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10 tips for surviving a new school! All Lifebabble
Lifebabble — 10 tips for surviving a new school!
Starting a new school can be daunting… so take a look through our tips!
1. Be confident: first impressions are important, so keep your head high and don’t slouch… If you walk with confidence people will think you are confident!
2. Smile: smiling makes you more approachable. Smile and others will smile with you!
3. Be honest: don’t exaggerate or make up cool things about yourself. It won’t be so cool when the truth comes out.
4. Talk to the person sitting next to you – saying ‘hi’ may be all it takes to start a friendship!
5. Research: find out about the school – there may be a website, or you could try talking to older pupils.
6. Get orientated: take up that offer of visiting the school before you go. Ask for a tour or a map of the school; asking for directions is a good way to get to know people too.
7. Take time getting used to the school: you’ll get to know where everything is so don’t rush!
8. Make an effort to make new friends. Be open to new friends; if your old friends are true friends, they’ll be happy for you to find new friends too.
9. Join in with something! Join a team, a club or an activity. People who share the same interests as you are likely to be your kind of people.
10. New place = new opportunity. A new school is a possible chance to start over if you need to.
Check out loads more in the Lifebabble guide to school. Got any other tips to share? Leave your comments below… You can download a poster highlighting 10 ways to act for impact in your school district here. As a teacher or education leader, you may need some guidance when taking a deep look at teaching and learning practices in your school or district to ultimately bring about change. That’s where events like the annual Model Schools Conference (MSC) comes in. As the MSC Program Chair, it’s my honor to work with our presenters, Model Schools, and Innovative Districts as well as attendees to produce a truly unique professional learning experience. This year’s theme, Act for Impact, reflects a focus on each teacher, leader, school, and district, creating a unique rapid-improvement, future-focused plan. This should encompass not only academics but also the social and emotional needs of students. The International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) believes in the Educator’s Bill of Rights. Acting for Impact means that you pick the one thing that you choose to do better tomorrow. Maybe today you didn’t get to it or didn’t think of it. The point is, you choose it, because each day you aspire and work to do a little better for your students than you did the day before. Each year, my team and I interview hundreds of educators from across the country to identify the new class of Model Schools and Innovative Districts. Although each submission is unique, they share a crystal-clear focus on doing what’s best for their students. That focus and the resulting efforts pay off. The teams, who are making small changes for big impacts, will share the ups and downs of their experiences, help generate new ideas, and inspire you to plan your own path forward. Listening to these teachers and leaders tell their stories—why they wake up in the morning determined to make an impact on students’ lives—is exhilarating. How have they made a difference? Overcome obstacles? Faced challenges? Achieved rapid improvement? Here’s a taste of what we’ve gleaned and of what you will learn about more deeply when you attend this year’s Model Schools Conference in Washington, D.C.
1. Build strong relationships and a culture of trust.
This starts with the adults. Leaders and teachers who strive to know each other in a deeper way build relationships. They build trust by demonstrating that they’ll do the right thing for students—even when no one is looking—and that they have each other’s backs in prioritizing student achievement.
2. Implement rigorous and relevant classroom instruction.
What is the real value of learning? Being successful in life—and most importantly, in life beyond school. If real-world success is the true goal, then teachers must plan instruction that builds students’ capacity to address real-world situations. Learning must challenge students to think critically rather than memorize and recall isolated facts. Educators from the 2019 Model Schools and Innovative Districts are taking a close look at the rigor and relevance of their standards. They’re investing time into planning intentional, meaningful learning experiences that are student centered, interdisciplinary, and application based.
3. Support the whole child with heart.
While many elements of a child’s life get better as they cultivate social-emotional skills, one big win is academic performance. Teachers at rapidly improving schools cultivate the social and emotional development of their students daily. These teachers sensitize themselves at an emotional level to their students’ needs. They work to provide students with the skills and strategies that will help them develop self-awareness, empathy, perseverance, and gratitude. These and other social-emotional competencies are strengthened each day through teachable moments, intentional lessons, modeling, and family engagement. The teachers in these Model Schools will tell you that love = action + heart and to love your students so that they may succeed.
4. Create future-focused schools.
Schools focused on the future are innovating how they think about education. Rather than protecting the status quo, leaders and teachers in future-focused schools are constantly considering what’s best for children to reach their life goals. These schools use data to assess all students’ achievement, eliminate initiatives that don’t work, replace them with innovative solutions for a strong chance to work better, and use data to assess the new plan’s progress. These leaders and teachers are driven by strong passion for making a positive impact in the lives of each one of their students. Their passion gives them the courage they need to be honest critics of their own work, think creatively, and make changes.
