Beginning of the Year Student Success

Students can find the transition from elementary school to middle school extremely frightening and stressful.  What can you do in making this transition easier and more successful?

Memorize your class schedule ~  Student schedules will be mailed out in August before school starts.  Use the school map and mentally visualize the route to all of your classes.  Even though most of the sixth grade classes are in one specific wing of the building, they may have a class or two in other hallways.  Remember, passing period is four minutes long, so plan your route and bathroom breaks accordingly.

Use the school planner ~ Probably the single most critical thing you can to do to help get the school year started out right is to assist your child with their planning and organizing.  Many students find it very intimidating to go from a single teacher in elementary school to six teachers in middle school.  Keeping track of each teacher’s expectations, homework assignments, upcoming tests and projects can be an overwhelming first experience.  That is why every SMS is required to carry a Planner.  In his/her Planner, the student writes down the daily objective and homework assignment for each period of the day.  As a parent, you can review your child’s Planner at home to ensure it is being used, check on homework and generally keep on top of what your child is learning at school. Teachers also have monthly calendars and grades posted on our school website/powerschool site.

Keeping Track of Homework ~  I have talked to many frustrated parents who have spent an entire evening helping their son or daughter with a homework assignement that ends up never being turned in the next day!  It is a very enlightening experience for parents when we open up their child’s locker to have a cascade of finished and unfinished work fall out to the floor of the hallway.  Or have the student dump out their backpack  in the counselor’s office to find wads of crumpled work stuck in every corner and pocket that was never turned in to their teacher.  Creating a system for keeping track of work due and completed work is often the single difference between success and failure in a class. Have a child make a HOMEWORK folder clearly marked “Homework to Do” on the inside left of the folder and “Homework to Turn In” on the inside right of the folder. This system helps students to have homework in one location instead of stuffed between dividers in their binder or in other pockets.  Sit down with your child periodically and clean out their binder with them.  This would be a good time to compare the returned graded work to the homework listed in their planner or on the teachers calender or Powerschool.  If there is work missing, it may be a simple think  like your child forgetting to place his/her name on the top of the paper:)

Using a Locker ~ We are concerned about students carrying excessively heavy backpacks to and from school and to class.  Lockers are assigned to all students. To help your child become familiar in opening a locker, purchase them an inexpensive combination padlock and have them practice opening and closing it until they can do so comfortably.

The reason it is called “Middle School” ~  It is important not to lose sight of the most important goal of middle school and that is to help prepare every student for high school, college and beyond.  In all of our planning, preparing and organizing we want to make sure that we tie in today’s acvities with the future goal of graduating high school, preparing for college and thinking about a career.  Middle school is an intermediary step along your child’s path as they are on their adolescent journey to high school, college and fulfilling a career choice.