The move from middle to high school stirs up many emotions for young adolescents, ranging from excitement and anticipation to fear and anxiety. It is natural for students to have numerous concerns related to the procedural and social changes associated with the transition. Many concerns will dissipate within the first weeks of school, while others can last into the second semester and beyond.
Procedural changes focus on the daily schedule, rules, and procedures students are expected to follow in high school. Examples of procedural concerns include finding their classes and other important parts of the school, following the bell schedule, learning the lunchtime rules and procedures, opening a locker, locating the bus, and adhering to school policies.
- Have students examine the bell schedule(s) and map of the high school.
- Make arrangements for students to tour their high school.
- Obtain a copy of the high school student handbook and create activities that focus on pertinent information.
Social changes primarily center on peer and teacher relationships along with extracurricular involvement. Students are concerned about keeping their middle school friends, making new friends, and establishing positive relationships with their high school teachers. They also want to know about the various extracurricular opportunities afforded to them at the high school level and how to get involved. There are many ways middle grades educators can assist with social transition changes:
- Have students look through high school yearbooks to see the variety of extracurricular activities available and help them learn how to get involved in particular activities (e.g., put them in contact with the sponsor/coach, provide information on tryouts).