Home' Island Sun : ISN 080715 Contents ISLAND SUN - AUGUST 7, 2015
by Shelley M.
My son is
going from middle
school to high
school in August
and I know this
could be a difficult
transition. What can
I do to help him?
Jory S., Sanibel, Florida
Transitioning to a new school can be
an exciting but stressful time even when
the change is positively anticipated, such
as “graduating” to the next school level.
Facing the unknown can cause anxiety.
The high school environment tends
to be larger, potentially less nurturing,
more departmentalized, more competi-
tive and more demanding academically.
Additionally, students are expected to be
more independent academically, and their
social lives will become more complex
Understandably, parents can feel con-
cerned about how their child will adjust to
these changes. Luckily, there are many
ways for parents to help smooth the tran-
sition and support their child’s academic
and social success in their new school:
It is important to understand the typi-
cal concerns related to moving to a high
• Environment: Finding lockers, find-
ing lunchrooms and bathrooms, getting
through crowded hallways, getting to
class on time.
• Workload: Keeping up with materi-
als, new grading standards and proce-
dures, more long term assignments, lack
• Social: More peer pressures (i.e.,
cliques, dealing with older students and
students from other schools), social imma-
• Schedule: Remembering which class
to go to next, more teachers, no recess,
no free time.
• Other: Reduced parent involvement,
accepting more responsibility for their
own actions, unrealistic parental expecta-
tions, coping with adolescent physical
Parents can help their child prepare
for and become comfortable with their
new school environment:
• Emphasize positive aspects of
middle/high school: With the move will
come more opportunities for individuality,
freedom and increasing choice in elec-
tive courses and extracurricular activities.
There will be more opportunities to find
friends with common interests.
• Teach study skills: Help students
begin to self-regulate by breaking down
large tasks into manageable pieces and
provide guidelines so students can moni-
tor their own progress.
• Schedule tours of the new school:
If the student did not have a tour of the
new building, schedule one over the sum-
mer prior to the start of school. If your
school offers an orientation session, make
a point to attend.
• Encourage participation: Whether in
extracurricular activities, extra-help home-
work programs, or school social/sports
activities, students should be encouraged
to seek these out as an opportunity to
meet new people.
• Continue or increase parental
involvement: If you have concerns, don’t
wait for the school to contact you. Look
out for regular newsletters and other
forms of communication home regarding
events at the school.
• If your child has special needs, dif-
ficulty with normal transitions, or is just
learning English, you may want to meet
with your child’s current and new teach-
ers to identify and develop skill building
strategies that meet your child’s specific
needs. Preventive transition planning can
go a long way to minimizing or eliminat-
ing adjustment problems when the school
Adapted from Transition from
Elementary to Middle School:
Strategies for Educators by Valerie
Niesen and Paula Sachs-Wise, in
Helping Children in Home and School II:
Information for Parents and Educators,
Shelley Greggs is adjunct faculty at
Florida SouthWestern State College,
where she teaches psychology and
education courses. She is also a nation-
ally certified school psychologist and
consultant for School Consultation
Services, a private educational consult-
ing company. Questions for publication
may be addressed to smgreggs@gmail.
com. Not all questions submitted can
be addressed through this publication.
The Florida Department of Health
in Lee County is asking all parents
of students entering seventh grade
to update their children’s immunizations
now before the rush. Public schools start
in Lee County August 24.
“Taking care of these important immu-
nizations now will ensure everyone gets
to enjoy the first day of seventh grade as
they should,” said Kim Wester, immuniza-
tions manager for DOH-Lee. “We also
recommend meningitis and HPV vaccines
when they get their seventh grade Tdap
booster to prevent devastating and unnec-
essary illnesses in the future.”
All students entering seventh grade
must have a Tdap booster before attend-
ing classes. Students not properly immu-
nized by the first day of classes will be
sent home. See your private provider,
or come to DOH-Lee for vaccines or to
update a child’s shot record.
All vaccines for children 18 years old
and younger are free, and administered
without appointments from 8 a.m. to
3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Friday at DOH-Lee,
3920 Michigan Avenue in Fort Myers.
Parents must bring their child’s immuniza-
Beginning August 10, the immuniza-
tion clinic will open an hour earlier at
7 a.m. and remain open to 3:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday. The extended
hours will end at 3:30 p.m. Monday,
Avoid long lines, and make sure your
child has everything needed to start
school on time by getting required immu-
nizations now. Limited appointments are
available by calling 461-6100.
Golisano Children’s Hospital of
Southwest Florida, in partnership
with Ronald McDonald House
Charities of Southwest Florida, offers a
free monthly autism spectrum disorder
screening for toddlers 18 months to 5
years of age.
The next screening on the Ronald
McDonald Care Mobile will be held on
August 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
the North Fort Myers Recreation Center,
2000 North Recreation Parkway, North
It is estimated that one in every 68
continued on page 41
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