New Parent Orientation
A few years ago, we became aware of the need to educate the parents of our new students about the major transition their child and family would experience as they enrolled their boarding student at RVA. Parents seemed to be realizing the same thing and began to ask for help in this area. After several of us read and discussed The Happy Room (a fictional work by Catherine Palmer, an RVA alum, loosely based on her experience as an MK boarding at RVA), we agreed that one of the most important things we could do to enhance our students’ experiences here would be to invest in their parents. Thus, in 2002, the Counseling Department submitted a proposal to host a New Parent Orientation, combining the comments and suggestions of many staff, former students, and parents.
In 2005, this vision became a reality as we put together an orientation program that was packed full of valuable information and experiences. All new parents and students arrive the day before Arrival Day in August to be oriented and get settled before the returning students arrive. The New Parent Orientation has been such a success that we now include, on a first come, first served basis, families who have had other children at RVA but are enrolling a new student. Highlights of the orientation are our “Parenting from Afar” seminars, campus tours and opportunities to connect with RVA staff who will play a significant role in the lives of the students. Parents, students and staff agree that this time is so critical that we wonder why we didn’t start it sooner!