Growing Lifelong Learners Since 1972

Transition to High School

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Wingra School is, “How do your students do when they transition to high school?” Our answer is “Very, very well.” Wingra students are known for their organization, resourcefulness, sense of humor, integrity, complex thinking skills, and engagement in learning. (Read how they do once they're there!)

However, we all know that it is better to investigate primary sources. So read on to hear from alumni in 2012 about their transitions.

Tell us about your transition to high school and how you feel that your time at Wingra School affected this experience?
“I was really insecure about making friends and was really worried about that. Now I have friends, and it’s great. The academics were not as hard as I thought they would be. It’s not that hard actually transitioning to high school.”

“My transition was pretty seamless. I hung out with Wingra friends all the time, even though they were at different schools.”

“I don’t remember a lot of anxiety. I was excited about being in a larger environment, with so many interesting courses. Wingra prepared me as well as anything.”

"When you’re at Wingra you learn stuff you’re going to learn in high school. I thought I was so prepared when I got there. I took a math class in 8th grade at West. Even in 8th grade, I felt prepared to talk in front of the class and to talk to teachers. I wasn’t scared to be right or wrong. If you go to class and do the work and know what’s on the test, it won’t be hard at all.

"Take honors classes. It’s fun to be challenged. Academically, it was very seamless. A lot that happens at Wingra is that you make close friends with a few people. You should spread out and meet new people.

"I didn’t have a lot of friends at West when I went in. We learned to recognize the good in people and to choose good people to be friends with. I was very, very prepared to make my own decisions and to not be pressured. I made the right decisions, and I knew how to say no.

"The lessons you learn here really show themselves positively at the next level. You develop a love and a thirst for knowledge. It was a very smooth transition. There are rocks and bumps in any transition, but I was prepared for that. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.”

What suggestions do you have for current students and parents about their transitions into new schools? (alumni responses)

  • It helped me to take the 8th grade math at West.
  • Get a planner and stay organized!
  • If you have trouble with something academically, you can sign up for a free tutor. You can get help if you struggle.
  • Wingra is not the only small school in Madison. Everyone is transitioning as freshmen. Be persistent. If you want to take a certain class or do something in particular, be persistent.
  • Continue being an individual when you go to high school. You’ll find other people who don’t want to conform. Embrace stuff that you do, and you’ll find people who like you for who you are.
  • Wingra helped me to be sensitive and accepting to a people from a variety of social/economic strata and cultures.
  • The syllabi (plan sheets) got me ready. Above all, being able to ask questions when things aren’t clear. They’re there to help you learn.

To alumni parents, what were some of your biggest hopes and concerns when you enrolled at Wingra and how do you feel about them now?
"I had hoped that it wouldn’t be just an academic education but that children were treated respectfully. I wanted my children to be able to trust adults and to go to them. There was a lot of community feel that’s really valued in today’s world."

"Teachers respect the students, and students respect the adults. There’s a way of communicating that’s open that encourages productivity and creativity. At my daughter’s conference, the teachers all said what a strong advocate she was for her learning. It encourages people to be who they are, to take chances.

"I did have tremendous concerns when she was 8 years old. The biggest fear I had was the whole idea of grades. Even though my child wasn’t technically graded with letters, she was evaluated in an appropriate, thorough way. They taught her how to figure things out.

"The transition went really, really smoothly. It’s all those skills you want kids to have. That’s what Wingra has given our daughter: empowerment. The fear was the grades but that turned out to be not something to worry about.

"The skills she learned here, how to manage her time, how to set goals, problem-solving, communicating—this is what Wingra gave her. As a parent I would say, yeah, that’s what I wanted.”

Thank You!

Special thanks to all of the alumni and parents who shared their stories.

Ben Becker (2003 LaFollette)
Demi Brock-Montgomery (2011 West)
Max Colmenares (2011 Memorial)
Saminike Hengst (2010 East)
Sam Highsmith (1993 West / Shabazz)
Nate Jenkins (2011 Middleton)
Lauren Mazur (2011 Memorial)
Kyle Quagliana (2003 West)
Mike Schumacher (2003 West)
Rob Schumacher (2005 West)
Keegan Thompson (2011 West)
Regina Whitemarsh (2002 West)

Alumni Parents:
Theresa Atkin
Erica Colmenares
Robert Godfrey
Kristin Jenkins
Kathy and Tim Mazur
Craig Thompson