“Connections” is a freshman transition program. We generally think of the transition being the one from middle school to high school and certainly that is an important transition, but connections goes beyond that. Mentors are students in their junior or senior year.
Our purpose is more than just making our ninth graders feel comfortable the first week. We want them to have the tools to be successful, well-rounded students all four years, beginning in ninth grade. Too many students don’t figure it out until later, and sometimes too late.
First week issues:
- Where’s my locker, classes, lunch?
- What do I need for certain classes: notebooks, etc.
- What is a syllabus?
- Where are my friends?
- Whom do I ask when I need help?
All year issues:
- What does it mean to be a successful student?
- What extracurricular options are there and how do I get involved?
- What kinds of social choices are positive/negative and what are the likely consequences?
- How am I expected to behave?
- Why should I care about grades/classes?
- What should I be thinking of now to help me later on?
- Invite incoming students to be a part of our school.
- Lead the ninth graders the first day.
- Inform them about our school community and how we behave.
- Serve as role models for the entire year.
- Be familiar faces who are approachable for help.
- Help bridge the gap between the grade levels. The fear of older students diminishes as a result of this first positive relationship.
- Bring the entire class together once each quarter for structured activities that reinforce the connections that were made the first day of school.
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