The Academic Journey to Success -- Helpful Strategies for School Transitions (NewsUSA) - This fall, some students face more than a new school year -- they face a whole new school. Transition years, in which students move from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school, can be exciting and full of promise. But adjusting to greater academic challenges and a different social environment can be scary, as well. Students may worry about making friends, peer pressure, getting lost and having a different teacher for each class. So, what can parents do to help children through this major change? Sylvan Learning offers the following tips. * Get to know the school. Attend the end-of-summer activities your school offers. There's probably an open house -- take your child, and invite one or two of her friends to go with you. If the school doesn't have an open house, advocate for one. * Roam around. Explore the campus. Have your child's new schedule with you. Go to the classrooms, the restrooms, the cafeteria, the gym, the main office, the nurse's office and the guidance suite. Note how long it takes to get from classroom to classroom. * Be prepared. Buy a combination lock before school starts, and let your child practice locking and unlocking it. * Be encouraging. Encourage your child to join clubs, teams and activities. This is a great way to make friends, discover new interests and talents, put down roots and build confidence. * Know the teachers. Keep in periodic touch with teachers in person and through notes, e-mail or the school's Web site. Know what they expect from students, when report cards come out, when major assignments are due and when tests are scheduled. Help keep your student on track by being persistent when necessary. * Organize. Help your child stay ahead by setting goals, planning for important dates and events and establishing homework and studying routines. For additional resources and free seminars on "Transitions: Middle and High School," visit