New School Year, New School: Helping Kids Cope with Catholic School Restructuring

Monday, August 20, 2012

Although many Catholic schools received reprieves from impending closings and mergers, hundreds of students will be affected by Catholic school restructuring this September. Pennsylvania certified school psychologist and senior fellow at Saint Joseph’s University’s Center for Catholic and Urban Education in Philadelphia, Anne Marie Borneman, Ed.D., believes that these school changes can be positive experiences for school children and their families.

Borneman points out that the start of a new school year always presents opportunities, and for kids who might be changing schools, the opportunities are even more plentiful, i.e., making new friends, meeting new teachers and being a part of an exciting new community.

Parents and teachers can capitalize on the chance to teach kids important life lessons during times of transition, according to Borneman. “The ability to adapt to changes and challenges in a positive and constructive manner is an important life skill,” she notes. “By helping students develop resilience and a sense of competency, adults can give children the skills necessary to cope more confidently with future challenges.”

Borneman offers some parents quick tips to help alleviate potential stress:

  • Encourage your child to share his or her feelings and reactions to the upcoming changes, and affirm that these emotions are normal and natural.
  • Attend open houses with your child at the new school, and make it a point to meet faculty and staff at the school.
  • Plan ahead for, and prepare your child for, any changes in transportation.

“If parents project a positive and optimistic attitude toward the school change, children will more likely adopt a similar outlook, resulting in a smoother — and more successful — transition for all,” says Borneman.

Borneman can be reached at or by contacting the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.

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