What is it?
Youth regularly go through transitions – changing grade levels, changing schools, transitioning from school to work – however, such transitions are often left out of schools efforts to support students.
Schools need to address transitions proactively in order to enhance their own goals of supporting youth development. Examples of transition opportunities include welcoming new arrivals, providing ongoing social supports as students adjust to new grades or new schools, and using before and after-school and summer activities to support students’ academic and social-emotional development to promote success in school.
A well-designed transition plan can help alleviate the anxiety and confusion and restore a sense of belonging that students felt at their old school, or old grade.
Transition programs can include a variety of activities, but some essential components include providing students and their family with information about the new school, providing students with social support, and bringing school personnel (elementary to middle, middle to high school) together to learn about one another’s curriculum and requirements.
In designing transition programs it is important to include all groups involved, including educators, families and students. Youth can be very effective in designing programs to support their peers because at one point they were in transition too. Involve second year students to help develop and carry out transition programs. Families who have successfully transitioned into the school can be a support for entering families – answering questions, providing suggestions, helping with orientation, among other things.
The Boomerang Project includes information about both middle school and high school transitions, including resources, research and data.
The report ‘Easing the Transition to High School: Research and Best Practices Designed to Support High School Learning’ has materials from the National High School Center including fact sheets, policies and snapshots.
This list of resources regarding transition programs, grade articulations and welcomes includes articles, resources and materials. It is supported by the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA.