DEAR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS,
There is a cultural mythology that says parents should distance themselves from their children’s school experience when they enter high school. We know, however, that the transition between 8th and 9th grade is a significant one. It is normal to feel some anxiety about moving from middle school to high school. Students and parents often experience the same emotions: excitement, tempered by curiosity and caution. Please know that we invite parents and guardians to stay actively involved in their children’s academic and social lives throughout their high school years.
Every year high school leaders look at what we do to make that transition successful and confer with the middle schools to try to improve the process. We have asked parents who have one or more students at District 204 high schools to think about what advice they would give to parents of incoming freshmen or to the freshmen themselves. Here is what they said:
“Even though the school seems big, don’t be afraid to call the teachers or their department chairs with a concern. They really want to help with your personal concern and will appreciate the call.”
“It really helped my three kids to get involved in a fall sport or activity. In sports they start before the school year, and it gives them a chance to make friends and break the ice.”
“I tried to be aware of my kids’ friends and help them pick positive influences. Peer influence makes a big difference.”
“Communication. Call the school because no question is too small. Talk with other parents, too, and network with them.”
“Clear your schedule because you need time and emotional energy for what’s going on with your teen.
“Parents should stay involved and engaged with their kids even though teens are more independent.”
“Don’t be naive or over-accusatory. Your kids face the same temptations as everybody else’s. It’s easy to break a trust and hard to rebuild it.”
“Don’t believe stories about how lenient other parents are. If in doubt, call other parents.”
“If students have the ability, they should take the challenging classes. Be realistic. Don’t take the easiest path.”
We wish you well in your transition to the high school experience and hope these bits of practical advice from fellow parents will help you.