D.C. Everest holds transition to kindergarten and middle school programs

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Going to school, especially one that you’ve never been to before, can be scary. D.C. Everest Middle School and Weston Elementary are just two schools now offering transition days to help new students get a sneak peek before their first day.

These days help students feel more comfortable and confident. They started about six years ago at the middle school. Incoming sixth graders are given the chance to explore, without all the other seventh graders there. The staff said the days are meant to try and get rid of nerves by meeting their teachers, other students, and helping them find their way around.

“Sixth grade is that big change. A lot bigger school, more students, and they’re walking around all day finding new classes,” said D.C. Everest Summer Learning Director Brittany Sepnafski.

“I wanted to learn how to open the locker better, and learn where my teachers and classes are,” said sixth grader Jeremy Kleuver.

About five years ago, Weston Elementary picked up the transition day. Incoming kindergarteners meet their teachers, classmates, and get a feel of how a new school works. While middle schoolers are aware of school situations, like for example lunch rooms, some kindergarteners are experiencing this for the first time, making days like these even more helpful.

“Kids can come into school on that first day, and they’re like, “I get to go to my classroom!” They know where to go already, they know some of the kids, so they’re ready to go on that first day,” said Amanda Johanek, a Kindergarten teacher at Weston Elementary.

Easing those fears for parents, students, and sometimes even staff makes the first day smoother, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some nerves involved. Students can’t necessarily place where those nerves come from, but teachers say it comes from the unknown.

During a day like this they not only get to meet their teachers, but other staff too. They get a tour of the building and participate in activities to meet classmates.

When kindergartener Eric was asked if he thought kindergarten was going to be the same as 4k, he said no, because “We had a snack after recess.”

Weston Elementary and D.C. Everest Middle School were 2 of 5 schools to have transition days on Monday. Riverside and Hatley Elementary have them later in the week.