The Freshman Transition Network

Working together to transition freshmen & transform schools from the bottom up!

Hello community,

Does anyone offer a freshman seminar or some class-equivilent?  I have discussed this idea with our counseling staff and we feel that our students could benefit from such a class.  If you do offer something, what is the structure?  My feeling is that if this class is not offered early then students miss out on the purpose.  Our students really lack study skills and the understanding of what it means to be freshman.  Becuase we are a 8-9 middle school we do not have upper classman to model appropriate behaviors for our students.  I like Scott's idea that the transition should take place throughout the year.  Our district has attempted to do a summer transition program but that is more of a headache than a solution. 

Any ideas are appreciated.



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Darrell - see if the information on this page would be helpful:

Embedding the information in live classroom settings closest to the point of need is essential. Otherwise teachers and students feel imposed upon.

I agree, Deanie.  Nothing wrong with having a transition class, but having all teachers of freshmen preaching the same message makes the message most effective.


I created and teach a class designed to help successful transition into high school and beyond.

I ended up having to write a book (Get Real!) to having something to teach with so here is the information: The team of experts on Freshmen transition at George Washington University found my curriculum covers their suggested standards for successful program so if you are thinking of creating your own from scratch, that is a create place to start. I found them 10 years after starting.

The class called Foundations for Success is one semester taken in 9th grade. The curriculum book and class covers learning about the school, learning the vocabulary for looking into their future like college options, career, independent learning,concepts that allow them to see how their education is a tool that builds the bridge to future options, coping through adversity, prioritizing, goal setting, finance basics, and much more.

If you would like a copy of the course of study I would be happy to send more info. My email is

 I am piloting the second component for 10th and 11th graders this fall. It would take the freshmen ideas and focus even more on building learning skills for future employment, studying skills, motivation, career pathway decisions, etc.

There's a good article called the Linchpin Year about how important these programs are but need to be throught through and invested in.

Look forward to hearing what else is out there.

Beth Decker

The GEAR UP folks from Berea College in Kentucky are creating a transition course to be taught within their Freshman Transition Programs.

Hi Darrell,

We are looking at the same thing at my school right now.  We're trying to develop a class that teaches both study and technology skills.  Two important considerations in our discussion have been:  How do we make it relevant to all students?  (Do high achieving students need a course like this?  Should only at-risk students be included in the course? Should it include more than study and technology skills-- things like peer relationships, bullying, effectively communication with adults, etc.)  and How do get buy-in from all stake-holders?  Students need to see the class as valuable and relevant.  Freshman teachers  need to see the importance of reinforcing the skills taught in a freshman seminar type class  and they must follow through everyday in every class.  

We offered a summer transition program for the first time this summer.  Anecdotal evidence suggests it's helped, but I don't have any numbers to support that. 

I'm interested to hear from you and others on your experiences, and I will share as we advance the discussion at my school. 


We are considering a Keystone program.  This will be a semester long course that will focus on transcript analysis, creating a 10 year academic plan, financial literacy, college visits and more.  We are considering using the Career Choices program as part of the foundational curriculum for the course.  Given the national drop out rate for ninth grade students, I believe that it is critical we provide some type of unique course for our Freshman students. Here is a link to the program.

Here is a great video explaining why we must plan for academic achievement.


Tanya Spillane


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