High School Transition



Students at Gottesman RTW Academy often have numerous choices for high school and this can be a daunting step for many parents and students. Parents may not be aware that our language arts and math teacher for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, Ms. Sheri Swiss, is also the High School Transition Coordinator. As a teacher who knows the strengths and work habits of her students, Mrs. Swiss is well-poised to help them make the most fitting choice as well as assist them and their parents through the process of open houses, interviews and placement tests. She has a hand-on approach to guiding students and parents through the process and has developed a comprehensive step-by- step guide for all of the school choices and their associated paperwork and placement procedures.


Our students begin this process starting in the spring of 7th grade, leaving ample time to start thinking about their next step. At this point, Mrs. Swiss starts meeting with parents to discuss possible high schools. During this discussion, she provides parents with information about private vs. public schools, Jewish vs. secular schools, free vs. tuition based schools and competitive private vs competitive public schools.  Students also begin preparing for ISEE, SSAT, or Accuplacer admission tests.

The following fall of 8th grade, students begin the more concrete next steps in the transitioning process. The 8th graders get the opportunity to have representatives from high schools to come speak with them and also take this time to attend open houses at high schools at which Dr. Cheryl Bahar and Mrs. Swiss often accompanies the students and parents. Then for one of the most difficult, administrative, and paper-heavy steps in the process, Mrs. Swiss works with parents through the application process, making sure they are getting everything they need for admissions. She also coordinates all the transcripts and teacher recommendations, so they are submitted on time. At this point, students are given the opportunity to attend mock interviews to prepare for the interview process.

The final leg of the process starts in the winter of 8th grade, once students receive acceptances. Mrs. Swiss works with parents to make a final choice. When looking at high schools, most parents want to know where the students go on to college, and prints out matriculation lists for the parents; however, Mrs. Swiss's approach is also focused on what is right for the student. Therefore, the process is very individualized. Since she has taught these students for math and language arts since 6th grade and also has an intimate knowledge of each school, Mrs. Swiss is able to offer a valuable recommendation based on the individual student's strengths and needs.




Parents commonly ask Dr. Bahar and Mrs. Swiss whether our curriculum prepares our students to meet the necessary requirements and prerequisites to go on to a high school of their choice. For those students who decide to go on to a technical high school or private school, both Dr. Bahar and Mrs. Swiss make sure that each student's schoolwork is geared so that students will have met all the necessary prerequisites. In fact, Dr. Bahar and Mrs. Swiss typically follow up with our graduates in high school to ensure that we are properly preparing our students.

Because of our rigorous math curriculum, many students leave the 8th grade finishing algebra and are prepared for honors or a regular geometry program. Mrs. Swiss is reading books with her students that are normally read in high school and says that most of the curriculum is taught on an honors level so that if the students want to pursue an honors track in high school they are able to. "One of our main goals regarding curriculum," Mrs. Swiss remarks, "is to make sure that whatever class our students want to take in high school, they will be prepared."

Another concern among parents is that the time spent on the Judaic curriculum may cause students to lag behind academically in other areas. However, Mrs. Swiss has found that our Judaic education doesn't detract from the overall academics or their ability to place in a private or technical school. In fact, as a result of their Jewish history studies, students ultimately have a more expansive knowledge of history than many students from other schools. Moreover, because our students learn Derech Eretz and good character traits through their Judaic studies, they are able to enter high school with confidence and a stronger sense of self.

Mrs. Swiss has a wide array of resources available, and in this role of High School Transition Coordinator, she is with parents and students each step of the way. If you have any questions or would like to speak with her about the high school transitioning process, please feel free to reach out to her at sswiss@grtwacademy.org