I spent a few hours in the last few months gathering data about my students with respect to transience or mobility. What I found was not exactly "heartening." A quarter of my students had moved five or more times from kindergarten to high school.
Less than ten per cent of my students had shared my experience of having one elementary school and one high school. One student had changed schools 17 times! I did not want to use this information as an excuse. I want to use it to point out to my staff and the staffs of our "feeder" elementary schools that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
What I want this blog to "do" is establish a forum of ideas to help the students that move several times throughout their educational careers. Although I have ideas of my own, I know that the more people who put their minds to this issue, the better the chance that we'll find solutions that will work, not only for "my" students, but for students around the country.
As I see it, there are at least three ways that transience can affect students: academically, socially, and emotionally. It is important to deal with all three to improve the situation for a transient student.
Examples of solutions are: 1) academically - a family of schools can arrange courses so that topics are taught in the same order. When a student moves, for whatever reason, from one school to another school in the same family, they will not be missing much in the way of material being covered at school; 2) socially - the receiving school can act in the same manner as "Welcome Wagon," providing families with information about the neighbourhood they've moved in to, such as who their Member of Parliament is, who their councillor is, who their trustee is, etc. It could also provide information about local restaurants and grocery stores, along with coupons for these institutions. It could also provide an application for library cards; and 3) the receiving school could provide a mentor or "buddy" for the student to help them adjust to the new building.
I have many more ideas, but I'd like to hear from you.