April: Academic Transitions
Is your child starting kindergarten this fall? Or do you have a middle schooler preparing to enter high school? Maybe your student is preparing to graduate with the class of 2024 and go onto college. Making these academic transitions can feel daunting for students and parents alike. As a caregiver, you might be wondering how to help your child make smart decisions while enjoying new opportunities. What should you do to help your child become ready for this new stage of their academic career?
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help support a successful transition to the next major stepping stone. April’s edition of Power Parent Magazine was designed as a resource to provide support to GRPS families as they prepare to make these academic transitions.
Power Parent: April 2023 covers each of the following articles:
- Any move to a new grade is a challenge, but your family can prepare! Learn more in Ensure a Smooth Transition
- Find out what you can do to prep your preschooler in Jump to Pre-K
- Get a feel for the kindergarten transition process in To and From Kinder
- Under 3rd Grade Guide, learn more about this important year in your student’s academic life.
- Learn more about the shift to middle school in Graduating Elementary School
- Under Middle and High School Transitions, learn more about how to support your middle schooler as they make the jump to high school.
- Find advice for parents whose children are graduating high school and moving onto the next phase in their life in 12th Grade and Beyond!
Successful End-of-Year Transitions
Any move to a new grade is a challenge, but there are major transition years that your student will undergo that can be especially important to focus on. The move from kindergarten to first grade, into middle school or high school and even on to college are key times when students often need support and many students develop patterns that stick.
GRPS World Class Preschool
Children grow up fast! Whether they’re coming from daycare, a 3-year-old program, or directly from home, entering a preschool program for the first time is a HUGE deal for families (children and caregivers alike). What will your new school routine look like? How will your child interact with their peers? And how will you say good-bye when you drop off your child on their first day of school?
There’s no doubt that preschool is a very important stage of a child’s life. Preschool is a time for kids to interact with their peers and learn valuable life lessons such as how to share, take turns, and follow rules. It also can prepare them academically for kindergarten and beyond. However, the transition can sometimes present challenges for child and parent/caregiver. For a child, entering the school environment for the first time might cause both anxiety and excitement. Caregivers might have mixed emotions about whether their child is ready for preschool.
GRPS Pre-K programs
GRCC’s Play and Learn program is a long-time supporter and partner of GRPS. Their Play and Learn groups give families the chance to introduce their children, ages 0-5, to other children while learning about how to plan and learn at the same time. These playgroups are made possible because of the generosity of Kent County taxpayers and the voter-approved Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage; keep an eye on the Parent University event calendar and the GRPS Family and Community Engagement Facebook page for distribution sites and times!
If your child is making the transition from preschool to kindergarten, or from kindergarten to first grade, this article is for you! Kids are pretty smart about these transitions and sense the unpredictability of going to a new classroom (virtual or otherwise). They wonder about making new friends and getting used to a new teacher—from fears about whether they will be able to find the bathroom, to where will they eat snack, there is certainly a lot to consider.
GRPS wants to enroll your little one in our kindergarten programs! Enjoy this wonderful informational video to learn more:
Parent Action Plan: 12th Grade
Yay, Class of 2023! We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’ll do! Read on to learn more.
- Visit colleges together. If you haven’t already, make plans to check out the campuses of colleges in which your child is interested. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.
- Ask how you can help your senior finalize a college list. You can help him or her choose which colleges to apply to by weighing how well each college meets his or her needs, for example. Find out more about how to finalize a college list.
- Find out a college’s actual cost. Once your 12th-grader has a list of a few colleges he or she is interested in, use the College Board’s Net Price Calculator together to find out the potential for financial aid and the true out-of-pocket cost— or net price—of each college.
- Encourage your child to get started on applications. He or she can get the easy stuff out of the way now by filling in as much required information on college applications as possible. Read about how to get started on applications.
- Help your child decide about applying early. If your senior is set on going to a certain college, he or she should think about whether applying early is a good option. Now is the time to decide because early applications are usually due in November. Read about the pros and cons of applying early.
- Gather financial documents: To apply for most financial aid, your child will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You’ll need your most recent tax returns and an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA, which opens Oct. 1.
- Encourage your child to meet with the school counselor. This year, he or she will work with the counselor to complete and submit college applications. Learn more about the counselor’s role in applying to college.
- Create a calendar with your child. This should include application deadlines and other important dates. Your child can find specific colleges’ deadlines in College Search. If your child saves colleges to a list there, he or she can get a custom online calendar that shows those colleges’ deadlines.
- Help your child prepare for college admission tests. Many seniors retake college admission tests, such as the SAT, in the fall. Learn more about helping your 12th-grader prepare for admission tests.
- Help your child find and apply for scholarships. He or she can find out about scholarship opportunities from the school counselor. Your high school student will need to request and complete scholarship applications and submit them on time. Learn more about scholarships.
- Offer to look over your senior’s college applications. But remember that this is your child’s work so remain in the role of adviser and proofreader and respect his or her voice.
- Fill out the FAFSA to apply for aid beginning Oct. 1.. The government and many colleges use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to award aid. Now it’s easier than ever to fill out this form because you can automatically transfer your tax information online from the IRS to the FAFSA. Read How to Complete the FAFSA to learn more.
- Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, if required. If your child needs to submit the PROFILE to a college or scholarship program, be sure to find out the priority deadline and submit it by that date. Read How to Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.
- Encourage your child to set up college interviews. An interview is a great way for your child to learn more about a college and for a college to learn more about your child. Get an overview of the interview process.
- Work together to apply for financial aid. Have your child contact the financial aid offices at the colleges in which he or she is interested to find out what forms students must submit to apply for aid. Make sure he or she applies for aid by or before any stated deadlines. Funds are limited, so the earlier you apply, the better.
- Learn about college loan options together. Borrowing money for college can be a smart choice — especially if your high school student gets a low-interest federal loan. Learn more about the parent’s role in borrowing money.
- Encourage your senior to take SAT Subject Tests. These tests can showcase your child’s interests and achievements — and many colleges require or recommend that applicants take one or more Subject Tests. Read more about SAT Subject Tests.
- Encourage your child to take AP Exams. If your 12th-grader takes AP or other advanced classes, have him or her talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May. Read more about the AP Program.
- Help your child process college responses. Once your child starts hearing back from colleges about admission and financial aid, he or she will need your support to decide what to do. Read about how to choose a college.
- Review financial aid offers together. Your 12th-grader will need your help to read through financial aid award letters and figure out which package works best. Be sure your child pays attention to and meets any deadlines for acceptance. Get more information on financial aid awards.
- Help your child complete the paperwork to accept a college’s offer of admittance. Once your child has decided which college to attend, he or she will need to review the offer, accept a college’s offer, mail a tuition deposit and submit other required paperwork. Learn more about your high school senior’s next steps.