Heidelberg teacher creates program to help students transition grades

Starting at a new school can be intimidating. Teacher Dorothy Hamilton created Hedges Around Youth to help ease students fears about moving to a new grade.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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HEIDELBERG, Miss. (WDAM) - Starting at a new school can be intimidating. One Heidelberg teacher, however, is helping to take away some of the stress by offering a free transitional skills class - Hedges Around Youth.

“It’s a transitional program,” said Dorothy Hamilton, program creator. “It’s an enrichment. It’s educational. We’re going to have media skills. We’re doing rigorous activities in order to help to transition our students back to the, well not back, but into a newer grade.”

Students start the program by asking questions for the next school year. Hamilton said these questions could range from teacher expectations to class structure or their new classrooms.

“Elementary to the junior high is huge,” said Hamilton. “We may not think as it being so huge, but to the students, that’s new. Anything new is going to cause some changes, going to cause some fear. It’s going to cause some problems sometimes.”

One student, Kesean Johnson, shared his fears about going into the seventh grade.

“I’m a little concerned about, like, is the stuff going to be harder because last year math I had trouble in math,” said Johnson. “But, I’m sure the teachers are going to help me learn more. That’s what I’m most afraid of, math.”

Hamilton designs her classes to help ease fears like Johnson’s.

“Each section is on different activities, your objectives - and it’s pretty much rigorous - and ideas and activities and goals students need to know,” said Hamilton.

Johnson said these weekly classes have helped him feel prepared for school to start this fall.

“Well, what’s going to help me is the teachers,” said Johnson. “They’re going to tell me everything that I need to know, and then - I’m going into a different grade. I’m starting to be a teenager. - then my brain’s getting stronger. I’m getting smarter, and then this is going to help me. The teacher’s is going to help me learn.”

Registration for the East Jasper Consolidation School District will start on July 11 and end on July 15.

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