Slideshow, story and photos by Jo Mathis
AAPS District News
Any transition can be hard, and high on a student’s stress meter is the move from elementary to middle school, followed a few years later by the step up to high school.
That’s why every May, the AAPS Transition Day allows fifth graders and eighth graders to visit and become more comfortable with the new schools they’ll attend come September.
Tappan social studies teacher Brit Satchwell smiled as he watched incoming eighth graders fill the cafeteria before they would break into tour groups led by staff and current Tappan students.
“I love this day!” said Satchwell. “We’re like farmers—we get a new crop every year, so this is springtime at Tappan. We get to see what sort of seedlings are sprouting and we’re going to start to nurture them next year.”
What concerns these fifth graders the most?
“I think they’re nervous about, `Am I going to fit in?’” said Satchwell. “They’re worried about the social landscape. And we have to address that. We have to realize that, and help them fit in and feel comfortable. `Am I going to keep my old friends? Am I going to make new friends?’ And right in second place is, `Is my locker going to get stuck? And will they call me tardy if my locker gets stuck?’”
Burns Park fifth grade teacher Sharon Pryce said her students were very excited to tour their new school, meet other kids, and see the teachers.
“I think (Transition Day) is a very good idea,” she said. “It lessens some of the anxiety for them so they know what to think about over the summer. They can physically see where they’ll be next year so they can start planning.”
One of her fifth graders, Reese Miller, said she’d been looking forward to Transition Day.
“I’m really excited to go here, so I wanted to learn how to get around the school,” said Reese, who looks forward to meeting new friends next year at Tappan.