Polo Park’s Summer Prep Program Eases Transition

It can be daunting for a fifth-grade student to leave the safety and comfort of elementary school and head to middle school. At Polo Park Middle School, that transition has become a little easier thanks to the second annual Polo Park Sixth Grade Summer Prep Program.

The goal of the program is to make the incoming sixth graders more comfortable. This year’s program was held Aug. 5-7 and included a variety of topics designed to prepare the students for what they would soon encounter.

The program is run by a faculty committee made of teachers from all disciplines, along with current eighth-grade students who serve as counselors for the soon-to-be sixth graders. The counselors are a key component of the program. They are able to dispense excellent advice and serve as a friendly face for the students when they come on the first day of school.

Activities during the three days included a presentation on the dangers of bullying, a presentation and activity on organization, a scavenger hunt to learn the school grounds and a locker relay so the new students could practice opening locks. The entire program concluded with a pizza party for the students and a chance for them to ask the faculty members questions.

“Last year, we found that the incoming sixth graders were much more comfortable and less fearful when they started school, mostly in thanks to their attending the summer program,” committee co-chair Kaitlyn Stolzenfeld said. “This year’s program went even better, and we are looking forward to having an outstanding group of incoming sixth graders.”

ABOVE: Polo Park guidance counselors Kelley Sargent and Carolyn Zakrie.