The Middle School Experience: Family Resources
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DISTRICT CHANGES TO EASE THE TRANSITION TO MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR 2013-14 INCLUDE:

A Better Understanding the Individual Needs of Students

  • Our new three-year middle school program promotes longer-term student/teacher relationships, and a team-teaching approach will allow teachers to share information as students move from class to class and grade to grade.
  • Advisories/homerooms allow students to connect during the entire school year with a small group of students and one teacher.
  • A requirement for grade 5-8 teacher licensure includes better training on the needs and issues of adolescents.

A Stronger Focus on Student Achievement 

  • Realigned middle school curriculum ensures the same strong class offerings in every middle school across the district.
  • AVID prepares students for college eligibility and success; with learning supports, AVID places students who are struggling academically in advanced classes.

Supporting Activities to Ensure Smooth Transitions 

  • W.E.B. (Where Everyone Belongs) places incoming students in small groups with two 8th grade student leaders who, with teachers, lead the group in team building and activities.
  • Life Skills Education Curriculum provides students with a chance to talk about the changes occurring in their lives around issues such as relationships, bullying, harassment, on-line safety and college and career exploration.
  • Transition activities between grades will offer students opportunities to learn about changes they can expect and identify services for students who need additional help.

A key indicator of a successful middle school experience is a positive transition from elementary school. During this time of transition many students thoughts are about new homework requirements, opening a locker, finding a bathroom and dealing with older students. 

What can parents and students do do to ease their child's transition process?

SPPS encourages students and families to take the time to visit our middle schools to see students and teachers at work. Tours can be scheduled by contacting the middle school your student will attend.

When touring a school find out more about new SPPS student support activities including:

  • W.E.B. (Where Everyone Belongs): A program that places incoming students in small groups with two 8th grade student leaders who, with teachers, lead the group in team building and activities.
  • Life Skills Education Curriculum provides students with a chance to talk about the changes occurring in their lives around issues such as relationships, bullying, harassment, online safety, and financial, college and career exploration.
  • Transition activities between grades that offer students opportunities to learn about changes they can expect and identify services for students who need additional help.

In addition, families are always encouraged to follow these helpful transition tips:

  • Attend the Open House: At the end of summer, we have an open house for all incoming 6th and 7th graders. This is a great opportunity to get a schedule, tour the building and meet teachers, administrators, and support staff.
  • Don't miss Camp 67: A special day BEFORE school starts, just for students going into grades 6 and 7. A "practice day" students will find their locker, meet teachers and go over all they need to know before the first day of school. Watch for detail in your mail in early August.
  • Relax: Middle School is an exciting time and most students have fun and succeed in their classes. Students also like the new independence that comes with middle school. This is the first time when students get to work with multiple teachers and move independently through the school building.
  • Ask for Help: Our schools have many support systems in place. Students and parents can get extra help from homeroom and team teachers, their grade-level counselor or administrator, and the school social worker to name a few. The key here is not to be afraid to ask for help.
  • Learn Teachers’ Homework Policies: Incoming 6th and 7th grade students are not usually accustomed to the homework demands in middle school. Often students lose points because they do not know and follow their teachers’ homework grading policies. Be sure to review all course syllabi and ask teachers for clarification when necessary.
  • Use a Planner: With the transition to junior high comes a higher demand for organizational skills. Students need to keep track of homework in multiple classes as well as tests, quizzes, and extracurricular activities. Students are provided with a planner at the start of each year to help with this. It is imperative that students use their planner to help them track day-to-day work as well as long-term projects.
  • Stay Involved: Just like in elementary school, parental involvement is directly linked to student success. Parents should stay in contact with teachers and help their child keep track of their homework and tests.