The first year of high school is a great time for a fresh start. With students leaving middle school to funnel into different high schools, the habits, attitudes, and friend group your son had in middle school don’t have to follow him to high school. High school can be an exciting new beginning, but it is important to start strong. The weeks leading up to the start of school and the first few weeks of the term are critical. Here are some tips to get your son’s first year at DeSales High School off to a great start.
Get familiar with the lay of the land before that hectic first day of school. Your student will have more confidence and feel more secure if he knows where he’s going and how to get there. Open House is another opportunity to get your son inside the school so he can get his bearings. Where’s the restroom? Where’s the cafeteria? The faster he learns his way around DeSales, the more at ease he will feel.
Friend groups form very quickly, so don’t miss any opportunities for your son to meet other students at DeSales. Sometimes just seeing a familiar face in the classroom that first day of school can ease nerves. Freshman events are also a place for your son to learn about clubs and student organizations. Don’t forget, freshmen orientation in July is a great way to get to know the school and your new “brothers” better.
It doesn’t have to be hard to fit in and make friends in a new environment. Often all it takes is finding your niche at DeSales —that place you belong with others who speak your language. This could be sports, academic teams, gaming club, or any of a wide variety of clubs and organizations. These groups at DeSales offer your son a place to make friends, feel connected, and learn new skills. Many clubs have their initial meetings as soon as school starts, so remind your son to watch for those dates.
Many young people are either intimated by adults. Encourage your son to be polite and get to know his teachers. When he hits a snag or rough spot during the year, he’ll be more comfortable talking to the teacher to work it out.
For many students, going to the office for any reason at all can be intimidating. Convince your son that these are the people who will be valuable resources for him for the next four years. This is the place he will go with doctors’ notes to excuse an absence, for help resolving conflicts, to fix scheduling issues, or to open his locker when he forgets his combination.
Where’s the STEM Lab or Gaming Innovations Lab? Many new students sit in silence during Open House or the first days of class because they think everyone else must surely know the answer. In truth, other students probably have the same question. The good thing about DeSales is that students can easily find their way around and faculty and staff are there to help.
The great thing about high school is the opportunity to take electives. Encourage your son to build courses into his schedule that interest him, such as robotics, game design, world languages, art, or dual credit courses that will give him a leg up for college. These courses can cater to your son’s interests and make school more fun.
Help your son decide the best way for him to record due dates and assignments—a planner, an app, or a reminder set on his phone. Encourage your son to write down every assignment at the time it is given. He will think he’ll remember, but the assignment may be forgotten by the time he gets home. Utilize important apps like Schoology.
Make sure your son has a place to study that suits his particular way of studying. Many parents assume that their child studies the way they did, such as in a quiet bedroom with no distractions. However, many boys would rather not be isolated from the activity in the home and actually find that they daydream or nod off when it’s silent. Your son might prefer the kitchen table where he’s still part of the family activity. Talk to your son about the type of environment that is most conducive to study and work together to find that spot.
Remind your son not to panic if he feels overwhelmed or unprepared at times. A new environment can be stressful. Before long, DeSales will feel familiar and comfortable. If the anxiety continues or begins to impact daily activities, Ms. Bowman the school counselor, has years of experience helping students just like your son.
We look forward to a great first year with your son and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Class of 2025!
To learn more about DeSales High School and how your son can experience everything offered, please contact the Director of Admissions, Justin Lewis ’05, at (502) 883-4939.