Transitions into an older home is exciting, but also intimidating. Because homes are arranged by grade level, children face transitions at fourth and sixth grades, and at the end of eighth grade. Bonds with the houseparents they have come to know will change, and a new set of houseparents and housemates will become the new normal.
At each age, preparing students for these transitions is important. Students ready for the third- to fourth-grade transition by working to complete tasks independently such as fixing one’s hair, washing and folding one’s laundry and cleaning the bedroom with little to no help from a houseparent. Students work on social skills, as well, because they may be living with a new set of housemates.
For the sixth- to seventh-grade transition students have much more independence. Examples include an increase in unstructured free time, an expansion of on- and off-campus boundaries, opportunities to explore healthy dating relationships and less structured homework time.
The eighth grade to high school transition means increased independence and self-reliance. This might look like waking oneself up, being responsible for getting school work turned in and ensuring that one has everything needed for a successful school day before leaving the home. Allowing students to manage the natural consequences of not getting these things done helps the learning curve.
The role of the Transition Specialist is to provide opportunities for high school students to learn more about post-high school opportunities. Sometimes younger students and alumni also tap into her skills. Through exposure to all of the possibilities that are out in the world, students discover the path they will most enjoy.
Students make college and trade school visits, listen to speakers from various career paths and more through this program.
Also, high school graduates who have moved on to employment, school, the military or other endeavors know through the work of the Transition Specialist that St. Joseph’s Indian School still cares for them and supports them in their lives.