Tips for Middle School Parents Forest Middle School Guidance Department Adapted from Middle School Parent Guidebook by Linda O’Brien, 2012, Woodburn Press
Tips for Middle School Parents • “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” • Ann Landers
Middle School Basics • Check the school website for information • School Calendar • Attendance Policies • School Rules/Code of Conduct • Extracurricular Activities • Teacher Webpages • Bedford County Public Schools Bullying Policy • Click here to go to BoardDocs • Click on the “Policies” tab • In the dropdown box labeled “Book”, select “BCPS Rules” • Select “J – Students” • Click on “JFD Bullying Prevention and Intervention”
Middle School Basics • Standardized Tests • All middle school students in Virginia take SOL tests • Most testing is done in May • FMS 6th Grade: Reading 6, Math 6, U.S. History II • FMS 7th Grade: Reading 7, Math 7 or Algebra I, Civics • FMS 8th Grade: Reading 8, Math 8 or Algebra I or Geometry, World History I • 8th graders also take a 2-part Writing test in March • Make sure your child is at school on test days, is well-rested, & eats breakfast • For high school credit courses, if you pass the class and the SOL test, you will receive a verified credit towards graduation
Help Your Child Succeed • Basic Supplies • Pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, agenda • Teachers will let you know of class-specific supplies • Contact the guidance department if you are in need of supplies • A Place to Study • Well-lit, Quiet, Comfortable • Stocked with supplies • Ample writing surface • Create a habit of doing homework at the same time and place every day
Help Your Child Succeed • Daily Attendance • Nothing can replace time in the classroom. • Look at all interims & report cards • Check school calendar for dates • Use rewards & consequences • Rewards are for achievements (e.g. improved behavior) • Consequences are for poor performance and/or behavior • Consequences work best when they are reasonable and logical • Make a point to recognize extra effort
Help Your Child Succeed • Organizational Skills • Use an agenda • Labeled folder/notebook/binder for each class • Put all papers in correct spot right away • Clean out locker & backpack every week • Help your child prioritize homework • Break large assignments into chunks • Get everything ready for the next day before going to bed
Help Your Child Succeed • Managing Homework • Determine the best time for your child to complete homework. • Use any free time at school to start on homework. • Homework is the child’s responsibility. • If your child is not doing his homework, ask him why. Then, come up with a plan to get the work done. The plan may involve asking the teacher for assistance.
Help Your Child Succeed • Encourage your child to become involved in school activities • Encourage independent problem solving • If your child has a question/problem, try to help him figure out how to take care of it on his own • Provide academic support • Offer assistance on assignments, but do not do the work for your child. • If your child is struggling in a class, contact her teacher and ask what you can do to help your child succeed.
Working With Your School • Show support and interest • Show your child that you support the teachers and administrators at your school. • Insist your child be in school every day. • Expect your child to work up to his potential. • Show an interest in what your child is studying. • Talk about the importance of getting a good education. • Expect your child to follow the school rules. • Attend parent programs and conferences. • Encourage your child to think about going to college.
Working With Your School • Communicate with your school • Do not hesitate to ask for information. • Contact your child’s counselor or an administrator if there is a situation that might affect your child’s attitude or performance (e.g. health problem, divorce, etc.). • Work with the school to resolve problems • It is important for students to learn how to succeed in subjects they may not enjoy. • Students must learn how to adapt to different teachers, expectations, and teaching styles. • If you feel you must intervene, contact your child’s teacher to discuss the problem.
Parent-Teacher Conferences • Making the most of conferences • Conferences allow parents to give and receive input • Make a list of any questions/concerns before you go • Consider bringing your child to the conference
Parent-Teacher Conferences • Discussion Topics • Homework – Is my child’s homework completed thoroughly, accurately, and on time? • Class Participation – Does my child ask questions, volunteer answers, & participate in discussions? • Organization – Does my child seem organized? Does he come to class prepared? • Academic Success – How is my child doing in this class? Is she working up to her potential? • Classroom Time Management – Does my child use class time wisely?
Parent-Teacher Conferences • Discussion Topics • Attendance – Is my child in class every day? Does he arrive on time? • Focus – Does my child pay attention in class? • Social Adjustment – Is my child respectful & courteous to teachers and classmates? Does my child appear to get along with other students? • Strengths & Weaknesses – What are my child’s strengths? What does my child need to work on? • Additional Comments – Do you have any suggestions for me or my child? What is the best way for me to contact you if I have a question or concern?
