Transitions can be difficult for people of all ages, but particularly for kids when they are making big changes, like going from elementary to middle or high school. New schools can leave students feeling uneasy due to the unfamiliar environment, change in routine, and more challenging classes. They may be leaving friends behind as well, which could add an additional challenge of finding a new group of friends. As parents, there are many ways we can support our children during school transitions and set them up for success from the sidelines.
Academic Coaching Helps Students Adjust
Academic pressures change drastically as students move from primary to secondary and even as they transition to post-secondary education or vocational training. One way to support students is by utilizing an Academic Coach. Academic Coaching is when a student receives personalized support and guidance focused on improving overall academic performance, developing effective study habits, and achieving their educational goals. An Academic Coach helps students identify and address any challenges they may encounter in their learning process. Students get the most benefit from meeting with a one-to-one Academic Coach at least once per week. This allows the Coach to tailor their approach to meet the needs of students’ learning styles and individual challenges, helping students develop and utilize strategies that increase their executive functioning skills across all content areas.
Academic coaching is not limited to struggling students; even high achievers can benefit from coaching in order to maximize their potential and maintain consistent academic excellence.
It’s important to note that academic coaching is distinct from tutoring. While tutoring focuses on specific subjects or assignments, academic coaching is more comprehensive, addressing broader academic skills and personal development to improve overall academic performance and learning outcomes.
Coaches also hold students accountable by checking in with them on a regular basis to make sure they feel confident and supported in their coursework. When necessary, Academic Coaches can also collaborate with a student’s teachers and school support team in to ensure a holistic approach to the student’s academic development.
Maryland Teacher Tutors and The Teacher Tutors provide in-personas well as virtual Academic Coaching to students in the DMV area and beyond. To learn more about our Academic Coaching model click here!
Encouraging and helping students who are changing grades is crucial for their academic and personal success. Expectations change drastically from grade to grave. Think of the social and environmental differences between an elementary school experience and a middle school – students experience so many changes, from class structures, to schedules, to responsibility levels. Here are some effective ways to provide support:
- School Orientations for new elementary/middle/high schoolers: Attend the orientations with your student. This helps them become familiar with the layout of the building, practicing locker combinations, meeting teachers, walking through class schedules and more! This can help reduce student anxiety about the unknown.
- Peer Mentoring: If the school offers a peer mentoring program where experienced upperclassmen can guide and support freshmen, sign up for it! Peer mentors can share their own experiences, offer advice on navigating campus life, and provide academic tips.
- Wellness Support: Pay attention to your student’s mental and emotional well-being. Many schools offer free counseling services or workshops on stress management, mental health, and coping strategies.
- Encourage Involvement in Clubs and Activities: Encourage your student to join clubs, organizations, or sports teams that align with their interests. Involvement in extracurricular activities can help them make friends, build a sense of belonging, and enhance their overall experience.
- Parent and Family Involvement: Students may give off the impression that they are older and more mature than they really feel, due to insecurity or peer pressure. Show them support in ways that highlights their personality, interests, and strengths. Your child may appreciate an encouraging note in their lunch, while other students may love seeing family and friends cheer them on from the sidelines at their games. Learn the best way to show your student you are there for them.
Remember that each new school year and student is unique, so offering personalized support and understanding individual needs is essential for success. It’s important to remember that transitions are hard for everyone, but we can successfully overcome any challenges with empathy, patience, and understanding.
Tiffany Verhoosel is currently a Computer Science teacher in the Baltimore City School District. Coming from a background of business she joined the Baltimore City Teaching Residency over ten years ago to make the career change into education and has never looked back. Her degree from Johns Hopkins, a Master of Science in Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology, helped propel her from Special Educator to her current teaching position where she teaches Kindergarten to eighth grade students how to code.