What parents can expect
Middle school is the time parents tend to be less involved, but it's the very time your child needs encouragement and guidance.
Parents must understand that their middle-schoolers will be going through many emotional, physical and intellectual spurts. Not all are always appreciated by the adults. Children will start 'pushing the envelope' to see what boundaries the school and the parent will set. Remind yourself that this is natural. Peers will have as much, if not more, impact on youngsters' social lives as you will. Although parents may be new at this, school officials are not! They have seen thousands of middle schoolers come and go and 99.9% come through the experience in one piece!
- Meet your child's teachers, if you haven't already done so, and make it clear that you want to be kept up to date about any changes in your child's work or behavior.
- Meet your child's school counselor and go over your child's standardized test results to identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Talk to the counselor about your child's interests to see if there are electives and extracurricular activities that will help him develop his talents.
- If your child needs extra help or more challenging assignments in a subject, talk to the counselor about how to arrange it.
Teachers should keep an open door policy before school starts, as well as after school begins, since the confusion will not stop once school starts. School officials need to let the students and parents know whom they can go to if they have questions or concerns after the start of school. Normally, this might be the principal, assistant principal, or counselor. It is very important that an early line of communication is established between the home and school. Parents should meet with and know the expectations, standards, homework and grading policies, etc. of their child's teachers.
If your child has special needs, meet with the teacher and principal to share that information. You can exchange ideas and learn about the approach at that school. You might also take him to the school before the first day to orient him and familiarize him with it. There will likely be a counselor available to help you out, as well.
Everyone makes mistakes. But your child needs your love and respect. He/she needs to become independent, responsible, and self-sufficient to succeed in most of his/her endeavors in school and at home. The best way to help him/her in all aspects of development is to try to ensure that him/her emotional needs are consistently met. Your understanding, common sense, adult judgment, and good sense of humor can make these middle-school years a joy for both you and your child.
Transitioning to middle school can be a challenge, but with planning and patience, every child should be successful.
What students can Expect
Teachers & Classes
Entering the 5th grade, students will have two ‘core’ teachers for the major subjects (math, reading/language arts, science, and social studies). They will also have one related arts teacher for PE, art, music, band and more. Different schools offer different related arts, and those classes and teachers will rotate throughout the year. Sixth graders may have a third core teacher for the major subjects, depending on how teachers are allocated throughout all middle schools.
Students of all abilities and backgrounds will be together in a single classroom. Teachers use differentiation within instruction to meet all student needs. This means that the same lessons will be taught in different ways to different students. Some schools also offer courses for high school credit.
There are a lot of differences in student life from elementary to middle school.
For starters, school starts later. Because our elementary, middle and high school students all ride the school bus separately, school start times are staggered. Middle schools start the latest, usually around 8:55 a.m. Fun Fact: More middle school students ride the bus than any other tier!
Students have lockers and need a lock to keep it safe and secure. Some schools provide locks while others require parents to purchase a combination lock. Check with your school to see what the policy is. If using a combination lock, spend some time practicing with it to be sure there aren’t any problems once it’s fastened to the locker.
Lunchtime is a little different, too. Just like in elementary school the normal school lunch is available to buy. Unlike elementary school there are also a la carte items students can buy instead of the normal lunch.
School supplies and dress codes can be different from school to school. Before buying any clothes or supplies, check with your school to find out exactly what you need. If you see a USB drive listed on your school supply list, you will need one even if you don’t have a computer at home. Our students use computers at school and might need this drive to save their work.