10 Steps for Creating a Smooth Transition to High School
Being in high school is a big change for teens. They have more independence and a wider range of classes and activities to choose from. But they also face more pressure to get good grades and to start thinking about the future.
You can’t take away all of the
stresses that come with starting high school—whether your child will be a freshman or is switching to a new school. But there are steps you can take ahead of time to make the transition go more smoothly.
Meet with the school.
The spring or summer before your child starts high school, schedule a meeting with the staff to discuss his learning and thinking differences. Encourage him to attend.
Remind your child about the importance of following
social rules. That includes thinking before he speaks and not interrupting. If those are weak spots for him, there are ways you can
help at home. You can also consider enrolling him in a summer social skills class.
Go to the orientation and tour the campus.
Get a map of the school and bring a copy of your child’s schedule. Help him find all of his classrooms now, before school starts.
Review the student handbook.
Go over the rules for student conduct with your child. If his learning or thinking differences might cause a problem with them, talk to school staff about it before the start of school.
Meet with teachers early.
Ask to meet with your child’s teachers a few weeks after he starts. Talk about his strengths and the areas where he may need help. Waiting until after the first marking period can hurt both his grades and his
self-esteem if things aren’t going well.
Suggest to your child that he
reach out for help on his own. That might include asking teachers for informal
or talking about his
plan, if he has one. Be supportive of his efforts, but stay involved to make sure he gets what he needs.
Provide summer structure.
Suggest summer activities that involve a schedule and responsibilities, such as band camp, sports teams or volunteer work.
Support summer reading.
Encourage your child to read over the summer. It doesn’t matter what it is—books, magazines online content. Reading anything during the long break can make his transition back to the classroom easier. It also can keep him from losing skills he’s already learned.