Thursday, August 28, 2014



Okay.  Let's play a game.  I want you to sit back in your favorite chair and get into a nice and comfortable sitting position.  Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  Now I am going to present a word and I want you to think about all the thoughts that come to mind.  Ready for it….ok: MIDDLE SCHOOL.  As I am typing this, I am very curious as to the thoughts that have appeared in your minds.

Let's discuss the elephant in the room.  The transition from elementary school to middle school is fraught with negative thoughts, both on the part of new fifth graders as well as their parents and guardians who love them and want the best environment for them.

Comments I have often heard from families are: "…but the school is just too big", and "How will my son do all the homework", and "I want to make sure my child isn't lost in the shuffle".

Comments I have often heard from students are: "Who will I sit with at lunch", and "How will I find where my classes are", and "How will I be able to do all the work", along with concerns about lockers, how the food tastes, and feeling as if they are at the bottom of the proverbial fish bowl.

The transition from elementary school to middle school is a big stepping stone for children and their families.  It is a time in children's lives where they are learning to be more independent, learning to rely on themselves, learning to self-advocate versus waiting to be advocated for, as well as the small and insignificant experience of beginning to learn who you are as a person while at the same time going through puberty (insert sarcasm here).

I want you to re-read the concerns from 5th graders coming into middle school above.  What follows are comments I have often heard from 5th graders after a few weeks of being at the middle school: "I love how much independence we have here", "I love not having to walk with a teacher from class to class", "I thought homework was worse in 4th grade".  I decided to put these comments here to emphasize the point that while transitions and new beginnings can be scary, they can be adjusted to and overcome.

There are ways to make this transition easier and make adjusting to a new set of routines less stress inducing.  Below, please find some tips to make this transition go smoothly.


*Listen to your child - let them know they are not alone, instead of saying "it will all be ok" try just listening and acknowledging what your child is nervous about and that you (and us here at Wilson!) are here to support/help them through it.
*Encourage your child to be organized, using their agenda, keeping their binders/folders cleaned out and planning for long term projects.
*Join extra-curricular activities to get involved here at Wilson and meet some new people.
* Students have been in school a few days (but have not started their normal schedules yet), check in and see what worries/anxieties they might still have and who might have an answer to their questions (see contacts below)
*Encourage your student to ask for help from their teachers! This is a great opportunity to foster self-advocacy skills. Most teachers stay late after and are available a few days after school each week.
*Establish good routines at home - is there a time and place for homework?
*Guidance counselors!! Support your child in seeking them out if they have questions.
*Technology is a large part of middle school - between ipads and 1:1 computers by 8th grade, boundaries at home are obviously up to your discretion but remember technology is a privilege and can be monitored.
*When communicating with your child after school to avoid the frustrating "I don't know" answers try asking specific questions, "Who did you sit with at lunch?", "Who is your favorite teacher so far?"


Making this transition can be a process and the transition experience will look different from child to child.  If you have any concerns about your child's transition as they experience their first few weeks of being a middle schooler, please feel free to contact either your child's TEAM or their guidance counselor.  Below, please find a listing of the guidance counselors at Wilson Middle School by grade.

Adam Gray    
5th Grade (all Teams) and 7th Grade (Team Respect and Team Team Responsibility)

Nicole Papasso
6th Grade (Team Romans and Team Greeks) and 8th Grade (all Teams)

Maria Meisner   
6th Grade (Team Sumerians) and 7th Grade (Team Accountability)