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Transition Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Administrators

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Eight elementary-age students are smiling, running out of the school building through three opened doors.

The end of the school year can be a nervous time for students, especially for those who will be making a major transition into elementary school, middle school, high school, or college in the fall. For these students, there are many curiosities and questions about academic rigor, managing a social life, handling 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 with useful information for all stakeholders -- parents, students, educators, and administrators -- to help support a 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

Lockers, Bell Schedules, and New Friends: Transitioning Into Middle School

  • Tips for Parents on a Successful Transition to Middle School: Middle school is a time of incredible growth for adolescent students, and these years have an impact on helping students gain and develop their sense of independence. This article from offers four comprehensive tips for helping middle schoolers grow socially and emotionally.
  • 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 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."
  • 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

Off to College and the Workforce

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Ryan Porter's picture
Ryan Porter
Co-Founder & CEO of

Thanks for the great list. Especially for including links to resources for the transition into high school. Those students are often overlooked.

Another group of students that is overlooked are the ones making the school-to-work transition. Approx. 45% of high school students DON'T go to college as the primary post-secondary destination.

It's one of the reasons we created We believe students going to work after high school deserve to be just as excited as the ones going to college.

Thanks for sharing the resources!!

Tamara S.'s picture

I think that many teens go from the comfort and familiarity of being a high school senior to being that new and obscure freshman. It is difficult and confusing and requires reframing on the part of the student. It would be nice if colleges could be more proactive in providing services and programs to alleviate some of that stress @ Victor_Hero_Vic

Tamara S.'s picture

I wish your son a smooth transition. I think that parental involvement and support can make the process an exciting and successful moment in a child's life. Best of luck. @ Jennifer Miller

Tamara S.'s picture

I feel that the transition to high school is a monumental experience. It is such a formative time in a young person's life and the first step that they take toward adulthood. I also agree that the college-to-work transition is a complicated step. Great post. @ Ryan Porter

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