FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Wednesday morning, some students in the Poudre School District are headed back to school. Aug. 16 is what the district calls “Transition Day” for middle and high school students.
Many districts are coming around to the idea that transitions are tough and kids might need a little extra time adjusting. Poudre School District is dedicating a day to doing just that, allowing new students to get the lay of the land before any school work starts.
Poudre School District said research shows the transition from middle to high school, and what happens during the freshman year, is as important as what happens for students in early childhood education.
High school is a completely different environment with a completely different set of expectations, so parents should expect and plan for an adjustment period, according to Undivided.
Poudre High School gave students a chance to go through their schedule and actually visit each of the classes they are going to be in and meet their teachers.
“Let’s practice what that first day is going to feel like, give them that experience so that when they show up again on the next day, they feel like they know what they’re doing and can approach it with more confidence. That confidence is just an easy setup for them to walk into the school year feeling good about themselves and feeling successful. We want them to carry that feeling throughout the year,” said Cass Poncelow, the engagement specialist at Poudre High School.
On transition day at Poudre High School, first-year students will meet mentors who are junior and senior student ambassadors. The first years have a freshmen seminar class they take all year where they are accompanied by one of these student ambassadors.
The district said research shows that mentoring is a critical component of student development, and the student ambassadors are also responsible for delivering all of the school’s social and emotional curriculum.
A conversation that is better communicated among peers.
“[The student ambassadors] are going to be the people that they’re talking to about suicide prevention, about mental health, about sexual assault prevention, dating violence, in addition to a lot of other more fun topics like self-advocacy and goal setting. But we want them to establish that connection right away. I recognize, you know, I can be whatever kind of cool, fun adult, but delivering that information from me as an adult is going to be not as well received as what they’re going to hear from a near-peer,” said Poncelow.
The next day, Aug. 17, when all the students come back they call it “No Backpack Day” which doesn’t necessarily mean students can’t bring their backpacks to school, but it’s a day where they don’t do any curriculum or school work. Instead of going over the syllabus for each class, the district said they’ll make connections and get to know the teachers and each other.