Transition to high school success

For Abbotsford-area students who said goodbye to elementary school earlier this year, this fall represents a critical transition...

For Abbotsford-area students who said goodbye to elementary school earlier this year, this fall represents a critical transition to high school.

High school means new beginnings, experiences and challenges. And while these changes – new friends, teachers and school environment – can be exciting, they also can be a bit unnerving.

“The transition can be exhilarating and full of promise, but it also can cause some measure of anxiety,” said Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., senior vice-president of education outreach for Sylvan Learning.

“During this single year, a new high school student must assimilate, make new friends, set goals, establish habits and attitudes, select courses, discover talents and interests, learn new skills, and begin to build confidence in this new environment. Making sure a child handles this year well should be an important goal for parents.”

Here are some of the most daunting changes local students will encounter during this first year of high school, and some tips on how to work through them.


New environment

The locker scare: One of the biggest concerns incoming high school students have is the locker. Instead of lugging their stuff around in one bag, students now have a place to store everything safely. The best part about the locker is being able to personalize it with photos, drawings, magazine clippings, and anything else that makes it feel comfortable. Ease locker fears by purchasing a combination lock and practice before school starts.

New school: If your student has to go to a new school, it may seem overwhelming at first. Explore the school’s website with your child, or better yet – explore the new school. The better your child understands the school layout and rules, the easier the first day will be. Many schools have tours and orientation days.

New schedule: With different classes in different rooms on different days, high school schedules can seem confusing during the first few weeks. A few weeks before school begins, check with your school to see when schedules are ready so that your child can have some time to get comfortable with the new routine. Encourage him to ask a teacher or other school staff for help.


New academic tools

Time management: Work together on a schedule and develop an organizational system with your student. Acknowledge and make allowances for anxiety. At first, your student may need to carry everything for all classes all the time in order to feel prepared.

Skills preparation: Summarizing, paraphrasing, and identifying main or important ideas and details are three skills that are essential. After reading a book or watching a show, have kids orally summarize what happened, or have them recount the most important events.

Note-taking: The workload and pace really pick up in high school, so note-taking is going to be critical.  Start encouraging your child to develop a method of shorthand.

Writing grocery lists and directions are simple ways for kids to practice.

Show them your own writing shortcuts. Note-taking is not automatic; the more examples kids see, the quicker they’ll acquire the skill.


Social concerns

New friends:  One crucial area of worry for high school students is the social scene. You can help ease their trepidation by opening lines of communication and providing a sympathetic ear. Kids’ worries and concerns about fitting in and making friends may seem trivial to adults, but for kids, these worries often trump academics. Listen to their concerns and advise them on basic social skills. Encourage them to join group conversations. Discuss how to join in without interrupting, to add something relevant to conversation.

Socializing online: Online use of social media will ramp up during high school. The average teenager sends over 3,000 text messages a month. Make sure your kids understand what they say and do online may come back to hurt them – or hurt others. Set guidelines for use of social media. Make sure you are able to regularly monitor your child’s access to text messaging and social media sites like Facebook. Increased awareness allows parents to step in and talk to their children before issues spiral out of control.

Just Posted

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat greets fans outside of the Abbotsford Centre prior to the Canucks exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators in 2019. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
More jobs posted for Abbotsford AHL team

Five new opportunities accepting applicants, Comets forward Lukas Jasek signs in Finland

Singer Ben Cottrill performs during the 2019 Arty Awards at The Reach Gallery Museum, the last time the event was held in person. Cottrill received the award in the performing arts category. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Nominations now open for 2021 Arty Awards

Annual event hosted by Abbotsford Arts Council, with ceremony Sept. 25

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read