“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not thesame as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, thenew team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological processpeople go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change isexternal, transition is internal” -William Bridges from Managing Transitions
•Transitions cause students anxiety which canchallenge their coping skills.•More students fail ninth grade than any other grade ofschool in Oakland ~48%.•Poor and minority students are TWICE as likely asothers to be retained.•Among 14- and 15-year-olds who struggle with basicreading and math skills, 20% drop out of school withintwo years.•Students with extensive transitions programs havesignificantly lower failure and dropout rates.
•Becomes more self-aware/self-conscious. (social factor)•Thinking becomes more critical, complex. (Organizational factor)•Looks for acceptance more from peers, less fromadults. (social factor)•Needs independence, yet still rely on adults forsupport. (motivational/physical factor)•Takes more foolish risks to align with peers and avoidembarrassment. (Social factor)
Students’ perception of the quality ofschool life declines as the progress fromelementary to secondary school, withthe largest decline occurring during thetransition to a middle school (Diemert, 1992).
The top needs identified by transitioning middleschool students were: Boys had 11 top concerns: 6 were social, 2 were academic, and 2 were procedural. Girls had 10 top concerns: 5 were social, 2 were academic, and 3 were procedural.
In middle schools, it is important to emphasizemastery and improvement, rather than relative abilityand social comparison.Working in groups, focusing on effort andimprovement, and being given choices all support amore positive task-focused goal structure. --Anderman & Midgley, 1996
•Students greatest concerns: •Amount of homework •Class difficulty •Organizational Issues (Getting lost, lockers, schedule, resources)•Students look forward to: •Making new friends (possibility of a new identity) •Having more freedom •Attending school events
•Parents greatest concerns: •Peer pressure academically and socially•Parents identified academic ability as important tomaking it in school •Time management •Ability to stay on task •Social skills •Behavior
•Teachers believe students transitioning are concernedabout: •Pressure to perform well in class •Handling much more challenging courses •Difficulty making new friends -Akos and Galassi, 2004
Effective and comprehensive TransitionsPrograms help:•Build a sense of community•Respond to the needs and concerns of students•Provide appropriate, faceted approaches to facilitatethe transition process.
•In the spring semester, hold a High SchoolCurriculum Night for 8th Grade Parents•Invite High School Counselors to meet with 8thgraders and if possible have 8th graders visit the highschool and shadow a student.•Make 8th grade students aware of social andorganizational expectations, assignments and A-Grequirements.
•Provide students and families with a wealth ofinformation about the academic, social, andorganization of the new school.•Many other suggestions, but most are not in scope ofour program or ability; i.e. swapping teachers for a day.•At Edna Brewer last year, one of the clinical therapistsheld a program called RISE Up for 6th grade parents
•Hold parent workshops to inform parents of therequirements of the next level and how they can help•Actively seek parent volunteers and involve volunteersin the day-to-day activities of the school/program•Develop a Transitions Newsletter that parents receivein the first half of 6th grade and second half of 8thgrade.•Minimum of Quarterly phone calls, emails, or face-to-face contact with each parent/caregiver.
Effective Transitions Programs: • Address Academic Needs of Students • Actively Engage the Family/Caretakers • Provide an Introduction to the Next Level • Make In-roads to next level staff : Elementary- Middle-High-College • Teach Students Organizational and Procedural Requirements • Are Inviting and Build a Sense of Community • Are Invested in Motivating Students
“The success or failure experienced during thetransitions [to and from middle school] can be aturning point in the social and academic lives ofstudents.” -Schiller, 1999