Finding a Fit: High School for Hausner Students

Jody Passanisi

It’s that time of year again, when our eighth graders' thoughts turn toward their next steps—toward high school.

For some, this can be a daunting enterprise: maybe they’ve been at Hausner since kindergarten or first grade and the thought of being in another school makes them worry they will miss this experience. 

For others, they are champing at the bit to be able to stretch their well-earned academic and social skills. They want the newness of high school, the excitement of the unknown.

And others aren’t sure how they feel. Regardless of stance, high school is coming for all of them. And they are ready; more than ready. 

Fit is everything: 

One of the most rewarding parts of my job as Middle School Director is helping each individual student with the process of looking at high school fit. For some students, they are already sure they will be going to their local high school: Paly, Gunn, Mountain View, etc. Others are excited to continue their Jewish education with our partner school Kehillah. And others are looking at independent schools in the area like Nueva, Menlo, Castileja, Harker, or Crystal Springs, to name a few.

Process is important:

Partnership between Hausner, the parents, and the student is really important to the process. In the spring of seventh grade, I send out preliminary information about high school application/registration processes– and of course, make myself available for conversations with families and students about what they are interested in, hoping for, and wondering about. I send out another packet of information to eighth grade families at the beginning of the eighth grade year with information about open houses, timelines, and contact information for schools. It is at this point that most families considering independent schools and I have meetings to talk about the next steps for the students. 

Students have a lot to do to prepare for applying to high schools-- the application process in and of itself-- but each school has their own unique way of finding out if a school is a good fit for an individual student. For example, Nueva has built into its application process a collaborative team task-- and every school requires an interview. 

I love doing mock interviews with the students, watching the way that they are learning to craft their own narrative as they answer questions. Many students come back for multiple mock interviews-- and I always appreciate when they debrief afterwards so I can continue adding questions to my cache. 

An Advocate for the Students in Admissions: 

My first year at Hausner I built relationships with the admissions directors of almost all of the local independent schools; it’s important to me to advocate for our Hausner students and to make sure that there is someone in their corner, sharing their unique traits and qualities with their schools of choice so that they can have more choice when it comes to deciding next steps in March.

Fit is so important in schools, and, in partnership with families, advisors, and of course students, we talk over which schools make sense and what they are looking for in their next steps. Hausner students, if admissions are an indication, are diverse in fit: one year Nueva took four of our students, another year Menlo took five. In the past five years, students have been accepted to Kehillah, Castilleja, Harker, Nueva, Menlo School, Crystal Springs Uplands, and more. Hausner students have a strong reputation at these schools- not just for academic excellence- but for their poise, thoughtfulness, and ability to articulate what is important to them. 

Wherever our students end up next year, they will be successful; Hausner students advocate for themselves and others. Our Humanities, STEM, Math, Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and specialists have helped them develop a diverse set of integrated and transferable skills that will serve them in high school and beyond. 

We have a lot to be proud of. Here’s to the Class of 2022!

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