5. Cultivate equitable classrooms.
Equity is about providing additional supports and resources for underserved populations of students. Creating a classroom focused on equity and excellence for all requires that teachers and leaders closely examine the demographics, performance, attendance, and participation in their classrooms. The 2019 Model Schools and Innovative Districts find ways to uncover unconscious biases and build common understandings. They focus on having open and courageous conversations among varied stakeholders on the well-being and success of all their children. Honest conversation with empathetic listening is a first step in creating open, inclusive learning environments that support the success of all students.
6. Personalize learning using data.
Data that is personalized to the student is very granular. Developing a system and routines for gathering, monitoring, and analyzing does take time and experimentation. However, when implemented with fidelity, the gains can be tremendous. Model Schools and Innovative Districts find that such data clarifies each student’s progress and needs and positively informs teachers’ instructional decisions. For instance, school leaders who have a pulse on each student’s grades—and whether those grades are moving up or down or remaining constant—can help teachers take actions that support each student’s progress. When data is personal, students feel known and cared about. They also recognize the goal of and the personal-to-them context for next instructional steps. Get to know your data at the individual student level.
7. Encourage empathy.
Empathy—not to be mistaken for pity or permissiveness—is the ability to sense other people’s emotions coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Encouraging empathy may be difficult to accomplish, so is it worth it? In the experience of the 2019 Model Schools and Innovative Districts, growing empathy—among members of classrooms, teams, and school communities—makes a huge difference in the lives and the academic achievement of all their students. Growing empathy takes modeling as well as intentionally building all stakeholders’ capacity for empathy and motivating them to practice and choose it. When a student is late to class, what might be an empathetic response? When a child gets sent to the principal’s office, what might empathy from adults and fellow students look like? How are these situations handled in your school? How do you model empathy for others? How can you encourage and increase empathy?
8. Foster a growth mindset.
Making the shift from “I can’t do that” to “I can’t do that yet” is step one in developing a growth mindset. Growth mindset is strongest when a person plans to make a change, sets a timetable, and takes specific actions toward accomplishing a goal. Our Model Schools and Innovative Districts all base their work on a growth mindset about student capabilities. They commit to believing in children’s ability to grow and work daily to support all of their students with whatever they need to accomplish today what they were not yet able to do yesterday. The benefit of a growth mindset is clear for all of us, by the way; ICLE bases its work on a growth mindset about teachers, educational leaders, and our own team.
9. Spread kindness.
This is simple if not always easy. Being kind isn’t only what you expect from elementary students. The 2019 Model Schools and Innovative Districts are consistently intentional about stakeholders and students at every level being kind to one another. Classrooms in one Model School began with a goal of five acts of kindness per week and then progressed to a goal of five acts of kindness per day.
10. Make a difference in the lives of ALL children.
All of the 2019 Model Schools and Innovative Districts share a top-priority focus on students, their needs, and aspirations. The work of helping children succeed in their lives is a personal, professional, and collective passion, and aiming to make a difference in the lives of all students is the most profoundly meaningful work one can do. This focus on students’ success will propel your success. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH. *** Join us for the 30th Annual Model Schools Conference in Orlando, FL from June 26–29, 2022. Now a hybrid event, MSC is extending and enhancing beyond convention center ballrooms and across the world.
- The New School seeks to foster an environment that encourages all students to reach their highest level of achievement. Through various student services and programs, the university emphasizes the importance of recognizing and embracing individual differences.In keeping with this philosophy, Student Disability Services (SDS) is committed to helping students with disabilities obtain equal access to academic and programmatic services. SDS assists students with disabilities in need of academic and programmatic
accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
What constitutes a disability?
According to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the term “disability” includes any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major
What does “substantially limits” mean?
While there is no hardline legal definition of “substantially limits,” the term is meant to be broadly interpreted to refer to any limitation of any major life activity, including but not limited to caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing,
hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
- What We Do
What is the role of Student Disability Services at The New School?
Student Disability Services (SDS) is committed to helping students with disabilities obtain equal access to academic and programmatic services. SDS assists students with disabilities in need of academic and programmatic accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
How does one register with or request services from SDS?
