How to prepare your kids for the next big step in their education

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah)  Students making the jump from middle school to high school isn’t always an easy transition. It’s something that schools in the Canyons School District are hoping to fix. Today, we’re talking to Canyons District counseling coordinator Tori Gillett about how parents can help prepare their kids now, as they are preparing for the next big step in their educational journeys. 
It’s only February, but schools are holding orientations for the students who will move up to middle school and high school in the fall.  Gillett shared some advice parents can give their children as they prepare to make the jump to a big, new school.
A child’s attitude about school starts at home. If parents are positive with their kids around the dinner table, then the students are likely to feel good about making that next step into middle school or high school.  It can be stressful to leave elementary for middle school.  And it’s a big deal to become a high school student, when grades really start to matter for college transcripts. Parents could make positive statements like, “You’re ready for this. I know you’re going to have a fantastic year,” or “You’re going to have so much fun and make so many new friends.”  Parents could tell them to remember this: Everyone else is probably nervous, too. A smile goes a long way with everyone at the school, even the teachers. 
It can be so intimidating for students to move up a grade level, especially if they are headed to middle school or high school, but there are orientations for students. Gillett says they’re actually meeting with students right now. The incoming ninth graders are visiting high schools, and the incoming sixth graders are making trips to the middle schools. Counselors talk to them about the classes they can take, and school rules they should commit to memory, and the kinds of activities they can participate in. Parents also should be aware that orientations are held right before the start of school, so the kids can get used to their new schools.  They can find their classes, the bathrooms, the cafeteria and the commons areas. 
Registration is happening in the next few weeks.  What tips do you have for parents about the kinds of classes students should sign up for? 
With registration happening in the next few weeks, Gillett shared some tips for parents about the kinds of classes students should sign up for. She says all students need to take core classes. Don’t be afraid to ask the counselors for help finding the best fit for your child. If your child is an advanced learner and need a little push, maybe Advanced Placement or college-prep is the way to go.  But if your child has struggled a little bit, ask which class or teacher would be best to help them succeed.  Then, look around for classes that match your child’s interest. If they are creative, look for graphic design, painting or theater classes. If they play an instrument or have an interest in singing, then look for band, orchestra or choir classes. The key here is to balance out the core classes that may be challenging with some that are fun and match their talents, skills and interests. This makes kids more likely to be engaged in their learning and in the student body.  Don’t forget: The counselors are there to help your family get through the process. Don’t be afraid to come into the counseling center, be it for questions about a class schedule or for advice on how to help your kid get through anxiety or other challenging emotions.  
The week, School Counseling Week, focuses public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors within school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

For more information on any of these subjects, you can visit

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate