For the fourth year, Pittsburg High has welcomed its freshmen with open arms and a slew of accommodating upperclassmen.

The recent frosh orientation event was lead by LinkCrew, a "bridging program" that offers freshmen a smooth transition to high school, according to Connie Senna-Spinnato, vice principal. "This program gives students solutions with real-life issues."

A mandatory freshmen event, it features Link Leaders (upperclassmen) assigned to an incoming student.

Senna-Spinnato said freshmen get "the necessary support to successfully navigate this most important year," adding that studies show the first year is the most crucial to ensuring success as they continue in high school.

Every freshman is assigned a Link leader, who checks in with them weekly, along with LinkCrew activities throughout the year. "LinkCrew also builds leaders," she said. "Most ninth-graders become Link Leaders in their junior and senior years."

About 700 students attended the orientation, which included a welcome rally, team-building activities, small group role play and a tour of the school. The day ended with a barbecue. "It was a great day and the biggest turnout we've ever had. The students loved it. It was very positive."

ROLL PLAY: You simply just have to show up, and there's a chance you'll get a party.

That's the big ticket item being offered to students at Iron House Elementary.


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While the attendance program isn't new, there is a new theme and ideas to motivate students at the Oakley school, said Rusty Ehrlich, principal.

"It's a Whole New Ballgame" kicked off in July. Teachers and staff are reminding students "daily how important it is to be at school," he said.

There are monthly rewards for best class attendance, and individual incentives every trimester. At the end of the year, the class with the best overall record will score a water slide party.

Ehrlich is not only excited about emphasizing the importance of attending school, but being back in his childhood school district. At six years old, Ehrlich and family moved to Oakley, where he attended Gehringer Elementary and the then-Oakley Middle.

In his first year as Iron House principal, he said he's happy to be back in the city where his parents still live in the house he was raised. "Getting back to Oakley has been a long-term goal for me. It's like a dream come true."

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. Note: Trine also does community outreach for Antioch High.