Moving + Kids = New Schools. I’m no math teacher, but that equation seems pretty darn accurate to me.
When you’re moving with kids, chances are your kids are going to have to MOVE SCHOOLS. This transition will look very different for each individual child; some may take the move pretty hard and others may be excited to start fresh at a new school. Regardless of how your student will take the transition, it’s important for you to do your homework. Yes, you have homework!!
When I’m not blogging, I am a high school teacher and am married to a high school Guidance Counselor. Together, I am confident than we can provide you the necessary steps in order to help make your child’s transition into his or her new school a successful one!
Here are the steps you should take before, during, and after your move to help your child transition into a new school:
Before the Move
1. Let the current school know you are moving and when you are moving.
2. Let the new school know you are going to be enrolling. Make sure you ask the new school specifically what documents your son or daughter needs in order to enroll in class and what document you need to prove residency.
3. Request your child’s documentation from the old school at least 4 weeks before the move. This will ensure the school will have adequate time to put together all important documentation including:
- School Transcripts (this will help with course completion to give your child the course credits he deserves in his new school)
- Current grades in all classes (this will help the teacher transition him into the new material with the grade he left off with at the old school)
- Standardized Test Scores (this will help the new school create a schedule based on his current levels and abilities)
- IEP (For students with disabilities, getting an up-to-date copy of your child’s individualized education plan will allow your student to receive the accommodations and modifications he did prior to the move)
- Medical Records/Updated Physical on File/Updated Vaccination Records
- Other important records that the new school indicates they may need
4. Ask permission from your child’s old teacher(s) to share his or her contact information with the new teaching staff. This communication between new and old staff may help bridge the gap and allow the new team of educators to pick up right where the old team left off.
5. Write a thank you email or letter to the old school <– always nice to end on a grateful note and give appreciation where appreciation is due. Plus, if you need more paperwork after you’re gone, leaving on a positive note can’t hurt!
1. Pick up the documentation from the old school before you leave the neighborhood.
2. Get the names, numbers or social media contact information from your child’s peers. This will help your son or daughter keep in contact with his or her friends and hopefully, make the transition a little more bearable.
3. Give your new address to the old school. This is important just in case something comes up and the school needs to send you additional documentation or records.
4. Make multiple copies of EVERYTHING in order to have more than one of every document.
After the Move
1. Go to the new school with the required documentation.
2. Get to know the secretary, administration, and your child’s new teacher (with your child).
3. Plan a “tour” outside of school hours so your child can become familiar with the building before he or she has to attend. Ask about dress code, student expectations, bus routes, important times/dates, curriculum, extracurricular activities available, etc.
4. Bring the required Proof of Residency paperwork to your new school in order to enroll. This may look different at each school, so check with the school first to see exactly what documentation is needed.
5. Ask questions and advocate for your child’s needs. You have the documentation to prove what grades he received at the old school, what his current achievement levels are based on standardized assessment scores, what his accommodations and modifications are, etc…. so make sure you use it to advocate for your child! Course levels, existing grades, IEP updates– these are all components of the school day that need to be at your child’s current level at the new school, and those documents will help the new school make these decisions accurately.
6. Share your child’s previous teacher’s email with the new team of educators. This contact will be a direct way to for the new education team to clarify any concerns or ask any questions about previous curriculum, student strengths, weaknesses, etc.
7. Make the transition a positive learning experience. Involve your child and communicate with him in order to prepare him for the big move! The more he feels involved and included in the process, the more he will feel at ease to take on this intimidating experience.