Tips for Middle School Parents • Changes • Physical • Reassure them that physical changes are normal • Teach them about appropriate personal hygiene • Emotional • Mood changes are normal in teens and pre-teens • You can help by providing encouragement, support, love, & a stable home environment
Tips for Middle School Parents • Changes • Intellectual • Ready to explore and learn • They can think more abstractly & can handle complex tasks • Help your child develop intellectually by including him in serious discussions, giving her opportunities to express her opinion, & showing respect for their ideas. • Social • Middle schoolers are susceptible to peer pressure and wanting to fit in • Activities with family provide a sense of security
Tips for Middle School Parents • Be aware & informed • Know where your child is going and with whom • Talk to their friends’ parents • Get to know your child’s friends • Pay attention to your child’s music, TV, and online habits • Keep computers with internet access in common areas • Talk to your child about internet safety – children should never give out personal information or agree to meet someone they’ve met online • Talk to your child about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, & smoking
Tips for Middle School Parents • Communicate with your child • Timing is important – look for times when they seem most open to conversation • Tell them what you want them to do (e.g. “Please put your book away” instead of “Don’t leave your book out”) • Ask open-ended questions • Be specific in communications (e.g. “Be home by 8:00” instead of “Be home early”) • Stay calm when your child “tests the waters” • Don’t be afraid to apologize or admit you were wrong • Recognize nonverbal communication • You don’t have to fix every problem – your child may just want someone to listen
Tips for Middle School Parents • Teach your child responsibility • Increased independence brings increased responsibility • Base your child’s freedom on how responsible he acts • Talk to your child about the importance of making good choices • Offer yourself as an excuse for your child to get out of a difficult situation (e.g. “My mom just texted me – I have to go home now” or “My dad always knows when I do something wrong”)
Tips for Middle School Parents • Teach your child responsibility • Teach your child how to problem solve & compromise • Teach your child basic social behaviors • Teach financial responsibility through an allowance and/or a savings account • Allow safe rebellion; pick your battles • Be a good role model – children learn their behaviors & attitudes from their parents more than anyone else
Tips for Middle School Parents • Tips for effective consequences • Understanding that there are consequences for poor choices is part of growing up • Use logical consequences when possible • Don’t take away a positive activity (e.g. sports) as a consequence • Make consequences specific and for a set period of time • Consequences do not have to be immediate – take time to think; tell your child you will let him know the consequences later
Parents of Athletes • Be involved • Attend meetings • Get to know your child’s coach • Demonstrate good sportsmanship • Set a good example • Support coaches and players • Support your athlete • Be positive • Encourage your child to talk to the coach if there are any problems
Career & Education Options • Middle school is not too early to start thinking about career options! • Identify abilities & interests • Look at strengths, talents, interests, & values • There are many talents that aren’t measured in school, such as leadership & creativity • Help your child see that personality traits can be valuable • Look for after-school/summer activities that support your child’s interests
Career & Education Options • Explore career options • Explore careers online or by talking to people in various careers • Virginia Career VIEW is a great place to start! • Interest, Skills, & Values Assessments • Statistics for careers in Virginia • Career Aisle has numerous videos about career options • Click on “Students” • Click on “Middle School” • Click on any of the 16 career clusters to view the videos • Click here for sample video: Trauma Surgeon • Mapping Your Future has information about careers, college, and financial aid
Career & Education Options • Educational Options • Most careers require some form of education/training after high school. • Encourage your child to continue his education right after high school – it is easier to manage if done before going to work full time and/or starting a family. • Lifetime earnings increase along with amount of education “The College Payoff,” Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University, 2011
Educational Options • High School Career & Technical Program • Hands-on training while in high school • Students typically have the skills needed to get a job upon graduation • Bedford Science & Technology Center (BSTC) • 15 programs available for juniors and seniors • Most programs take 2 years to complete • Students attend BSTC ½ day & base high school ½ day • Students must have good attendance • Students apply to BSTC during their sophomore year
Educational Options • Four-Year College • Wide range of options for majors • Some schools specialize in particular fields • Students often live on campus • Costs vary by college • Students may apply for financial aid • Many schools offer work study, a program in which students work on campus to earn money (often part of the financial aid package) • Numerous extracurricular activities • Students should prepare themselves for college-level work by taking rigorous courses in high school • A four-year degree is required for many careers
Educational Options • Community College • State-supported schools that are typically more affordable than four-year institutions • Can take career-oriented courses toward a certificate and/or Associate’s degree • Can take 2 years of general courses before transferring to a four-year college • Students who graduate from one of Virginia’s 23 community colleges with an Associate’s degree & certain GPA are guaranteed admission to over 20 colleges in Virginia. (Click here for a list)
Educational Options • Career/Trade School • Short-term training programs (up to 2 years) • Cost varies by school • Take time to research the school’s accreditation • Examples: Cosmetology, Welding, Mechanics • Apprenticeship • Hands-on training for a specific field • Learn through both classes and on-the-job training • May be run by local community college • Work done while apprentice may not be paid since you are still learning – check with specific program
Joining the Military • Military • Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy • Active duty are full-time soldiers & sailors • Reserves work civilian jobs & are called to duty as needed • Trained to serve and protect our country • There are requirements to enlist, including having a high school diploma and passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude (ASVAB) test • Salary for work & free job training while enlisted • Often will travel for training; there is possibility of deployment overseas • There is a lot of information about joining and being a member of the armed forces at www.military.com
Final Tip • If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school • For concerns about a specific class, contact that teacher directly via phone or email • For general concerns or questions, you may contact any of your child’s teachers or your child’s counselor • FMS Phone: 434-525-6630 • FMS Website: http://bedfordfms.sharpschool.net/home • Teacher email addresses available on FMS website