The first step in making any request for accommodations is to self-identify as a student with a disability through the submission of the university’s Disability Self-Identification Form, which is available on the SDS website. Students requesting housing-related accommodations, including requests for assistance animals, should also complete the Request for Special Housing Accommodations Form. Upon submission of these forms, a detailed clinical summary of the student’s disability from a qualified healthcare provider, such as a physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or counselor, must be provided to the Student Disability Services office. The clinical summary should include documentation of the nature of the student’s disability (including its severity and duration), the functional limitations that may be experienced as a result of the disability,and the recommendations for appropriate accommodations related to these limitations. Detailed guidelines for submitting documentation of a disability can be found online. Upon receipt of this documentation, SDS will schedule a meeting with the student to determine which, if any, services are most appropriate for the student’s individual circumstances.
Which schools and programs at the university does SDS work with?
SDS works with all New School colleges and academic programs on an as-needed basis.
Where is the SDS office located, and what are the office hours?
The SDS office is located on the fourth floor of 63 Fifth Avenue. Students can make appointments with the SDS staff by contacting the office at [email protected]. The office is typically open between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Walk-ins should stop at the Center for Student Success in room 419 to inquire about same-day availability.
I’m interested in working for SDS. Do you hire work-study students? How can I check on the availability of such a position or find out whether I qualify for one?
Students interested in joining the staff of SDS as student workers should visit The New School’s Careers site and browse current student employment opportunities.
- Campus Resources
Is the entire campus fully accessible to individuals with mobility impairments?
Because of the ever-changing nature of disability law and the nature of the urban campus, not every facility of The New School is fully accessible to individuals with physical disabilities. However, all programming associated with The New School is expected to be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Any student who anticipates or believes he or she may experience any concern whatsoever related to the accessibility of the programmatic services of The New School is encouraged to immediately contact the SDS office.
What transportation is locally available for students with mobility issues?
While The New School does not offer an internal shuttle system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of the City of New York offers one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the United States, much of which is designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.A range of accessible public buses serve the the neighborhood of the New School campus. The L, N, Q, R, and W trains are all wheelchair accessible at Union Square, as are the A, B, C, D, E, F, and M trains at West 4th Street. According to the MTA, «accessible» stops are also equipped with AutoGate, «an automatic entry/exit gate that allows customers who have ambulatory disabilities, are accompanied by a service animal, or use wheelchairs to enter and exit the subway system» and also include text telephones for the benefit of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired.
Does The New School have an assistive technology lab? What assistive technology is available on campus?
While The New School does not have a dedicated assistive technology lab, software such as Kurzweil 3000 and Learning Ally is available to students upon request.
- Prospective Students
In high school, I received accommodations through an Individualized Education, Behavior Support, or 504 plan. Can I use my secondary school plan as documentation of my disability?
While an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Behavior Support Plan, or 504 plan is very useful in determining which accommodations and services would best meet the needs of a student with disabilities, such a document does not itself meet the standard for appropriate documentation of a disability at the university level.
Will I have the same accommodations I had in high school? How do high school services differ from college disability services?
Many accommodations available at the high school level are also available at the university level. These may include the use of smartpens or audio devices, laptop use in class, the use of lockers, deadline flexibility, the provision of alternative texts or alternative format books, extra time on examinations, and closed captioning. What is generally not available, however, is modifications to the curriculum of a course or a college’s programming. Modifications to coursework can be distinguished from coursework accommodations in that accommodations make concepts and content more accessible to students and provide a means for professors to more accurately assess the degree to which a student has mastered concepts and content while modifications change the content of a course or program of study itself.
I have a learning disability and was last tested when I was a freshman in high school or earlier. Do I need to be tested again?
It depends on the nature of the disability. For many «static» disabilities, additional testing may not needed. However, the office prefers a current assessment of student ability that is based on adult-normed testing when considering the accommodation needs of students with ADHD and learning disabilities.
What if I suspect I have a disability but have never been diagnosed?
Documentation of a disability is required if a student wishes to be granted accommodations through SDS. However, the office is also available to support students in the process of identifying any existing disabilities and routinely makes referrals to both the University Learning Center and the Student Health Center, which itself offers an array of counseling and limited testing services. SDS may also be able to assist socioeconomically disadvantaged, non-citizen, and uninsured students with identifying local and community resources that offer relevant healthcare services.
What are the minimum requirements for documentation of my disability?
Appropriate documentation includes a detailed clinical summary of the student’s disability from a qualified healthcare provider, such as a physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or counselor, which must be provided to the Student Disability Services office. The clinical summary should include documentation of the nature of the student’s disability (including its severity and duration), the functional limitations that may be experienced as a result of the disability, and recommendations for appropriate accommodations related to these limitations.
I have a temporary injury that may affect me on campus. Can SDS help?
SDS can offer accommodation for temporary disabilities that are self-evident or that have been documented by a healthcare provider.
