Families: Middle School Checklist
Getting ready for college starts in middle school. You can help your student prepare for the future.
☑ Do well in school.► Help your student set academic and personal goals for the year in order to stay motivated and focused.
● Discuss ways to take on challenges. Help your student understand that failure is a learning experience and an opportunity for growth.
► Be vocal about your expectations for school.
● Understand your student's academic growth and development.
► Absences make a big impact on student learning; make sure your student goes to class.
● Ensure that your student attends school as much as possible; schedule family trips during school breaks.
● Encourage your student to participate in classes and turn in assignments on time.
► Ask questions about your student's classes, teachers, homework and class assignments.
● Knowing that you care will help your student take school seriously.
► Check your student's grades regularly.
● Keep track of weekly progress.
● Ask school staff how you can learn about your student's grades, opportunities for tutoring and other available services.
► Encourage reading for pleasure.
● Reading improves focus, concentration, imagination and knowledge.
☑ Take the right classes.► Talk to school staff to make sure your student is on track for high school.
► Encourage your student to take the most-challenging courses that he or she can handle.
● Tackling tough courses can give your student confidence and prepare him or her for higher-level high school classes.
● During class registration, see if your student can sign up for advanced classes in math (Pre-Algebra and Algebra) and language arts. Also see if your student can register for electives such as foreign language or computers.
☑ Get organized.► Help your student find a system to stay organized.
● Review the school calendar together. Note important dates and put them in a shared online calendar or in an easy-to-view place, such as a bulletin board in your kitchen.
● Encourage your student to use a paper or digital planner or calendar to keep track of school assignments and projects.
► Help your student find a quiet, well-lit study location.
► Establish a homework routine for your student to follow each day.
● Promote good study skills.
● Set limits around technology.
- What are your goals for the school year for classes, sports, or other activities? What are your plans to achieve these goals?
- What is one cool thing you learned today at school?
- What is your favorite class in school? Why?
- What is the most challenging class in school? Why? Who can you ask for help?
☑ Get involved.► Encourage your student to participate in extracurricular activities.
● Getting involved in clubs and other groups is a great way for your student to identify interests and feel more engaged in school.
► Get involved yourself. This will send a strong message to your student that you think school is important.
● Volunteer at the middle school.
● Make contact with teachers and the counselor. Know the resources at the school and make sure your student is aware that there is help when needed.
● Attend award ceremonies, activities, sporting events etc.
► Help your student sign up for summer programs or activities.
► PARENTS OF 8TH GRADERS: attend high school orientation with your student.
☑ Spend time with good people.► Get to know your student's friends and their parents.
● Peers will have an increasingly large role in your student’s behaviors and actions.
► Help your student find a trusted adult or older student who can serve as a mentor.
● Schedule time with your student to discuss school, goals, and how life is going.
☑ Make good choices.► Help your student understand appropriate, safe behavior online and on the phone.
● Help your student set appropriate privacy settings on social media.
● Remind your student to only share information with people he/she knows and trusts, that information posted can live online forever, and to always ask him/herself: would I want my grandma/teacher/religious leader to see this?
► Share your expectations and the risks of behaviors like drinking, doing drugs, and having sex.
● Understand your student's social and emotional development.
- What is one new activity that you want to try this year?
- Who did you eat lunch with today?
- Who is your favorite adult at the school? Why?
☑ Explore college and career options.► Talk with your student about his/her future career goals and help make a plan.
► Share your expectations about college attendance.
● Talk about the importance of higher education.
► Help your student explore the different types of postsecondary options.
► Find out if the school will take any field trips to college campuses and encourage your student to attend.
► Visit a college campus with your student.
● Volunteer as a chaperone for school field trips.
● If you live near a college, look for upcoming events on campus that are open to the community (like sports games or theater productions) or see if the college offers classes to local students and families.
☑ Learn about paying for college.
- What job or career sounds interesting to you? What kind of education or training do you need?
- Why do you think you may or may not want to go to college?