Daniela Fogliano navigated her way through the halls of Eastchester Middle School with her friends on the first day of sixth grade feeling a little lost.
”We were all late for Study Hall. We couldn’t find the classroom,” she said.
Her friend Lexie Saraco agreed. She was also confused. “After the first bell rang, I thought where am I going?”
Finding classrooms, learning how to open combination locks and making new friends are all part of the transition to middle school and Guidance Counselor Danielle Fiore explains feeling anxious is common.
“We tell the students there are many adults in the building to help you, everyone gets lost and do not worry. The teachers are getting used to the new school year too.” Fiore said it often takes students a few weeks to adjust to their new surroundings and increased responsibilities, like learning those combinations and new passwords.
The Guidance Department prepares students for middle school in the spring of fifth grade before they set foot in the building, providing presentations at Anne Hutchinson and Greenvale and then giving tours and a full orientation program at the middle school. Parents also attend several orientation programs. But it all becomes real when students enter the doors and begin sixth grade. Zachary Gleason admits at first it was stressful.
“I was really nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach. I thought I was going to be late for every class.” After a few days he said he felt better.
Fiore wants children and parents to know they are not alone during this period of adjustment. Teachers she said watch over the students carefully and school counselors meet regularly with all middle school teachers.
“We want the students to grow into adulthood and feel comfortable and confident in who they are.”