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Middle School Tea for Fifth Grade Parents

Take a look at Tami’s final post to see how the Office of Admission supports families even at the end of their UCDS journey. -Ed.

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My role as the UCDS Director of Admission is to welcome new families into the UCDS community each year. I spend a good portion of my work hours getting to know prospective parents and families, answering every question you can imagine about UCDS and organizing multiple admission tours, events and meetings. Yet, few people know that I support the Moving On parents with their students’ admission to middle schools. I spend just as much time meeting with fifth grade parents to counsel them on strategies for their child’s applications and how to navigate communication with admission offices. Additionally, our office hosts several events targeted for fifth grade parents only. The Middle School Tea is probably the most important event that we host for fifth grade parents. At least, that’s the feedback we’ve received from alumni parents year after year. In fact, I’ve been told multiple times by former parents that we should require all fifth grade parents to attend Middle School Tea because we provide the most informative and helpful advice needed to manage the middle school application process.

The Middle School Tea is intentionally held the last week of September so we can set the stage for what’s to come during the admission season (October through March). There are three administrators that co-host the Middle School Tea.  Melissa Chittenden, Assistant Head of School, shares the “do’s and don’ts” in applying to middle schools and offers a wealth of examples that are humorous and informative.  Abby Sandberg, Learning Specialist, provides pertinent information about testing and testing supports for fifth grade students. Finally, I share the nuts and bolts of the admission process and the sequence of events. I always open the Middle School Tea by highlighting the middle school results from the prior graduated class.  I remove the names of former classmates and share the acceptance, wait pool and declines categorized by each school. The overall picture of UCDS students’ acceptances versus declines is amazing! In fact, almost every year, UCDS fifth grade students are accepted to their first or second choice school. For example, The Moving On Class of 2017 had nineteen out of twenty three students receive an emphatic “Yes!” from their first choice school. These results always bring a sigh of relief from parents and help to ease anxiety. At the end of our chat, we offer a Q&A to answer questions about the admission process, testing, and any other topics parents are wondering about. Although we recognize families are moving on from UCDS, we feel it’s important to support their admission journey in their final year at UCDS. The Middle School Tea is just one example of how we provide support in our partnership with families.