Moving into a new home can be a stressful life change, even if changing schools is not involved. Once you add having to complete all the tasks to make a school transition possible, the move can become almost overwhelming. However, this need not be the case if you follow a few basic steps. By breaking down the task into smaller steps, it becomes much more manageable and significantly less stressful.
Purchase an accordion file folder. Label the accordion file with "School Records," "Vaccine Records" and "Personal Documents." If you do not have the vaccine records, you should get a copy from your doctor or health department and place them in the folder. In the Personal Documents file, place a copy of the birth certificate and Social Security card.
Call the school and set up an appointment with the guidance counsellor for the day before you are moving. Make the appointment as far in advance as possible. Let the counsellor know you want a copy of your child’s records to take with you so that she can have these ready when you arrive. Ask the counsellor to have each teacher write a summary of strengths and weaknesses and areas of concerns. This will be useful for the new teachers. While at the school, fill out the withdrawal forms used by the school.
Prepare for your meeting by having your child bring you all of his textbooks, library books and other school property. You will need to return these items. When you are given the records, place them in the accordion file. You will also need the card of the counsellor in case the new school needs to get in touch with her. If a copy of the most current grades is not available, ask that they be sent to your new address.
Visit the new schools you are considering with your child. Ask to meet the teachers that your child might have classes with. Ask for a copy of the parent and student handbook and any other material that pertains to rules such as dress code. Ask for a list of all sports and extra-curricular activities offered by each school. Ask for information on any accreditations or awards the school has received. Ask how the school is doing in regard to adequate yearly progress per No Child Left Behind.
Talk with your child about the new school he will be attending. If at all possible, let your child help decide which school to attend. Once you have decided on the school your child will attend, make an appointment with the guidance counsellor. Bring all of your paperwork with you to register your child. Bring your child with you so he can help determine the new scholastic schedule. This will also give your child an opportunity to sign up for extra-curricular activities.
Even if you have only one school option, you still need the same information described in Step 4.
Your child may be very upset about having to move and change schools; take time to talk with him about his fears.