With school looming around the corner, back-to-school jitters are back in action. Transitioning between schools can be difficult, but the Bellmore and North Bellmore School Districts hosts orientations to help ease the stress, as well as offering various programs and counseling to children.
Incoming seventh graders at Grand Avenue were given the opportunity to walk through the school, become familiar with opening lockers and meet the faculty this past month. They were also guided by eighth grade students who recalled just how nervous they were when starting.
"After school started was when the nerves kicked in," said Kara Ognibene. "I just remembered that everybody was going through it."
Eighth grader Sara Miller offered the following advice, "You might think that since it's a new school you're going to get lost, but there are teachers everywhere you look and they will be more than happy you help you."
School counselors advise students who are feeling anxieties to recognize that it is completely normal. Grand Avenue's school counselor, Trish Reimann, explained that "students are coming from seven different elementary schools, so everyone is starting new."
She also reinforced that school counselors, social workers and school psychologists are there for any children feeling nerves, anxious or simply need to talk.
"There are a lot of adults directing students in the halls," added Reimann. "There are two assistant principals, one specifically dedicated to seventh graders…there are plenty of people around to help with the transition."
Programs at the elementary level also help prepare students for middle school. Shore Road Principal Christine Augusto explained the Positive Peer Leadership Program in which, "a group of two to three eighth graders push into the classroom and inform kids about a typical day at Grand, as well as giving them pointers about life in middle school. Our students have time to ask questions."
Principal Augusto said she is very happy with the program that has been in effect for quite a number of years because it "really does alleviate fears and lessen anxiety."
The North Bellmore District has a similar program, Getting Ready for Middle School, in which teachers talk with sixth graders about what to expect in the junior high.
Similarly, incoming freshman at Mepham High School are required to take a freshman seminar, which requires students to attend every other day. It is designed to reinforce togetherness, team building and promote positive decision making.
Kathleen McClout, a school counselor at Mepham, described the freshman seminar as a chance to discuss, "peer and student issues to reinforce community."
In addition, when school starts, McClout explained that all ninth graders are broken into guidance groups which meet to "get the conversation going" about various topics. These groups are a chance for students to voice any concerns they may have over starting high school and also to help with the adjustment.
In addition, orientation was held this past week so students could have a chance to familiarize themselves with the building and eliminate the fears they have.
Simran Singh, an incoming ninth grader, shared the worries she has as a new student, "I am very scared that I won't find my way around the school.
However, she is optimistic after having attended orientation.
"Knowing that you have friends, teachers upperclassman, as well as family to help lead me through my high school experiences, really helps ease my nerves."
Parents and students should not be concerned about support or help in the district.
"These years when students are developing emotionally and socially it is crucial we are all here for them," said Reimann.