Life After Discovery - What We Learned

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Over 35 parents and kids attended the 2017 Discovery Student Alumni Panel Presentation on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017to hear and learn from the real life experiences of NRE Discovery students who are now in middle school and high school.

The eight panel participants represented Cresthill, Rocky Heights, and Mountain Ridge Middle Schools, as well as Mountain Vista and Colorado Early Colleges - Parker, a new charter school that offers concurrent enrollment in college level classes.

A big thank you to all the panelists and their families for supporting the Northridge community. We hope to offer this program every year. Here are some of the recommendations from this year's panel:

Things Northridge students can do now

  • Learn and practice advocating for yourself now; your parents are not going to do it in middle school. Learn to speak up and ask for help.
  • Develop friendships with people outside of Discovery so you are ready to be in pods with other non-Discovery students in middle school.
  • Discovery friends help you adjust to middle school - make sure to get their cell phone numbers before you leave NRE. 

Things to do over the summer before 7th grade

  • Take the middle school summer orientation course, e.g. New Beginnings, to learn how to get organized.
  • Other ways to organize is to have different backpack for different days, use a planner (online app or print), set up an accordion folder.
  • Figure out a system that works for you and use it.

First Days in Middle School

  • Waking up at 6 am to get to school is not fun.
  • The first week of middle school is challenging.
  • The best way to make new friends is through school activities that are interesting to you.

From the High School Viewpoint

  • Middle school is really practice for high school. 
  • Don't do the regular classes; pick at least honors classes, AP, or IB.
  • High school empowers you to make your own choices about what and how you want to learn. 

Here are some additional links related to the panel discussion.

2017 Middle School and High School Option Handout - This is the online version of the printed handout shared at the event. This is meant to be a living document - so if you find out new information, please feel free to add a comment for everyone to see and learn.

"Two of Colorado's largest districts explore later high school start times." Chalkbeat, Ann Schimke. Published August 15, 2016. The panelists universally agreed that the early start times for middle and high school was the one thing they hated about school. This article identifies the pros and cons of later start times.

"Self-advocacy for gifted teens and tweens: How to help gifted teens take control of their classroom experience." a guest post on the Gifted Challenges Blog by Ilana Teitelman. Published August 10, 2016. Panelists strongly encouraged students to learn how to advocate for themselves while they were at Northridge. This articles provides some tips on how to practice self-advocacy.

"Friendship 101". Mensa Magazine, by Lisa Van Gemert and Patti Bear. Published February 2013. Having friends from Discovery in your middle school classes helps make the transition much easier. This article offers parents advice on how to help their kids develop friendship-making skills.