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Posted May 13, 2016

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Transitions

"As we celebrate the end of this school year, let’s work on drumming up excitement for next year, too," Supt. Reedy tells employees in her weekly message.

Transition ceremony at the Eldorado preschool program.

Superintendent Reedy's message to employees on Friday, May 13, 2016

I remember as an elementary school principal having mixed emotions this time of year.  Even as we celebrated the end of the school year with field trips and parties and transition ceremonies, I knew that many of our students were feeling anxious about next year. Soon they would be leaving familiar territory – sometimes a classroom, sometimes a school – not knowing exactly what the future had in store for them.

While I suspect most of our students have at least some trepidation about moving from grade to grade, this change can be especially uneasy for our fifth graders who are heading to middle school and our middle schoolers who are heading to high school.

In fact, statistics show that we lose most of our students during these level changes: to smaller charter schools, to private schools, or – in the worst cases – to disillusionment as these children struggle to find comfort and support in their new surroundings.

That’s why it is important for those of us who work in schools to help students prepare for transitions – even if we consider them minor like moving out of the kindergarten wing or the freshman academy, or transformative, like changing schools.

We can start by opening our doors to up-and-coming students. Encourage them to visit your classroom, tour the campus, meet the staff.  

If they can’t come to you, send ambassadors to them – students who were in their shoes not that long ago who can assure them that it really is going to be OK.

Most importantly, talk to them and listen. Let them ask questions. Help them imagine what next year is going to be like. Walk virtually down the halls with them to alleviate their fears and concerns.

I know you care about our students, and I know you – like me – want what’s best for them now, tomorrow, next school year and in the future. For that I am appreciative. So, as we celebrate the end of this school year, let’s work on drumming up excitement for next year, too.  

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