Elementary School Students Given a Look at Future Home

Wide-eyed fourth-grade students emptied out of their buses and poured through the George Fischer Middle School doors Friday morning. Some waved hello to passersby in the school lobby. Others were greeted by hugs from well-wishing siblings or high fives from future teachers.

Although the students won't officially be middle schoolers until September, the visit provided them with a first look at their next home.

It was an integral part of a deliberate process to introduce young students from the district's three elementary schools to the building.

Fourth grade students sit on the gym floor during the activity

"Instead of doing the cannonball into the water, it's a gradual process - dipping your toes in, then going up to your knees, then eventually going all in," GFMS principal John Piscitella said. "Once the students realize what happens here, they acclimate pretty quickly."

There were nearly 300 fourth-grade students who participated in the sneak peek. They gathered in the GFMS gym and participated in team-building activities for about an hour before loading back onto the buses to return to their respective schools.

The students worked with fellow classmates and also mixed with future classmates from other elementary school buildings throughout the event.

"They're not physical activities, but more team-building - getting to know and getting to mesh with kids from other schools," Piscitella said.

The same students were first introduced to the school in the winter when they were invited to attend a concert, giving them a glimpse at GFMS' music program. Piscitella then visited each elementary school to set the fourth-graders' expectations.

To continue the process, GFMS will also host an orientation for parents and then culminate with a first-day-of-school orientation for the new fifth-graders in September. However, after Friday's meet-and-greet, there was already plenty of excitement about the future.

"I was told that they were one of the best groups we've ever had," Piscitella said. "Our physical education staff was very impressed with them. They like to give high fives. They are very excited."