Being in a new school can be overwhelming. There are many things that school counselors and other educators can do to support new students, help them get connected, and feel welcome at their new school.
Reach Out to New Families
Moving to a new area can be overwhelming. Talk to families and see what they need. You can make their transition to a new area easier by connecting them with the resources and services that are available in your community. Provide them with contact information for the Home School Association or Parent-Teacher Association so they can meet other parents in the community.
Keep Teachers in the Know
As soon as schools find out that they are getting a new student, it is important to keep the teachers in the loop. Any advanced notice that you can give teachers is a plus. When teachers have advanced notice, they can plan where the student will sit in the classroom, make sure there are enough books and supplies, and have information and materials available for the student on his or her first day. Teachers can create new-student packets at the beginning of the school year that include things they will need for the class and keep them filed away until they need them.
Make Students Feel Welcome
There are many simple things that schools can do to make students feel welcome in their new school. Provide new students with a welcome packet that includes the student handbook, a school calendar, and other important information about the school. Ensure each student has a tour of the school and knows where to locate key people. Schools can utilize student council or other student leadership organizations to provide students a tour of the school. It is also helpful to provide students with a buddy or point person in their class to help them if they have questions.
How do you support new students year-round at your school?
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I just did a new student lunch yesterday with a all our new second grade students to check in and see how things are going. We discussed things that were going well and things that weren’t going so well and then brainstormed ideas to support one another. I also had them take a little survey so I could get some more insight into how each them is doing personally, socially and academically. I plan to meet with other grade levels in the upcoming week.