Middle School Hot Topics

  • Study Skills

    We provide periodic study skills groups from which your child may benefit. Students can be referred by their parents, teachers, or they can self refer. A useful website to help your child learn study skills is: http://www.how-to-study.com/


    Teacher Expectations*

    Middle school teachers will expect your child to be more independent than her elementary school teachers did. Encourage this independence, but continue to support your child. One way is by getting to know her teachers and what they expect. You can:

    • Introduce yourself to teachers at open house or back-to-school night. Give your full name and your child’s full name. Let teachers know how to contact you and find out how to contact them.
    • Find out how your child should track assignments. Often, this is with a notebook that goes back and forth to school. Ask to see your child’s notebook. Encourage your child to write down due dates.
    • Find out how much time teachers expect students to spend on homework for class. Then you can spot trouble if your child never has any homework or if it takes her far longer to do it than it should. The earlier you alert the teacher to any problems, the easier it will be to solve them.

    *Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2006 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Rosemarie Clark, Donna Hawkins and Beth Vachon, The School-Savvy Parent: 365 Insider Tips to Help You Help Your Child, ISBN: 1-57542-072-4 (Free Spirit Publishing, 1-866-703-7322, www.freespirit.com).


    Homework/Study Skills*

    Establishing and using good study habits now, before your child gets to high school, may be the best thing he can do to be successful. Encourage him to:

    • Find out what works best for him. This includes when to study, where to study and how to study. Does he need quiet or does he concentrate better with background noise? Can he work well at the kitchen table, or only in his room? Is it more efficient for him to complete one thing before starting another, or can he work on several things at a time?
    • Get his timing down. Can he work straight through for several hours, or does he need to work in 15 to 20 minute bursts? Some students find breaks refreshing, while others get distracted too easily.
    • Always read directions. Have your child ask himself if he really understands the directions. Then have him read them again. He can’t do the assignment if he doesn’t know what he is supposed to do.
    • Remember presentation. Teachers can’t give credit for homework they can’t read. His sloppy work shows disrespect for the teacher and himself—it bars him from demonstrating how much he really knows.

    *Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2006 The Parent Institute®, a vision of NIS, Inc. Source: Ron Fry, How to Study, ISBN: 1564142299 (Career Press, 1-800-227-3371, www.careerpress.com).


    Building Responsibility*

    Boost your middle schooler’s sense of responsibility and you’ll help him in the classroom and out. Responsible students take learning seriously. To nurture his sense of responsibility:

    • Expose him to money. If he does not have an allowance, consider giving him one. By letting him manage money (and not spotting him a few bucks each time he runs low), he may develop more respect for it. Include him when you’re paying bills or working on your budget. Don’t share every financial detail, but let him see what budgeting looks like. “I’d love to order pizza tonight, too, but it’ll have to wait. Payday isn’t until Friday.”
    • Revamp his chore list. Are you still packing your child’s lunch? How about doing his laundry? If so, pass the torch. Now that he’s a preteen, your child is capable of handling such day-to-day chores as cooking and doing laundry. Don’t overload him with hours of new tasks, but work toward giving him meaningful responsibilities.
    • Let him take his lumps. When your child makes a mistake, don’t swoop in to save him (unless he’s in true danger). By allowing him to experience the consequences of his actions, he’s more likely to learn not to make the same mistake again. If you’re always running to his rescue, he’ll only learn that he doesn’t have to take responsibility for anything.

    *Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2006 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc


    Atendance Matters*

    Your child’s education can open a world of possibilities, but walking through the school door is the first step. Regular attendance is essential for school success.

    As important as school success is, it’s just one reason why regular attendance is critical. Students who skip school are more likely to:

    • Fall behind their classmates.
    • Drop out.
    • Join a gang.
    • Use alcohol or illegal drugs.
    • Get arrested.

    You can influence your child to reduce risks and increase his chances for success (unless he is ill or there is an emergency). To keep attendance up:

    • Make clear to him that you expect him to be in school. Let him know you place a high priority on this.
    • Have consequences if he is truant. Discuss these with him in advance.
    • Schedule doctor appointments during non-school hours if possible. If this is truly not possible, write a note to his teachers and the office staff explaining his absence.
    • Remember that school is his job and don’t keep him out of school to work outside the home.

    *Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2006 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Eileen M. Garry, “Truancy: First Step to a Lifetime of Problems,” Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/truncy.pdf.


    Career Explorations

    Eighth graders will be focusing on learning more about careers this year. They will have the opportunity to identify areas of interest and see how these related to various careers. They will use this self-knowledge to help them choose appropriate high school courses.

    A good site for exploring information about health and medical sciences careers is: http://nihlifeworks.org/feature/index.htm

    CareerOneStop can be accessed from: http://www.careeronestop.org/

    For college planning, go to: http://www.cfnc.org/

    Students learned more about how interests are related to careers by taking an interest inventory at http://www.kuder.com/. This site is available to them to explore various career clusters and to find out about different colleges. Students will need to know their log-on and password to gain access to the site. If they were absent the day we took the interest inventory, students can see me to obtain a password



    Bullying is problematic in almost every school. It can been seen in three different forms: Physical, Verbal or Psychological. No matter which form it takes, it is harmful. Check out this website for more information:  WCPSS Website about Bullying

    Bullying can also take place on the Internet. Check out this site for some great suggestions on how to prevent cyberbullying: http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/