Transitioning to Middle SchoolGrade 5 to Grade 6 Linda Michaelman Pam Connors Middle School Counselors Burrillville, RI June 24, 2007
What The Research Tells Us About Transition to the Middle Grades Academic Performance • Decline in achievement for those students who are not academically motivated • Achievement scores may be affected by the context of transition to middle school • Students who are grouped into teams during their transition year perform better on standardized tests than those in departmentalized classes • Younger students are more vulnerable to declines in GPA • The more transitions a student has negatively impacts GPA • Most at risk for problems during transition are young girls of lower socioeconomic status
Perceptions of School • Satisfaction of school life declines from elementary to secondary grades, especially during the transition to middle school. This decline occurs regardless of academic ability. • Peer social support is the key to a successful adjustment. • Students who were disruptive/aggressive in elementary school have more negative attitudes toward school. • Students’ ratings of math and sports activities decline . • Students who were truant in elementary school have very negative attitudes toward school, view their current teachers as unfriendly, authoritarian, and unresponsive to their needs are the most at risk population of any studied.
Self-Perceptions • The greatest decline in self-esteem and stability of self-image is most evident in sixth graders moving to a middle school setting. Reasoning: Students feel that parents, teachers, and peers view them less favorably than in the past. • Girls seem to be particularly vulnerable to declines in self-esteem in transition situations compared to those in K-8 settings. Reasoning: Self-esteem is magnified by other significant life changes like onset of puberty, introduction of dating relationships, change in residence, or parents’ marital status. • Students who had low self-perceptions of academic performance prior to transition suffered greatest declines in perceived competence after transition. • Students with highest ratings were able to regulate the stress of transition and reduce the negative impacts on self-esteem • For girls, being somewhat older than their classmates helped in the adjustment.
Characteristics of Young Adolescents SOCIAL Have a strong need to belong to a group Exhibit immature behavior because their social skills lag behind their mental/physical maturity Are in search of self Desire recognition for their efforts and achievements Like fads Overreact to ridicule, embarrassment, and rejection Are socially vulnerable PHYSICAL Experience rapid, irregular growth Undergo bodily changes that may cause awkward, uncoordinated movements Have varying maturity rates Experience restlessness/fatigue Need daily physical activity Often lack physical fitness Have poor eating habits Develop sexual awareness
Characteristics of Young Adolescents INTELLECTUAL Transitioning from concrete to abstract thinking Curious and have a wide range of intellectual pursuits Prefer active over passive learning Respond positively to opportunities to participate in real-life situations Have a strong need of approval/may be easily discouraged Are inquisitive/often challenge authority EMOTIONAL Experience mood swings Need to release energy Seek to become increasingly independent Are concerned about peer acceptance Tend to be self-conscious Believe that personal problems, feelings, and experiences are unique to them Exhibit intense concern about physical growth and maturity
Recognizing the Implications Student Needs vs. School Environment Students need a combination of skill training and social-emotional learning. Schools are responsible for providing them with experiences that meet four essential areas: Contributions Belonging Talents Life Skills What does all this mean? The key to a successful transition is in Personalization of: Instruction Assessment Environment
What Schools Can Do Establish an effective and comprehensive transition program that: • Builds a sense of community • Responds to the needs and concerns of the students • Provide appropriate, faceted approaches to facilitate the transition process and continue activities/opportunities throughout the year
Why We Do What We Do • Nationally ASCA, No Child Left Behind • Statewide RISCA, RI High School Reform Act • Locally K-12 Developmental Guidance Program, GLE/GSE’s, SALT Report (School Accountability for Learning and Teaching), SIT (School Improvement Team) Reports, District Strategic Plans (Goal for 2007 Decreasing Drop out Rate)
Remember Teddy??? • Developmentally responsive schools play a major role in alleviating some of the problems of transition. • When young adolescents are provided withinspiration,imagination,joy,optimism,humor,love,support, firmness,safety,clear values,and most importantlyrespect,the transition can serve as a catalyst for positive growth in their journey from adolescent aspirations to adulthood accomplishments.
School Counseling Mission Statement Home of the Mustangs • The mission of the Burrillville Middle School Developmental Counseling Program has been developed to promote, nurture, and ensure that each student in the Burrillville Middle School acquires the competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) needed for academic achievement, educational and career planning, personal/social development and for cultivating a lifestyle of wellness with a balance of learning, working, recreation, and family involvement needed in preparation for meaningful participation as a self-directed, lifelong learner in an ever changing global society
Goal and Objective • Essential Learning • Cross walking (Tech/Eng/Band/Chorus/Art) • Engaging School Psych/Stud assistance Counselor • Gathering data • Teacher input
Orientation Day Slide show presentation developed by technology education students
Guidelines for TransitionPrograms • Provide activities that will involve students, parents, teachers, and staff from schools in the transition process. • Establish a transition protocol that can be easily replicated and updated annually with little effort. • Establish a timeline for the transition process. • Schedule meetings between collaborative groups from sending and receiving schools and discussions for adults and students about the issues. • Assess the human and financial resourcesavailable to support the transition process. • Identify adult and student leaders from all schools and constituencies to help with the transition. • Ask students, teachers, school counselors, parents and others to evaluate the transition program.
