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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 Board. Docs � 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 6 th Grade: Reading 6, Math 6, U. S. History II �FMS 7 th Grade: Reading 7, Math 7 or Algebra I, Civics �FMS 8 th Grade: Reading 8, Math 8 or Algebra I or Geometry, World History I › 8 th 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 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