mentors to new students–gave ninth graders a thorough orientation of the school, and introduced them to fellow classmates and staff. Ninth grade students were able to connect with Link Crew leaders in small group sessions and talk with them about what to expect as they transition into high school.
Fridley’s Get Ready (a college and career readiness program) coordinator, Matt Kiefer, planned a special day for 12th grade students. Students were able to choose a variety of workshop sessions that highlighted postsecondary options such as two- and four-year colleges, trade programs, career speakers, as well as useful information for the future such as help with financial aid and college applications.
Tenth and 11th grade students returned to school on Wednesday, September 7 with a modified schedule that included a variety of activities to help teach expectations and build community.
Fridley Middle School welcomed back students for two orientation days to start the school year. On September 6, sixth and eighth grade students came to the building, while fifth and seventh grade students came to the building on September 7. Both days were filled with community building sessions, outdoor activities, pep rallies, a review of expectations and fun with friends. Welcoming students back over the course of two days allowed for collaboration amongst the middle school staff and offered students the chance to meet teachers from different grade levels. Overall, the day helped students and staff seamlessly return to the building after their summer breaks.
“We are so excited for the upcoming school year and look forward to all the amazing things our Fridley community will accomplish!" said Matthew Engelhardt, Fridley Middle School’s assistant principal.
“It has been wonderful to see the smiling faces of students back in our buildings,” said Fridley Public Schools Superintendent Kim Hiel. “After the challenges of these past two years, we are ready and excited to meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs.”