Transition Guide to High School

Most adults remember their first day at high school and today's students still look forward to that day with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Below are some tips to make the transition easier for both students and parents.

If your child is currently attending a separate or private school, it is recommended that you make an appointment with Ms. Gosia Siuda, Special Education Department Head, to discuss support services at APHS and to provide applicable documentation (e.g. a copy of the current IEP, a copy of the psycho-educational assessment etc

Advice for Parents:

  • Attend the Grade 8 Open House (usually scheduled in November).

  • Contact the Special Education Department at extension 2232 to discuss your child’s learning needs.

Advice for Students:

Before you start...

  • Students should go to the school beforehand and take a tour to familiarize themselves with the layout (for a personalized tour, you can make an appointment through Guidance)

  • Check out the school's website in order to learn about special events, clubs and activities

  • Talk to a friend or neighbour who goes to the school to learn about routines and school life at Abbey Park High School

  • Buy 4 colour-coded binders (1 for each subject) as well as basic supplies such as dividers, lined paper, calculator, pencil case etc.

  • At home, set up a private, distraction-free place in which to do homework

  • Set up a master calendar which lists personal, family and school commitments

  • Attend the Blue Carpet Day - a fun-filled transition day for grade 8 students who will be attending Abbey Park. This event usually takes place in early May.

After you start...

  • Understand your IEP and use accommodations as needed. The biggest challenge in the transition to high school is learning to ask for needed support outlined in your Individual Education Plan. Being a good self-advocate will help you throughout your future endeavours.

  • Access help from the special education department. All students with an IEP have a special education resource teacher (SERT) who can help with organization, time management, study skills, access to computers, etc. Be sure to come for regular appointments and take advantage of the resources offered at Abbey Park in room 214.

  • If you have assistive technology such as a laptop or a Chromebook, you can pick it up after the start of the school year in room 214. Be sure to bring your AT to class every day and use it as needed.

  • Use the Abbey Park Student Planner every day. Write down what you did in every class even if you don't have homework. This may be the one most important habit you develop.

  • Always take notes. Teachers expect more independent work habits in high school and note-taking, even brief jot notes when a handout is provided help maintain focus and aid memory.

  • Do homework EVERY NIGHT. This means that students should never say, "I don't have any homework" because every night they should review the day's work, highlighting their notes and re-writing important details. This simple strategy helps students remember basic facts and prepares them for upcoming work and assessments. Pictures and diagrams can be added to aid comprehension.

  • Use a timer to set aside a minimum time each night. Set a time such as 15 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes, then get back to work. Try to be consistent as to when homework is done. Most students become less effective as the evening progresses, so earlier is better.

  • Find a study partner in each class. This is a valuable strategy as research has shown that studying with others greatly improves success. It also gives you someone to contact if you are absent so you are prepared when you return.

  • Ask the teacher when you need clarification or help. Teachers want you to be successful, so always ask the teacher for help when you are feeling unsure, overwhelmed with deadlines, etc. Teachers can arrange to meet you before or after school, or sometimes at lunch hour.

  • If you need help or advice, see your SERT as they can work with you, your parents and your teacher(s) to arrange specific accommodations and offer help with test-taking, organization and stress management, etc.

Grade 8 Open House