Explore’s 8th Graders Prepare for the Future

(October 19, 2021 -- Jersey City) It is high school application season and the 8th graders at Explore Middle School are beginning to apply to the high schools of their choice. High school marks a thrilling new beginning for middle school students as it offers an array of new opportunities; and, they will have more of a say in the programs of study, electives and extracurricular activities they participate in. Therefore, it is important that students choose the high school that suits them best. While the process of choosing a high school may seem daunting, the staff at Explore, High Tech and County Prep are helping the Explore 8th graders navigate the process.

In the Spring of 2021, the current 8th graders attended several virtual open houses where they met with County Prep High School as well as the Arts, Design and Fabrication, and Culinary Science Academies of High Tech High School. During the open houses, students were given an overview of the academies and majors and what they offered. Afterwards, students participated in a Q&A session. The open houses provided valuable information that would help the students narrow down the best school and program of study for their high school experience.

Over the summer, the 8th-grade students began working on the first drafts of their high school essays. When school resumed in September, the students workshopped their essays in Language Arts with Ms. Franco. During the workshop, students reviewed mentor texts and analyzed examples of a strong high school application essay. Students were also given the chance to share their work with a peer for additional feedback. Lastly, students were given a rubric to score themselves and evaluate their writing. Students made revisions and edits to their work as needed. Students also had the opportunity to work on their portfolios with Mr. Aziz during Technology and with Ms. Teschlog during School Orientation.

In September, Ms. Teschlog held a meeting with 8th-grade parents and students regarding the high school application process. Expectations of the process were reviewed as well as the deadlines and requirements for upcoming applications.

During the last week of September, the 8th grade visited High Tech and County Prep High Schools. Students were given tours of the buildings and an overview of what each school had to offer.

On the High Tech field trip, the High Tech High School Peer Leaders welcomed the students and kicked the day off with an overview of each academy (DFAB, Biomedical Science, Environmental Science, Culinary Arts, Performing Arts and Visual and Media Arts). Each Peer Leader talked at length about their academy and the experiences it has afforded them.

After an overview and Q&A session, the Peer Leaders led the students on a tour of the academy of their choice. While visiting classrooms, the 8th graders were able to see students and teachers in action.

8th grader, Emily Echavez, commented on the field trip. “High Tech is a very modern school. It was great to see the environment I could possibly learn in when I am a high school student. I am really looking forward to attending HTHS.”

During the County Prep field trip, The County Prep Peer Leaders asked students about their interests based on the list of available majors and based their tour on the students' responses. Afterward, the Peer Leaders reviewed the extracurricular activities, academic schedules, and the application process.

Rachel Hopkins, also an 8th grader, remarked, “The trip was very informative and gave great information that will be helpful when deciding on a high school.”

The field trips were a wonderful culminating activity for the high school application process. They provided students with valuable information that will be beneficial when finalizing their decisions for high school. Thank you to Principal Kathy Young of High Tech and Principal Barbara Mendolla of County Prep for affording our Explore HCST students these opportunities.

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