Science teacher Nancy Cripe has taught both middle- and high-school students, and she helps explain for freshmen how their new academic experiences will be different.

High school transition

Science teacher Nancy Cripe has taught both middle- and high-school students, and she helps explain for freshmen how their new academic experiences will be different.

Help for the high school transition

By Meara Cummings

Talon staff writer

Freshmen, this one’s for you! Middle school is a thing of the past for you guys, and high school is an exciting and new experience. The new schedules, teachers, and upper classmen to deal with can prove to be challenge enough, but with new curriculum on top of that, you guys have a lot on your plate. Surely you’ve heard multiple times that eighth grade is the “transition year” to help you on your academic journey. But have you ever wondered what teachers actually are doing behind the scenes to help you to have a smooth move from middle school to high school?
“I try and make assignments more and more painfully obvious each year,” said Sam Meyers, Foundations of Chemistry and Physics teacher. “I have a website set up where I post all the homework, I have a calendar with the schedule, and I have every worksheet, every lab manual, everything imaginable on the website now in addition to writing assignments on the board. I try and foresee any challenge the students would have with finding homework, or forgetting where something is, or when it’s due and I try and put that on the website. I also reference that one website over and over and over again in my classes, so if they forget everything else I tell them, they can go to the website and still have a good idea of what’s going on in class. I do this to help with their organizational skills.”

“Organization is one of those necessary things that students need to have in order to balance the greater freedom with what they need to accomplish academically,” said Nancy Cripe, science teacher and former curriculum director at the upper school. “Students need to learn how to organize their materials in order to be successful.”

Teachers are striving to help you keep organized. They want you to be successful in high school and begin to take more responsibility and be more accountable for your work.

“I know there’s more freedom in the upper school and some ninth graders take a while to adjust to that,” said Elaine Ekstedt, director of student support at both South and North campuses. “They’re pretty happy at first because it feels so free and then they get their first set of Edline grades and that happiness sometimes goes away just because they aren’t adjusted to that freedom yet. There are a lot of students who haven’t needed good study skills throughout middle school because the material was easier for them to process. But now the volume of new material and the speed at which it’s delivered challenges them to wrestle with ideas and think about things in depth.”

This transition is not an easy one. With the schedule change, the classes are longer and change from day to day. Being able to manage your free time is an essential skill to have. Getting an early start on projects and homework is highly recommended.

“The transition has been a positive one,” said freshman Katie Chamberlain. “We definitely have more freedom, and with more freedom comes more pressure to keep up with our work.”

Freshmen year is filled with new and exciting things like Flex time and breakfast at school, but another new and exciting part of freshmen year is the opportunity for success. This success comes through responsibility and good time management. High school gives you more freedom, but in order to enjoy this freedom, a good amount of work is work is needed.

“I feel more accomplished and independent with the responsibility put upon me,” said freshman Sam Mullinix. “Overall, high school is a great opportunity to gain more study skills and meet new people!”

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About Meara Cummings

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