Middle School: A Springboard to the Future
Middle school and the transition to ninth grade are a critical time for students to develop positive attributes like critical thinking, persistence and self-advocacy. In fact, high rates of failure in ninth grade have more to do with a lack of these skills and behaviors than a lack of academic skills.
That’s why middle school students should focus on being prepared for high school, identifying their strengths and challenges, and building self-confidence. You can help your middle school student make a successful transition to ninth grade – their springboard to high school success.
The messages students receive in middle school and the self-beliefs they adopt now can define and shape their high school years – and even beyond.
You can help your student adopt positive self-beliefs that will support Future Readiness by:
- Creative Coaching – Guide or coach students to make choices that prepare them for high school and beyond by helping them develop good study habits, engage in healthy behaviors that promote nutrition and routine exercise, and encourage goal-setting.
- Encouraging Excellence – Emphasize the idea that all students can succeed academically and go to college.
- Career Planning – Help students to begin making a college and career plan at yourplanforthefuture.org.
Ninth grade performance is highly predictive of how likely a student is to graduate high school. Strong performance in mathematics during the middle grades prepares students for achievement in high school mathematics, so they’re ready for success after high school.
You can support your student by:
- Finding a Helping Hand – Help them to pass all their classes by finding all the supports they need, such as tutoring or after-school help.
- Reinforcing Rules – Encourage students to maintain good attendance and take responsibility for their behavior.
- Making Connections – Connect with adults at school and in the community who support student growth and development. You can find a directory of schools and contact information at www.profiles.doe.mass.edu.
Learning from books and getting good grades aren’t enough to guarantee a successful future. Students also need to be exposed to the world of work and other “real life” experiences. This time outside the classroom will help your student build creative and critical thinking, work skills, professionalism, persistence and responsibility.
You can help by:
- Finding Enrichment – Encourage students to participate in activities such as athletics and clubs.
- Valuing Volunteerism – Help students identify volunteer opportunities in the community.
- Career Modeling – Engage students in exploring career options through job shadowing, internships and part-time work opportunities.