Sophomores are not surviving the fall

Kennedy Stone, Staff Writer

I am not afraid to admit that I am a person who is not a big fan of change. It is a problem I have always had, but it has gotten better as I have grown older. One thing I definitely got used to was switching into new school buildings. This year I knew if I kept harping on the change I would not be ready for high school, but nothing over there could have prepared me for this. Maybe I just have terrible memory, but I do not remember anything from the 8/9 building that gave me much insight on what high school would be like. The teachers of both buildings play a huge part in the students’ preparation.
“I would like to think that the teaching methods are continually evolving from one year to the next year,” Laura Kacer, the former principal of the 8/9 building said. “Even though it’s just a walk across the parking lot, it’s a whole new world over there (the high school).”

There are many ways that teachers can prepare us, but all you will hear is that things will get ‘harder’ but they never tell us in what ways things will get harder. It would be better if they would give examples of how homework or tests will change. I know all teachers do things differently, but a little more communication would be nice. So, I am not so surprised when a teacher gives me an assignment that is due at the end of the period. The same thing stands for only getting a two day notice for a test or project. The assignments here are seriously different.

“It’s ironic because the topic just came up over here,” Lisa Boge said. “That is one of the things we talked about in the our last counselor professional development session. The transition is so huge, and what we are doing to support our ninth to tenth graders?”

However the students are sometimes just as guilty as the teachers. We do need help from the teachers so we can get information from them, that will always be true, but the students have to be willing to listen. Most of all, students need to take the transition seriously.
“I don’t think it was that bad,” sophomore Maura French said. “but the teachers do expect a lot more from you. You can’t fly by with little mistakes.” All students will have different experiences, but that does not mean one can’t start preparing.

The situation can feel helpless at times, but things can be done. Things that can make the beginnings of each year much easier for the students and teachers, such as detailed syllabuses, more maps of the school or warnings of the things to come during each semester. This should be to every individual student, so we all have a good chance for a successful year.

“I have to be careful as a building principle to not just clump everybody together and say they are ready to go, because within that class there are some people that are struggling,” Kacer said. This is a good thing to notice because the school year is different to everyone, a reason why we need to try and cater to as many people as possible.

“What I remember doing was when we went to the middle school, they would take us for tours around (Summit), and show us where things were, ” freshman Abigail Watkins said “I feel like that should be an option for some people.” This solution could get the students familiar with the building and would be more helpful than just seeing the building right before the first day of school. Taking one class at a time over to the high school towards the end of the year could help.

Something that could help as well could consist of the same ideas, but with less students. Maybe having a day during the year where a few high school students go to the middle school to talk about their experiences, and more importantly to answer questions of the ninth graders, could make the transition a lot smoother. Especially since becoming a sophomore means you will have different grade levels in your classes anyway. This can become really awkward in the first semester because sophomores have no idea how to approach upperclassmen and the 8/9 building feels so split between the grades.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Boge said. “Right now, the high school counselors that come over and do an academic presentation. We probably need to cover other topics as well.”

If we actually put one of these plans to action, the generations to come will not have to go through the same struggle we did. Having high schoolers come and talk to the ninth graders will help ease their nerves, almost like a student panel, will give them the best advice and set them up for successes. There may be no way to guarantee things every year, but our goal is to make these years fun and easy for the whole community. I think we can get closer to that goal by doing some little things right now because it’s the little things that will last all year round.