Supporting success in school
If school is important to you, it will be important to your child. If your child feels good about his or her schoolwork, the chances for your child to succeed in school increase.
Your involvement in your child's education is also one of the best investments you can make. Research shows that when parents get involved, their children:
- Are better behaved and have more positive attitudes.
- Are more likely to pursue higher education.
- Earn better grades and test scores.
- Graduate from high school at higher rates.
Some parents have the time to become involved in many ways. Others may only have the time for one or two activities. Your involvement might be as simple as asking your children, "What was the most interesting thing you found out today?" or "What did you learn today that you would like to know more about?" By asking something about their day, each and every day, you will be communicating the message that their school life is important to you and that you expect them to learn. If you become involved and stay involved, you will make a big difference.
Becoming involved in your children's education can be reading with your children regularly, taking time to listen to your children reflect on their day, or encouraging their efforts to learn. It is also important to:
- Attend as many school meetings and activities as possible.
- Attend parent conferences requested by the school.
- Read all newsletters that are sent home from school and feel free to call if you have any questions.
- Talk to other parents about their perceptions of school.
- Support your children's learning by helping them complete their homework.
If you have time, you can also support school in other ways:
- Volunteer at your child's school. The help is always welcome.
- Get involved with your schools' PTA/PTO, Site Council, or School Improvement Team.
- Attend school board meetings to find out about the kinds of issues the schools are facing and who is making the decisions.
Middle school involvement and student success
In Oregon, middle school usually starts in grade six and goes through grade eight. A few districts have junior high schools which may start in grade seven and go through grade eight or nine. In middle school, routines, schoolwork, the campus, teachers, friends and fellow students are typically all new. With peer pressure and academic demands, this different world can be overwhelming.
Middle school students are experiencing physical, emotional, and mental changes as well. Their emotions and motivation levels may fluctuate. They may need more space and independence to discover new interests and build skills and knowledge. However, they also need continued support and guidance from their parents.
How can I help my children transition to middle school?
You can help your children make this transition by:
- Attending an open house. Help your children become familiar with their new building, classrooms, and lockers.
- Meeting with your child's school guidance counselor. Ask the counselor's advice on how to help your children transition into their new school.
- Exposing your children to a broad range of experiences and programs. Help them explore new interests in school, community involvement, music, arts, or sports.
- Setting ground rules for your children. Make sure your children know what time to get up, when to be ready for school, and when to do homework. Also let your children know that they are expected to do their best in school.
- Helping your children get and stay organized. Help your children learn good study habits such as doing homework at a certain time, talking about assignments, writing assignments in a calendar, going to the library, and cleaning out their backpacks regularly.
How can I stay involved in school?
Many of the supports you provided in elementary school will continue into middle school at a slightly reduced level. You will need to give your children more independence in their early teens, but it is still important for you to remain involved and interested in their activities.
- Learn about your children's school. Ask your children's principal or school guidance counselor for a parent handbook or manual. Ask what classes the middle school offers and what classes your children will need to take in middle school and high school.
- Keep in touch with your children’s school and teachers. Attend parent-teacher conferences, read school newsletters, and stay in regular communication with your children's teachers. Maintain communication by phone or e-mail if possible.
- Attend school events. Go to sports events and concerts, PTA meetings, back-to-school nights, and awards events to keep up with school activities and your children's interests and hobbies.
- Volunteer in your children's school. Look for ways to help out at your child's school, such as serving on school committees, making phone calls, assisting your child's teachers, or acting as a parent chaperone.
- Stay aware of your children's homework and school demands. It is important for you to keep track of your children's homework load and deadlines. However, do not do homework for your children. Encourage your children to do their best work on homework assignments.
- Monitor your children's progress. Be aware of your children's progress on schoolwork, tests, and report cards so you can address any potential problems or issues before they become larger.
Remember your child's next transition is to high school. Make sure that your child is aware of the classes and programs he or she will need to take in middle school to prepare for high school and beyond.