Are students required to disclose disabilities to the university or their professors?
Students are never required to disclose a disability to the university or their professors. However, students with disabilities are encouraged to schedule time with SDS to discuss the self-identification process, the benefits of self-identifying as a student with a disability to the university, and what, if any, information related to their disability they are considering disclosing to their professors. A student granted accommodations by SDS will be issued an Academic Adjustment Notice (AAN), an Attendance and Disability Memo (ADM), or both to distribute to professors at the student’s discretion. However, neither an AAN nor an ADM will ever disclose the student’s specific disability.
- Current Students
How are professors informed of my need for accommodations? Will they know my diagnosis?
A student granted accommodations by SDS will be issued an Academic Adjustment Notice (AAN), an Attendance and Disability Memo (ADM), or both to distribute to professors at the student’s discretion. However, neither an AAN nor an ADM will ever disclose the student’s specific disability.
How should I approach my professors about my need for accommodations?
Students may begin this conversation by presenting an Academic Adjustment Notice (AAN) or an Attendance and Disability Memo (ADM) to their professors in person or by email. Students are always encouraged to follow up by scheduling time with their professors to discuss their needs in an individual class, as not all accommodations may apply to all classes. As student accommodation relies heavily upon student advocacy and self-determination at the university level, students may also wish to clarify their professors’ expectations as they relate to the responsibilities of each party in ensuring that accommodations are provided in those professors’ classes. Some teachers may require students to remind them of their accommodation needs before major tests or essays or require students to specifically ask for notes or class materials before providing them. It is the student’s responsibility to pursue such clarification.
Who has access to my records? What is your confidentiality policy?
Access to documentation of students’ disabilities and accommodations and any related information about individual students is limited to members of the SDS staff. Any documentation received by SDS is treated as confidential and never becomes part of a permanent student record. This information is shared within the university on a need-to-know basis only and with the sole intent of providing students with related services.
How long will you keep my records?
SDS destroys student records five years after the student’s exit from the university.
Will my transcript indicate that I have received accommodations in my classes?
Under no circumstances will a student’s transcript indicate that the student received academic accommodations. Any documentation received by SDS is treated as confidential and never becomes part of a permanent student record. This information is shared within the university on a need-to-know basis only and with the sole intent of providing students with related services.
Am I eligible for a course substitution?
In rare cases, students may be eligible for a course substitution. Such a substitution will only be permitted where it reduces or otherwise modifies the rigor or content of the student’s chosen academic program. The SDS staff is available to discuss with each student specific concerns about the challenges presented by a course that are related to the functional limitations caused by the student’s disability. It is important to note, however, that the authority to approve course substitutions ultimately rests not with SDS but with the academic dean associated with the student’s academic program.
Are students studying abroad, including those at Parsons Paris, eligible to receive assistance from SDS?
Students studying abroad at Parsons Paris or in one of Eugene Lang College’s short-term academic programs should request assistance from SDS in the same way as students entering any other program of study offered by The New School. SDS is also available to assist students in securing appropriate accommodations through the universities and institutes that host the dozens of pre-approved programs that offer students of The New School study abroad opportunities.
What happens if I take a formal or informal leave of absence? Do I need to bring new documentation?
In most cases, readmitted students and students returning from a formal leave of absence will not need to resubmit documentation related to their disability to the university. It is always, however, a good idea for students to meet with the SDS office before classes begin to ascertain that everything is in place to ensure a smooth return to academic study.
How can I get books or other assigned material in an alternative format?
Students who require books or other assigned materials in an alternative format should contact the SDS office as early as possible in order to ensure that all such materials will be available in a timely way. All students who receive services through the SDS office receive priority registration and are encouraged to email SDS with their request for alternative format texts at that time.
How can I schedule a test in an alternative testing environment or a test for which I am eligible to receive extra time?
Students who are entitled to an alternative testing environment or additional testing time should schedule testing time with the SDS office directly at least two weeks before the date on which the test is regularly scheduled. The best way to schedule testing is to contact the SDS office by email at [email protected].
I need an ASL interpreter. How can I request interpreting services?
ASL interpretation and transcription services are available to students who submit their schedules and a request for interpretation or transcription to the SDS office at [email protected] at least two weeks before the commencement of the semester for which services are requested. All Hands in Motion (AHIM), The New School’s preferred provider of sign language interpretation and transcription, uses a service called TypeWell, which offers meaning-for-meaning transcription, in contrast to CART, which provides verbatim translation. Please note that students are also responsible for informing SDS of any additional events associated with the relevant course for which they may require services, including meetings with professors or advisors, conferences, field trips, or off-site lectures. Students may also request interpretation services through AHIM for any of the programmatic services offered by The New School by requesting these services in the manner described above at least two weeks before the service, event, or activity or on the date on which the student is made aware of the service, event, or activity. Unfortunately, The New School is unable to guarantee the availability of services to students who do not meet the deadline requirements prescribed herein.
