Guiding and Empowering Eighth Graders through the High School Admission Process
Perrin Jones

One of the many things that has surprised and delighted me in my work at St. George’s is how much I get to think about high school. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to work at a high school. I love middle school, and if you give me the chance, I’ll talk your ear off about why I believe it is developmentally beneficial for middle school students to be the oldest students on campus.

I have the privilege of working with our amazing eighth graders as they prepare to leave St. George’s in 9th grade and embark on a new journey in high school. This is a joy and an honor.

At St. George’s, we want our students and families to feel supported and successful in their every endeavor, and that goes for the high school application process as well. Dr. Kreutziger and I began this year's process by gathering information from our amazing teachers. We listened as the teachers discussed each student’s strengths, challenges, interests and passions, and we relied on their expertise to compile a list of schools where each student might feel successful and happy.

Next, we invited the families of 8th graders to meet with us to discuss their dreams and concerns about high school. It is always a pleasure to work in partnership with families in support of the children we serve. We also have similar meetings with each 8th grader. These meetings help us get to know each student even better, to learn firsthand what their hopes, dreams and interests are, and to empower them to be active participants in their own high school application process.

At the same time as we are getting to know the students better, we are also getting acquainted with all of the schools where the students want to apply. Moving to New Orleans from Atlanta, I was not immediately familiar with many of the area schools, and so I’ve been attending open houses and taking tours. It has been such fun to see the resources that other schools offer, learn about their bell schedules, eat in their cafeterias, talk to their students and get to experience each one’s culture and personality. The eighth graders and I have taken a couple of field trips as well. We have visited Ben Franklin, St. Martin’s, the Academy of the Sacred Heart and McGehee.

As our students decide where to apply, we strive to support everyone by helping gather application documents and letters of recommendation. We spend time in advisory practicing interview questions and discussing campus-visit etiquette.

Once applications are in, Dr. K and I will meet with each school again-- this time to advocate for our students. I look forward to helping admissions officers around New Orleans see our eighth graders for all the talent, humor, and wisdom they have to offer. It will be my job to tell the story of each child and help bring their two-dimensional applications to life.

This journey so far has been delightful. It has been such a pleasure getting to know the 8th graders better, to spend time with their families and to dream about the future.

 

Featured photos are of our 2019 8th grade graduates