PCSing with a Senior High Schooler Mid Senior Year is definitely not an ideal plan, but with the military you do often get to choose exactly where or when you are going to move. So you learn to roll with it, make the best of it, and pray that it all works out!
In our case we had to PSC mid-Senior year with our oldest and we had quite a few challenges, so I hope by sharing our experience it may help make someone else’s a bit easier.
First and foremost do NOT assume that transferring in mid Senior year will be easy and painless. We thought since Boo would be transferring from a great Private school that there would be on issues transferring to a DODEA school, we were wrong! In September, about 2 weeks after school had started here in Germany, I had our counselor from our private school contact the counselor at the DODEA school and ask about his credits. We were shocked to find that he would be 1.5 credits short of graduating! Apparently DODEA requires 1.5 more credits of technology and art than Alabama does. Him not graduating was NOT an option since he has a full-scholarship to a college he will be attending this fall!
This left us scrambling to come up with a plan, and quickly! We did not have many options but thankfully the private school we were leaving had an awesome counselor and a president who agreed to our alternative plan. We agreed that Boo would finish the first semester in Alabama by taking the exams a few weeks early and then when he got here to Germany he would not have to attend school until when the new semester started Jan. 27th. There were some hiccups with this plan, but more about that below. We also agreed that in order for Boo to graduate with enough credits that he would take classes here in Germany at the high school but that his grades will be sent back to his private school in Alabama and he will receive his diploma from them. There is a regulation in place that allows this for Seniors transferring mid-year. We were told he would still get to walk here in Germany but when the diplomas are presented his will be a diploma from his private school in Alabama, which is fine with us.
We told Boo what we had agreed on and that he wouldn’t have to start school until Jan 27th, so he would have from Nov. 20th until Jan. 27th off, in hindsight I wish I would have told him we had to wait to figure it out when we got to Germany. When we arrived plans had to change a bit…Before we arrived we were told he could use the time off to volunteer, get a job, help us get moved, ect. because he already had his semester grades completed.
This was all great except for the fact that we wanted him to play on the basketball team. I even asked about that BEFORE arriving and was told he still would not need to come to class. After we arrived and met with the counselor and vice principal we learned that we should not have been told his, Boo was not happy. In order for him to play on the basketball team he had to attend some classes and get ‘grades’ to qualify, it was here at this meeting I was kicking myself for telling him he didn’t have to go to school until Jan. 27th! After much discussion we came to a resolution that we were not thrilled about but it would work. He would ‘audit’ 2 classes a day and do the work in the class to get a ‘grade’ to make him eligible for basketball but it would not count for his semester as he’d already completed those grades back in Alabama. It was good for him because he only had to attend 2 classes a day until Jan. 27th, so while it wasn’t no school it wasn’t all day either. The only crazy part was that the 2 classes on Red day were in the morning so he rode the bus to school and I picked him up at lunch, and the 2 classes on Blue day were in the afternoon so I had to take him to school after lunch and then pick him from basketball practice. It sure made for a lot of running around on my part, but truthfully I am glad I got to spend the extra time with him since he’ll be leaving us this fall for college.
When he found out about auditing the classes he said he would rather not play basketball and have the time off school BUT Mr. B and I were insistent that he played and for several reasons. One because he’s good and enjoys playing basketball but was coming from a team where the coach was not the best experience for the past several years. Also I really wanted him to finish his high school basketball experience on a positive note. The other reason why we wanted him to play is because we knew that he would make friends right away and that it would make the transition easier on him. And it is his Senior year and I would’ve hated for him to miss out and regret it. The basketball team has been great, he’s made friends and it’s helped him transition easily into the school. Despite his initial resistance he had confirmed that he’s glad we ‘pushed’ him to play.
At the meeting we were also told by the Vice Principal that Boo would not be able to walk for graduation here, thankfully we were able to get that resolved as well and he will be walking and receiving his Alabama diploma. Again this was something that we had covered prior to arriving but again was trying to be changed after we arrived, I was not happy.
We’re now in the new semester and I have to make sure that I follow up and that his grades are sent back to the private school in Alabama when needed so that there will be NO issues at diploma time. I’ve learned that it is best to take the proactive approach intend of having to deal with a situation where it has already became a hot mess 😉
If your PCSing with a Senior mid-year know that it is something that happens frequently in the military and you are not alone. If your going to a DODEA school it should make it a bit easier as the kids there are used to kids coming and going year round and the school should have policies in place to help accommodate your student. Stay proactive and start doing your research as soon as you know you’ll be moving, it will make things a lot easier for the transition process.
Here are some quick tips to make things easier:
Know your counselor at the school your leaving from and have a good relationship with them. Make time to go in and sit down with them to discuss your questions and concerns. Ask them to contact the counselor at the new school and find out what needs to be done for a successful transition between both schools.
Make sure you hand carry a copy of their transcripts, volunteer hours, test scores (ACT/SAT, etc) and any email correspondence that you’ve had with the counselors from both the school you are leaving and the school you are moving to. Also if they will be playing sports right away make sure you have a current physical done and a hard copy with you.
If at all possible make sure your child has taken the ACT/SAT by the end of their Junior year, this will make the Senior year less stressful. You’ll need the info about volunteer hours, achievements, etc for applying for scholarships some scholarships can be applied for as soon as November before they attend college so stay on top of this information as well.
Once you get to the new base make an appointment with the High School counselor right away to get things set up. That way if classes need to be changed/moved, graduation issues discussed, you can get it taken care of as soon as possible.
If your child will be walking with the class make sure you get information on ordering the cap & gown for them to do so, we got here and the cutoff date for ordering was a week later!
Get your child involved in a sport or activity at the new school as soon as possible. This will help them to quickly make friends and adjust to the new school.
Stay positive! Even when it’s challenging if you keep a positive attitude it will help your teen to keep one as well.