The end of the school year can be a nervous time for students, especially those that will be making a major transition into elementary school, middle school, high school or college next fall. For these students, there are many curiosities and questions about academic rigor, managing a social life and coursework, and worries about using a combination lock. (It took me more than a couple of tries.)
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources on the web offering useful information for all stakeholders -- parents, students, educators and administrators -- that will help ensure successful transition to the next major stepping stone. Here are a few for each milestone in the K-12 pipeline and beyond.
The First Day of School: From Early Education to Elementary School
- Perspectives on Kindergarten: The Transition to Elementary School: This blog from Stanford University highlights strategies to help students prepare for kindergarten, but also includes tips for students entering their first year of elementary school. The article will certainly answer many questions about your child’s early education development.
- Transitioning to Elementary School: Tips and Strategies for Students with Disabilities: MyChildWithoutLimits.org highlights some great transition strategies to help students with special needs succeed in elementary school.
- Preparing Your Child for Elementary School: OneToughJob.org produced this blog offering some quick tips for helping your child transition into elementary school.
- Transitions to School: What Helps Children Succeed?: This post from the American Psychological Association features three strategies that can help students succeed in early learning programs, whether PreK or elementary school. One of the most insightful suggestions is for teachers to build strong parent partnerships, and there are several ideas for accomplishing that.
- Guiding Our Children Through School Transitions: Elementary School: Author Dr. Sharon Sevier provides some helpful tips for parenting your kids to enter elementary school, including at-home ideas and building your child's confidence. This is part of a series for Parent Toolkit, a parental resource center. (There are also guides for parents of students transitioning to middle school, high school, and college.)
Lockers, Bell Schedules, and New Friends: Transitioning Into Middle School
- Transition to Middle School From the NEA: Retired teacher Peter Lorain wrote this for the National Education Association, offering ideas for schools that can help elementary students transition successfully into middle school. Lorain also provides strategies that involve all stakeholders in the transition process.
- Making the Transition to Middle School -- How Mentoring Can Help: From the Department of Education, this guide provides plenty of tips and ideas for using mentoring to help students transition from elementary to middle school. The PDF guide also includes links to helpful outside sources, as well as summaries of the best research on the subject.
- Smooth Sailing to Middle School: Author Joy Jameson Lea, of the Association for Middle Level Education, provides practical tips and advice for incoming middle school students and their parents in this article. Another useful source from AMLE for teachers: "Welcoming Students to Middle School."
- Transition From Elementary to Middle School -- Strategies for Educators: Authors Valerie Niesen and Paula Sachs Wise provide transition tips for elementary and middle school educators. There are plenty of useful insights into helping students succeed.
- Helping Your Child Transition from Elementary to Middle School: Marie Hartwell-Walker highlights strategies for parents and students to successfully make the jump to middle school.
The Leap Into High School
- Helping Middle School Students Make the Transition Into High School: This comprehensive guide from Education.com has a lot of valuable ideas and strategies for educators and schools, offering tips for providing social, emotional, and academic support for incoming students. There are suggestions for connecting middle and high school educators and engaging parents.
- Ensuring Successful Transitions From the Middle Grades to High School: Ad Lit produced this blog, which features expert recommendations and examples of what a successful transition program might look like. There is great information here for parents, administrators, and educators.
- Middle School and High School Transitions -- Parent Resource Guide: This valuable guide for parents from Sylvan Learning is available for download. It features different strategies for dealing with transition realities -- like new social opportunities and new academic challenges. Also included are several discussion questions that parents and teenagers can talk through when preparing for middle and high school.
Off to College and the Workforce
- Transition to College -- How You Can Help Your High School Senior: CollegeParents.org produced this blog, featuring some helpful tips and food for thought for parents of high school seniors. It’s a great starting point for parents, and there's plenty here to help students start their post-secondary educations off right.
- High School to College Transition -- Three-Part Series: This Huffington Post series from Brian Harke, Dean of Students at the University of Southern California, is a great primer for parents of incoming college freshmen. First, Harke covers how to put some realistic expectations in place, and he also touches on academics and social challenges.
- Tips for Teens: How to Find Your First Real Job: How do you land that first job? Author Randall S. Hansen -- founder of Quintessential Careers, an online career development website -- provides a solid overview for teens in this QuintCareers.com article. Another great article from Hansen you should be sure to read: "Next Step After High School? Some Alternatives to College.
- Tips for Your Kids: Finding a First Job Out of School: How can parents help a high school graduate in the job search? This article from Healthline provides some practical tips and six steps that parents can help guide their kids through.
- Teaching Ahead: Preparing Students to Enter the Workforce: This feature from Education Week and the Center for Teaching Quality includes a series of articles related to career readiness in education. The panel features a range of topics, including options after high school, the role of community college, and the need for vocational training in education.