Many of you know that in the second semester of the 2013-14 academic year I spent a lunch period every week with the eighth graders. We talked about the challenges to come in high school. I did my best to answer questions and supported our then-soon-to-be-alumni as they made plans to navigate environments that, no matter how wonderful, would be decidedly different from SK. We called it High School 101.
This year, HS 101 will begin earlier. In an era of school choice, selecting a high school has become what selecting a college was like for people of my generation. (For a frame of reference, I graduated high school in 1985.) With that in mind, I will be embarking on a fact-finding tour of about a dozen schools over the next few weeks.
I will speak with teachers, administrators and counselors, and I'll visit these schools in action. Once that's done, I'll set up an evening conversation time for seventh and eighth grade parents, probably around Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, I strongly encourage eighth grade parents to contact schools about shadow days, in which prospective students spend a morning or afternoon with current ninth graders. If you want to get a feel for the ethos of a school, there is no substitute for actually walking the walk of a high school student. Many area schools are making plans for official shadow days; others without such programs will accommodate inquiries.
We've been visited informally by several of our recent alumni. Before too long, we'll be bringing those ninth and tenth graders in for a little Q&A, snacks, and mutual celebration.