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6th Grade Orientation

May 29, 2024

Dear Incoming 6th Graders and Families,

We are excited to welcome you to Clarence Middle School! Our orientation program focuses on growing skills needed to be successful in secondary education, while familiarizing students with schedules, peers, teachers, and the building. Our goal is to make all students feel as comfortable and as excited as we are each day when we walk into CMS. This letter details phases of our process. 

Phase 1:  CMS Musical Preview (Winter)  

We begin this process by inviting all 5th grade students to preview our school musical. This is a fun event where our musical directors are able to showcase their work with students in an extracurricular capacity. It gives students the opportunity to visualize what it will be like to participate in large scale performances be it on stage, behind stage, or as an audience member. This is also one of the first times the entire graduating class is in one room together, and that alone is something to celebrate! 

Phase 2:  5th Grade CMS Meet and Greet (Spring)

The next step of this process is meeting with your students at our annual 5th Grade CMS Meet-and-Greet. The goal of this event is for students to picture a day in the life of a 6th grader. In addition, we hope to garner excitement for middle school, and to quell some of the unknowns from the kid perspective. Students spend the time interacting with each other, and adults in the building by asking burning questions about CMS! We discuss key components of being part of the CMS community. Our  own 8th grade students deliver a presentation that includes an overview of the house system, a student schedule, technology platforms, grading practices, instructional routines, social elements, extracurricular opportunities, locker use, and the upcoming orientation program. This visit ends with 8th grade students touring 5th grade students around the building. 

Phase 3:  6th Grade Orientation (Summer)

Our 6th Grade Orientation program takes place EITHER on Tuesday, August 20 (A-K), OR Wednesday, August 21 (L-Z). Based on last name, students will attend a ½ day event where they rotate through four sessions outlined below. Students have an opportunity to practice drop off and dismissal routines and walking schedules, while they learn about important aspects of the life of how to be a successful middle school student. 

Last names beginning with A-K attend on Tuesday, August 20, from 8:30AM to 12:00PM. Last names beginning with L-Z attend on Wednesday, August 21, from 8:30AM to 12:00PM. 

Orientation Program Overview

Session Title

Leader in Me Habit

Session Description

Academic Independence

Begin With the End in Mind                                       

This session is designed to help students develop an academic goal for 6th grade and to identify steps to follow both at home and school to ensure success.      

Digital Citizenship

Seek First to Understand, Then to  Be Understood

This session will help students understand the importance of practicing digital empathy in order to leave healthy digital footprints, and to avoid pitfalls of social media.

Personal Organization and Accountability

Be Proactive and Put First Things First

This session is designed to help students be proactive in getting to know the Clarence Middle School building. Students will engage in activities to familiarize themselves with their peers, lockers, and classroom locations within the building. Students will get to know their peers through icebreakers and a team building CMS scavenger hunt.

Social and Emotional Learning

Think Win Win, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw

This session will teach students how to reflect on their own feelings, experiences, and values to better take care of themselves and each other. Students will share ideas in social circles and team building activities that will allow them to overcome the challenges of the middle school years. They will learn about the resources at CMS that are devoted to the well-being of all students.


Students should be dropped off and picked up in the front of the building. Students will be welcomed by orientation teacher leaders who will direct students to the South Cafeteria for a large group welcome, followed by the four interactive sessions outlined in the chart above. As we get closer to the day, we will post details about what to bring to orientation or how to access materials if your student cannot attend. 

If your student needs bus transportation for our orientation program, please visit Clarence Middle School’s website by mid-July to sign up.  

Phase 4:  Optional Summer Schedule Walkthrough (Summer)  

In the past we have found students feel comfortable and ready for school after orientation. However, we recognize some students would want additional time to walk their schedule with a parent or caregiver. We are in the process of identifying a day to open the building for this. We will notify you with a date and sign up for this event immediately after orientation. 

Phase 5:  Open House (Fall)

In September, parents and caregivers of 6th grade students are invited into the middle school for a large group presentation and an opportunity to meet teachers. More information about this event is forthcoming once the school year begins. The purpose of this event is to come together to better understand today’s middle schoolers, visit spaces that become important to your student/s, and to meet teachers.

Clarence Middle School is a great place to be and we cannot wait to welcome you to our school!


Elizabeth A. Chelus

CMS 6th Grade House Principal