Building Relationships to Support the Transition to High School

Building relationships with students is a critical lever for supporting them in the transition to high school.

Structures such as mentoring and Freshman Advisory programs allow students to receive on-time and targeted support through one-on-one, small group, and/or whole group activities. During the initial phases, Success Teams may struggle when deciding what interventions will be the most impactful for their students. Tool Set B provides you with a collection of practical, research-based articles to increase your knowledge of meaningful and targeted student interventions.

Professional readings provide a common learning experience for your Success Team. Using a text-based protocol with the professional reading allows participants to process new information as well as discuss implications for practice. The Network for College Success finds protocols to be very helpful for structuring an efficient and productive conversation when in teams. Some possible protocols for use with these articles are the Four A’s Text Protocol, The Final Word, and Text-Based Seminar.

Use the Tool Set

The full Building Relationships to Support the Transition to High School Tool Set is available for download. The download includes the five tools in this Tool Set.

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Tool Name Type

Easing the Transition to High School

An advisory program can be a school's most powerful tool for building relationships with freshmen. This is a chronicle of one suburban high school’s journey to shift the culture of support for freshmen through the creation of a Freshman Advisory program focused on building connections and providing academic and social survival skills.


Relationships Matter

A review of the research on the importance of student-teacher relationships as a lever for student academic achievement. Practical suggestions are also provided.


The Magic of Mentoring

An article on the basics of establishing a school-based mentoring program, including how to structure such a program, the role of a mentor, and supporting ongoing mentoring relationships.


Mentoring Minority Students

An article describing one high school’s approach to increasing minority student enrollment in honors courses.


The Developmental Relationships Framework

This Framework, produced by the Search Institute, has identified five elements—expressed in 20 specific actions—that make relationships powerful in young people’s lives. Educators must build relationships with freshmen so they can successfully navigate the transition to high school. These relationships not only support students in the classroom, but can help them discover who they are in the world. For more information on how the Search Institute helps educators discover what students need to succeed, click here >.