The student news site of Manchester High School.

Counseling – 8th to 9th Grade Transition

Transitioning to High School:  Tips to Help Prepare Middle School Students For High School


What Challenges Will Students Face?

Physical and emotional challenges:The move to Manchester high school means a move to a new building, with a greater number of students, new teachers, a new principal, new expectations, and a new, more rigorous academic and disciplinary system. In addition, the adolescent also has to cope with the developmental task of establishing independence from the family while at the same time maintaining family connections. At this stage of life, parents have less direct input into school activities and academic decisions.

Social challenges:Establishing new social connections, balancing work and social life, and, for some students, managing a part-time job, are some of the new demands faced by students entering high school. Pressure to experiment with or engage in alcohol, drug, and sexual activities is also often increased.

Academic challenges: Students are expected to have developed an assertive and efficient learning style, and good study and organizational skills. The transition into high school means entering into an academic environment which assumes that the student can take responsibility for decisions regarding academic tracks and course selection. The pressure of what to do after graduation and for many, college decisions, is also present.


How Does MHS Help Students Adjust to High School?

Manchester High school understands the difficult challenges facing Middle School students as they enter the High School. Therefore, we have developed many programs that combine Teacher, Staff, Parent, and Student collaboration in order to make the change less stressful for all involved. These include:

  • MHS hosts a visit during the winter of 8th Grade year, for students to participate in a Tour and Introductionto staff at the High School.
  • In addition, there is a Course Selection Night,which parents and students are encourage to participate in. During this evening event, families have the opportunity to take a tour of the building and learn about the different Academic Departments and Support Services available at Manchester High School.
  • Manchester High School has also implemented a new Orientation Program for entering freshman students. The first day of school for freshmen starts one day before the rest of the students return from summer break. New students are able to follow their new schedules, meet their teachers, and learn about all the opportunities available to them without the distraction of Upperclassmen.

Teachers and other staff at MHS are aware of the challenges typical at different points in a student’s academic career. Anticipating the causes of stress and normalizing the experiences for parents and students can be a first step in minimizing any negative impact. At Manchester High School, teachers and other staff are expected to keep in contact with parents. If parents have a question, every staff member has an email address, listed in the Handbook, or parents can call Parent Link to leave voicemail messages (647-5088).

A shift in the structure of the school day will be involved in the transition to Manchester High School, where we have a block schedule. We prepare students for this change during the previously mentioned programs. In addition, we provide a school planner, specifically designed for the block scheduling. This tool helps students to organize their time and hand in assignments when they are due.


What Can Parents and Caregivers do to Ease Student Anxiety?

Be interested and enthusiastic about their move to high school. Your encouragement will help your child to make a successful transition to High School. Listen to their experiences and expectations.

Attend the High School Course Selection Night. This program is designed to help parents and their children prepare for starting high school. Some children, because of pressure from their peers, will try to discourage their parents from attending orientation days. Being there will help you understand your child’s experiences better. Also keep a look out for other events at Manchester High School which may help students learn about what high school is like. Upcoming events will be listed on the NEWS page of the Guidance Website.

Make sure travel arrangements to and from school are organized. Organize travel passes. This will help settle some of the concern about independent travel. Talk about back-up travel arrangements, for example, what to do if a student misses a bus or has to be dismissed early.

Discuss the changes every student will experience. Emphasize that many people feel apprehensive about changing from a smaller middle school to a larger high school, and that there will be people to help them adjust. Encourage them to seek out support staff, such as their guidance counselor, a teacher, or a counselor in the Student Support Center.

Learn about school routines and timetables. Talking to student already enrolled at the school can be useful in finding out information about things such as sporting venues used by the school and school finishing times. The school will provide information before it’s needed.

Help your child to develop good study habits. Try to provide them with somewhere private and quiet to study. Help your child to set aside a particular time to study. Work out a daily timetable that incorporates all your child’s needs and interests. Regularly viewed TV programs, club activities and sport should all be part of the timetable. Ultimately they will need to manage their own study and they can guide you in what is helpful for them.

Practice organizational skills. In the first few weeks of high school you might want to check with your child that they have the right books for the following day. You will quickly encourage a good habit.

Discuss emergency and safety issues. Talk about these issues – including crossing roads or taking essential medication – simply and without emotion. Allow your child to contribute their views. Find out who the staff are at the school who can help them if they need it on issues such as medication.

Let your child know that you trust them and that they can trust you. Keep communication open about all your child’s experiences, and make sure they know you’re available if things go wrong.

Help your child set priorities. The expectations and responsibilities of high school will be quite different than what your child experienced in middle school. As more and more responsibility falls upon their shoulders, help your child evaluate the levels of importance they place upon their academic requirements versus social activities.


The student news site of Manchester High School.
Counseling – 8th to 9th Grade Transition