Dripstone Middle School recognises the complexities and issues facing our young adolescent learners as they transition from primary school to middle school to senior school and places a high value on implementing strategies and practices that effectively supports all learners through the stages of learning.
DMS recognises that transitioning from primary school to middle school can have a negative impact on student engagement, achievement and wellbeing so has intentionally planned for a Transition Program to ensure all learners continue to engage, grow and achieve success.
The successful transition of learners from primary to middle school can be impacted by the following:
- Move from a familiar small cohort of students to a large cohort of students
- Change of friendship groups and peer group acceptance.
- Students move from being the oldest cohort to the youngest
- Change in class groupings and number of teachers
- Change in work expectations and work-loads across subject areas
- Requirement to be more self-regulated learners who can move independently from classroom to classroom
- Loss of familiar staff who know and understand the needs of individual learners
Research has shown that the transition from primary to middle school is often associated with a drop in academic achievement. (Teaching Middle Years, 2017, Donna Pendergast, pg 99)
To address and mitigate these potential issues, DMS has implemented a number of positive actions and measures:
- Students to remain in the same class grouping for their CORE subjects (English, Maths, Science and HASS)
- Strengthened the Transition program by running Orientation Days in Term 2 and 3 and buddying Year 6 students with a Year 9 student for the day.
- School leadership team (including Principal and Assistant Principal) visiting students in primary schools to engage in Q and A in more intimate setting (Term 1 and Term 3).
- ‘Young Achievers’ Program to bring together students once per term to engage them in hands on inquiry learning focused on solving a real-life local problem building knowledge and skills in STEAM subjects. Not only are students encouraged to use their creativity and curiosity but to also work collaboratively with students from the 5 different feeder primary schools to build relationships prior to year 7.
- Enrichment Programs for Year 5 and 6 students who want extension in subjects such as dance, music, science, Art, Digital Technologies, Woodwork.
- A more intensive orientation program for students who are ‘at risk’ during Term 3 and 4 ensuring they experience a well-supported transition.
- A network meeting with Year 6 teachers from feeder primary schools and DMS teachers.
- A Year 6 Parent information Evening and School Tours and sharing of information through media, website and communication channels.
- Discussing, sharing and gathering feedback from principals at the Casuarina Education precinct meetings (on each agenda)
- Science Fair for Year 5 students
- Parent Interviews for students wishing to enrol from outside of feeder primary schools.
- Special Education Teacher and Assistant Principal to discuss and share information (EAP’s, IBP’s, Wellbeing or Attendance Plans) and concerns regarding Students with Additional Needs.
- Provision for students to be extended in LEAP and RISE classes.
- Transition programs for Aboriginal students via the Clontarf and STARS Programs.
- Identification of student’s performance through the sharing of PAT and NAPLAN data so students can be well placed in classes.
Through an effective Transition Program, Dripstone Middle School ensures that:
- All learners have experienced the positive aspects of middle school and understand the learning opportunities it can provide for every learner.
- Students know which staff at DMS can support their engagement, academic learning or wellbeing.
- Students have built friendships outside of their current cohort in preparation for mixing with a larger cohort.
- Educators from feeder primary schools know and support the DMS Transition Programs
- All students and parents feel positive about the next stage of schooling.