Transition to middle school

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007

To the Editor:

The transition to middle school is characterized by several changes in education and social expectations of students.

Once pupils get to middle school, classes are harder, homework increases, and class assignments are varied.

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This is often a complicated period marked with a decline in academic achievement for some youth.

However, many students adjust well with the movement from the fifth to sixth grade.

The Selma City School system has a comprehensive middle school transition plan.

The School of Discovery Genesis Center (sixth grade campus) offers a tuition-free summer enrichment program for students making the transition from the fifth to sixth grade. The students attend classes one-half day for six weeks.

They receive instruction in the disciplines of reading, English, science, social studies, and mathematics.

The faculty at the School of Discovery Genesis Center realizes the importance of the transition to the middle school. Research indicates a comprehensive program includes:

Helping students form a realistic expectation of what middle school will be like.

Providing a positive and successful first impression.

Ensuring a successful introduction to the middle school experience.

Parents, too, can assist in making the transition from elementary to middle school a positive experience.

According to an article titled, “Transition to Middle School – A Parent’s Guide,” parents should:

Provide young children with manageable tasks that will help them develop organizational skills and responsibility.

Encourage children to try new things and to regard failure as a necessary part of learning and growing.

Become knowledgeable about the needs and concerns of young adolescents in transition.

Help children turn their anxieties into positive action by learning about school rules, schedules, locker procedures, and the availability of counseling.

Attend school functions and stay involved in children’s schooling.

Support children in their efforts to become independent.

Maintain strong family connections with young adolescents.

Be alert to signs of depression or anxiety in their children and seek help.

Observation shows that an incoming student who lacks organizational skills and is irresponsible finds it difficult to adjust to the School of Discovery’s environment.

A well-planned transition program helps parents and students to relieve the stress during the summer before middle school and assists in insuring a successful beginning of the middle school journey.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery