Secondary School Placement
The Sally Borden Program 8th Grade Placement and Transition Process
Placement is a yearlong process that actually begins when students are still in seventh (7) grade. Parents and students are invited to informational meetings in the spring of the child’s seventh grade year. A calendar is provided to each family outlining a step-by-step process for making the transition into high school. Students and their families are encouraged to approach the process with an open mind.
Just like the college search, each family should explore all types of schools, applying to “reach”, “target” and “safety” schools. Kids change—it’s a fact, and during eighth grade students change dramatically! Subsequently a school that may have been a top choice in October may no longer be an option in March.
Throughout the eighth (8) grade year students meet regularly with their advisor/teacher to discuss the transition process. They are taught that finding a school is sometimes challenging and stressful, but not impossible. Looking for the right “school fit” depends upon many factors. First, the students need to be honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses. They need to find a school where the teaching “style” matches their learning “style”. We recommend that parents apply to at least three or four schools and that they talk regularly with their child during this important transition year.
It is not unusual for eighth grade students, and/or their parents, to change their minds during this placement process. The goal is to assist each family in finding the right school for their child and it is the hope that each child will graduate from this “right school.” Keeping an open mind and remaining flexible may be the most important factors affecting this process.
Early in the process students also practice good interviewing techniques, filling out applications with sample forms, and developing good questions to utilize during interviews with admissions personnel.
A bright spot in the year is enjoying the letters of acceptance the students receive in late winter and early spring. This time of year can also be more difficult because we must help the students come to terms with those inevitable rejection letters. We help students realize that through rejections, schools are really saying, “we can’t meet your needs.” It is not a question of being “good enough.” It can be a stressful time, but the emotional growth in the students is always incredibly exciting to witness.
Finally, when looking for the right placement, it is important to keep an open mind and explore all kinds of schools, be they private, public, parochial or boarding. Equally important is finding good matches in teaching philosophy, methods, materials and academic support that match the student’s learning style. These are the key elements in the process. Undoubtedly, the ultimate goal is finding the best match that will lay the foundation for a bright and productive future.
Click here to download the SBP Eighth Grade Transition Calendar.