Moving to high school

This feature is aimed at helping students get ready for the upcoming school year.

Stephanie Bruner is an eighth-grade science teacher at Northwest Cabarrus Middle School on Northwest Cabarrus Drive.

Q. Moving from middle school to high school can be stressful for many students. How can they ease the transition?

Students need to think ahead of time how they are going to stay organized. They need to take everything they've learned through eighth grade and figure out what works best for them, and go in with a plan for organization before the school year even starts.

They need to find a calendar or agenda that works best for them. Typically in middle school, an agenda book is provided to them by the school or the PTSO. When you get to high school, you are on your own.

Also, in middle school, students have six classes a day that are approximately an hour long. In high school, they have 90-minute classes but they only have them for one semester, so they cover material a lot faster than they do in middle school. It's very important for students stay on top of their class work.

Q. How can parents help in the transitioning process?

Parent involvement is the key to a successful transition to high school. A lot of times, parents sometimes think, "Oh, they are older. They don't need me to be around." But they do. They may not always like it, but they need you to be there.

Over the summer, parents should take their kids and stop by the school. Go to the office and ask if you and your child can walk through the campus. It's not so overwhelming when there are not a lot of people around.

Make sure from day one that your child is a part of something, whether it's a sports team, ROTC, band, chorus or social club. It's really important that they belong to something, so they can start making friends that have similar interests as them.

Q. What can students look forward to their first year of high school?

They are not treated like babies. Students like that. They like that they are held accountable and they are treated more like adults, and they begin to understand the rewards and consequences for their actions.

Q. How can you tell if a student is ready for high-school-level coursework?

You would be surprised - students seem to mature over the summer between eighth and ninth grades.

A lot of times, it might take a first quarter or a bad first semester before students realize high school is serious work. But most students will step up and do well. It helps when they are involved in activities with like-minded people.