215 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916 | 401-432-9940

On To High School

Tips for Complex Learners In Their Freshman Year

As any parent of a Complex Learner knows, transitions can be tough for this population. But with the right tools and strategies in place, you can help set your child up for success with even the biggest transition. As the school year is coming to a close, we may all be focusing on summer vacation but for many of our students, the first year of high school is just around the corner!

We chatted with Wolf’s Speech and Language Pathologist, Jay Still, to get tips on how you can help prepare your soon-to-be freshman for this transition.

Preparing for High School

This year in Social Emotional Learning, our 8th graders focused on getting prepared for high school. There are many active steps that students can take to set themselves up for success in high school. 

1. Reduce stress before entering high school: 

  • Review class schedule 
  • Explore programs offered (after school, clubs, sports) 
  • Tour the building before the year starts to map out classrooms before there are other kids there
  • Plan to get involved but remember not to spread yourself too thin 
    • Make an effort to get out there, but start slow and see what you can handle before taking on too much
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    • Practice those great self-advocacy skills and remember you are not alone

2. Making new friends:

  • Make an effort 
  • Join a club or after-school activity for a structured place to meet new people
  • Be yourself and express common interests 
  • Keep an open mind when making friends 
  • Be a good listener (limit distractions, allow time, and ask questions to get to know others)

3. Changing classes:

  • Organization and color coding in your locker will be beneficial to help you save time and remember what material is necessary for your next class
  • Map out where you need to be next and what steps you need to take to be on time 
  • Find a locker lock that works for you to reduce time spent at your locker. You can even get it over the summer to practice!

4. Organization:

  • Use a planner: you can never write down too much! It is easy to think in the moment that you can remember all that you have to do but you run the risk of missing assignments and due dates. 
  • Try your best to establish a routine before and after school that includes time for you and time for your schoolwork
  • When organizing school materials try color coding. This helps keep each class sectioned off to keep things in order. This can also help with quick retrieval from your locker during passing periods. 
  • Break down large tasks into achievable steps
  • Find a place to do schoolwork that works for you with limited distractions

5. Conversing with new teachers and students: 

  • Consider who you are talking to and make sure to use an appropriate tone of voice
  • Be clear to get your message across
  • Know that the staff at the school is there to help you 
    • Don’t be afraid to ask anyone to give you a helping hand!
  • Practice active listening
    • When you are conversing with a teacher or a friend, make sure you are actively taking in the message and ask for clarification when needed 

6. Time Management and Schoolwork

  • Allow enough time for work to be completed
    • Try your best not to wait until the last minute
  • Prioritize what needs to be done.
  • Schedule
    • Writing down what needs to be done and estimating how much time it will take will help to structure your time
  • Use visuals like checklists and planners
  • Avoid burnout
    • Schedule time for yourself to relax and do what makes you happy. It is important to take care of yourself in order to keep working hard. 
  • Know your resources
    • Who is there to help and where to go if you need assistance.
  • Always stay positive and hopeful! You can do anything you set your mind to! 

7. Studying:

  • Find a study tool that works best for you. It may take some time at the beginning but it will be so helpful to know exactly the way you learn best. 
    • Some examples include: making flashcards, using study guides, re-reading the text, creating a quizlet to provide a practice test, or asking the teacher for additional resources. 
  • Don’t try to cram it all in
    • Break studying up into sections that you study each day vs. trying to cram it all in the night before
  • Study each night after school to gain familiarity with the content 
  • Allow time to breathe and relax after a hard day of school and studying. 

High school is an exciting next step for everyone but it comes with a new set of challenges! It’s important to remind your Complex Learner during this transitional period of all the tools and strategies they have learned that will help them succeed. Next stop, high school!

Want to get notified when there’s a new World of Complex Learners blog post? Subscribe to our blog!

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.