Can SDS assist me in securing accommodations for graduate school, graduate school admission, and licensure testing?
Yes. The steps required for securing reasonable accommodations related to a documented disability are similar at the undergraduate and the graduate levels and are posted on the SDS website. Graduate school and licensing bodies also publish the requirements for securing such services by students sitting for applicable admission and licensure tests online. Students who require guidance during this process may contact the SDS office by email with an enquiry or to schedule a more detailed conversation.
How can I obtain a copy of my disability documentation from my file at SDS?
The best way to obtain a copy of student disability documentation is to contact the SDS office by email at [email protected].
- Faculty and Staff
I am concerned that the requested accommodation changes the nature of my course. What should I do?
Any professor who is concerned that a requested accommodation changes the nature of his or her course should immediately contact the SDS office with the concern. Students receiving services from SDS may be afforded an array of accommodations, including the use of smartpens or audio devices, laptop use in class, the use of lockers, deadline flexibility, the provision of alternative texts or alternative format books, extra time on examinations, and closed captioning. What is generally not available, however, is modifications to the curriculum of a course or a college’s programming. Modifications to coursework can be distinguished from coursework accommodations in that accommodations make concepts and content more accessible to students and provide a means for professors to more accurately assess the degree to which a student has mastered concepts and content while modifications change the content of a course or program of study itself. Professors are, however, encouraged to consider flexibility when a student’s documented disability affects his or her ability to meet deadlines, his or her spelling ability or handwriting, or any other ability not directly related to the actual content and concepts fundamental to the course.
Do I need to change my grading standards for students with disabilities?
No. Students receiving services from SDS may be afforded an array of accommodations, including the use of smartpens or audio devices, laptop use in class, the use of lockers, deadline flexibility, the provision of alternative texts or alternative format books, extra time on examinations, and closed captioning. What is generally not available, however, is modifications to the curriculum of a course or a college’s programming. Modifications to coursework can be distinguished from coursework accommodations in that accommodations make concepts and content more accessible to students and provide a means for professors to more accurately assess the degree to which a student has mastered concepts and content while modifications change the content of a course or program of study itself. Changing grading standards for a student with disabilities is considered a modification of the course. Professors are, however, encouraged to consider flexibility when a student’s documented disability affects his or her ability to meet deadlines, his or her spelling ability or handwriting, or any other ability not directly related to the actual content and concepts fundamental to the course.
Where Can I get More Information?
Please start with the SDS Faculty/Staff Resource Guide, located on Canvas.
- Parents and Families
Will I still be able to be as deeply involved in my student’s accommodation plan as I was when he or she was in high school?
The process for securing reasonable accommodations for documented disabilities at the university level is substantially different from the process students become accustomed to at the secondary level in that it is largely student directed. In addition, the medical and academic information of university-level students is protected by both the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). University offices that handle confidential health-related records are therefore unable to disclose much of the information provided by or discussed with a student to his or her parent without that student’s consent. That said, SDS routinely meets with parents who accompany students to intake and other meetings in our office. Parents are always welcome to come to such meetings.
Can your office update me on the status of my student’s accommodations or academic progress?
The medical and academic information of university-level students is protected by both the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). University offices that handle confidential health-related records are therefore unable to disclose much of the information provided by or discussed with a student to his or her parent without that student’s consent. That said, SDS routinely meets with parents who accompany students to intake and other meetings in our office. Parents are always welcome to come to such meetings.
We cannot afford to have our student re-evaluated. Are there any other resources available?
The New School does offer some resources that may be of assistance to students who experience difficulties at the university but have no prior diagnoses. Some low-fee psychological and educational testing is available to students of The New School through Student Health Services; the appropriate contact is [email protected] If such a disability is documented, SDS can work with you at our office to identify and provide appropriate accommodations.
My student has trouble with organization and time management. Are there any resources available on campus to assist in this capacity?
While these sorts of services are not available through the SDS office, The New School does have a learning center that offers assistance in all content areas as well as in time management and organization. The University Learning Center allows students up to two meetings weekly of up to an hour apiece with its staff. Students can book appointments with the center online as needed. The SDS office routinely refers students with concerns related to organization and time management to the University Learning Center with great success.
- What We Do
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