Help! It’s Time For High School!

By Rachel Clouser Ed.D., assistant head of Upper School

Our Upper School dean of academics and student life shares tips on the progression from eighth grade to high school.
The transition from middle to high school can be scary for students and parents alike. Working together with the school can help your child find success as they enter their freshman year.

Talk to your child about the increase in academic expectations.
Each academic year builds on the next, and the movement to the Upper School is another step in your child’s academic career. Being upfront and honest about the growing academic responsibilities prepares them for the increase of class rigor and homework requirements, which will take more time and effort to complete. Minimize the fear about the increased expectations by assuring your child that they are not alone in the journey—you and the school are there for support and to help them find success.

Encourage your child to use the school’s resources
When a faculty member invites your child to meet with them outside of class time for extra help, they truly mean it and are eager to support. This is an opportunity for students to receive individualized assistance from their teachers. Encourage your child to set up a meeting with each of their teachers at the start of the school year, asking for suggestions on ways they can best prepare for the class. In addition to teachers, each student has an advisor and a dean to help support them.

Make time for you and your child to get together to review their four-year plan, which will help them create an academic path and create goals for their time in high school. Students will begin forming their four-year plan in ninth grade.

Help establish a consistent, organized schedule.
Along with increased workloads, high school comes with a greater investment in sports practices, play rehearsals, band performances and other extra- and co-curricular commitments. Additionally, your teenager should have time to spend with friends and enjoy being a kid. Many ninth-grade students struggle with organizing their time. Setting a clear homework time, finding a way to help diminish distractions (perhaps some time away from phones), and establishing a routine can go a long way toward learning how best to attack their assignments (and to realize how much they can get done without digital distractions).

Remember that they’re kids who need love and play.
As students mature, we can lose sight that they are still kids. They need downtime, family time and friend time. This can be hard to fit in when there are homework assignments, practices and studying, but finding the time for teenagers to play is an important part of their well-being and maturity process.

Trust that we have the best interest of your child at heart.
La Jolla Country Day School is a caring community filled with people who want to give your child the tools to thrive. Thank you for your trust in us. We look forward to getting to know your child and your family. The next chapter is exciting, and we are here to help each student find success on whatever path they take in the Upper School.

Rachel Clouser Ed.D.
Rachel Clouser Ed.D.

Assistant Head of Upper School

Rachel Clouser joined the LJCDS community in fall 2017 as the dean of academics and student life for students in Grades 9 and 10 after previously working at Brentwood School and The Webb Schools. Since then, Dr. Clouser has been named assistant head of Upper School for student life and faculty enrichment.

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