Activities to Facilitate Middle School Transition/Timeline A comprehensive transition program includes activities that involve administration, parents, counselors, students, and staff • February • Coordination of dates/schedules • Initial contacts to administration • Grade 6 Academic teachers • Band/Chorus • Reading Specialists • Technology teacher • Grade 5 teachers • Schedule transition IEP/504 meetings • March • Obtain Gr. 5 class lists • Gr. 6 English classes-Pen Pal Letters • Technology teacher “Welcome” PPT • April • Students exchange pen pal letters • Finalize dates for Math and Reading placement tests • Meet with Grade 5 teachers • Receive student information • Finalize orientation dates/agenda • Arrange transportation for students
Transition Timeline cont… • Gr. 5/6 teachers collaborate (instructional practices, student needs) • Orientation Days • Schedule 2nd visit for high anxiety students (School Psychologist) • Grade 5 Parent Orientation Night/Student Improvement Team Q&A • Gr.6 Ambassadors train Grade 6 peers who have turned in permission slips • June/July • Gr. 6 Ambassador Recognition Ceremony/Ice Cream Social • Gr. 6 Ambassadors receive caseloads • Summer Reading lists sent home with report cards • Building open for informal visits • Schedules/Materials lists/”Shifting Gears” welcome packet mailed home • Ambassadors make contacts with incoming students • Informal Open House Days with Admin./Counselors • May • Visit Gr. 5 classes • “What Counselors Do” • What to expect now • Students generate ?’s about BMS • Grade 6 teachers nominate student ambassadors (6-10 per team) • Ambassadors prepare answers to fifth grade questions • Ambassadors prepare document, “Frequently Asked Questions About BMS” (copies for students/parents) • Counseling Newsletter • Transition activities/dates/information • Permission Slips for Ambassador Program sent to Gr. 5 & 6 students/parents • Train Gr. 6 Student ambassadors • Math/Reading placement tests
Transition Timeline cont… • August • Ambassadors make second contact • Faculty/Staff Orientation Days • Parent Meetings • District/Building/Subject Area/Team mtgs. • Grade 6 Orientation Night • September • Gr. 7 Ambassadors mentor Gr. 6 students (All students assigned a peer mentor) • Small Group Orientation/New Student Club/New Student escort • “No Taunting Pledge” • Learning Style Inventory • Oct-May • Study Skills Lessons • New Student Club • Small Group Counseling/Needs • Lunch Bunch • Volunteer Mentoring Program (Bryant College) • i-SAFE Lessons It is important to start a transition- Big or small Modify as the students’ needs change
“A Day in the Life” Video Richard Hull Middle School Duluth, Georgia
Cross Walking Essential Learnings School Counselor : The student will be able to identify support personnel in the middle school and their function. English #7 The student will design a variety of writing pieces including ….. #8 The student will use appropriate conventions of grammar such as punctuation…. Technology Education : The student will design, develop, and publish personal products using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom
“Welcome to BMS” Student-Generated Power Point Presentation
School #2 • Locker questions- 23 • Lunch questions-18 • Do the different teams have the same classes ? • Do you see your friends if they are on the other team ?-2 • Do you have recess/snack time ?-9 • When does school start/end? • How much time between classes/ length of classes/ number of classes • Who will help me if I’m confused on the first day ? • Do I have to join chorus/ band ? • Can I join a school sport team, attend dances ? • Is the work hard ? • Are there bullies ? Orientation Day Q & A School #1 • Lunches- top question-15 • Snack time/ recess –12 • Lockers-size/combination • Specials: how many/ when/ band/chorus? • How many teams for grade 6? • Do you have to take Spanish? • Location of classrooms/ rotation/ class length/ number of classes per day • Assigned seats • Amount of time between classes • What happens if I get lost ? • Supply list/ school sports. • Are the 8th graders mean ?
Legend 5=Yes 4=Somewhat 3=Somewhat 2=Somewhat 1=No Post SurveyResults-Students
Legend 5=Yes 4=Somewhat 3=Somewhat 2=Somewhat 1=No Post SurveyResults-Students
Post SurveyResults-Students Legend 5=Yes 4=Somewhat 3=Somewhat 2=Somewhat 1=No What does the data show us?
Post Survey Results-Teachers 06/07 • The results of the post survey and teacher comments shows us: • What they liked: • The way the program was organized to include speakers, audiovisual presentations, band/chorus concert, hands-on activities, meeting pen pals and touring the school. • What we can add to next year’s program: • Include the Food Nutrition Supervisor and the School Resource Officer as speakers • Allot more time for students to visit with pen pals and observe classroom instruction • Extend the length of the visit • Have lunch at the middle school • Ride the middle school bus • Considerations: • Benefits/Barriers/Funding
School Improvement Team Feedback • Present grade 6 parents • Q & A evening for grade 5 parents • Supply list available at the end of June • Principal letter addressing parental concerns • School Counselor Newsletter –Welcome to BMS
References Cited • National Association of Secondary School Principals, (2006) “Breaking Ranks in the Middle,” • Diemert, Amy, (1997) “A Needs Assessment of Fifth Grade Students in a Middle School”, University of Virginia • Mizelle, Nancy B., & Mullins, Elizabeth (1997) “Transition into and out of the middle school, What Current Research Says to the Middle School Practitioner,” National Middle School Association • Mullins, Emmett R., & Irvin, Judith L., M., (2000) “Transition Into Middle School,” Middle School Journal