Parent Involvement in Middle School

Middle-School Success Secrets

Advice from a true expert: a middle-school principal.
By Les Potter, Ed.D.

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            During elementary school, most parents are very involved in their child's schooling. They know and meet with teachers and administrators, are aware of their child's progress and behavior, help solve problems, and see to it that kids spend enough time on homework.

                Unfortunately, when children enter middle school, some parents stop being as actively involved, as if their help and support are no longer needed. Nothing could be further from the truth!

            Although your middle-schooler is becoming more independent and is increasingly involved in activities outside the family, you should and must remain the most influential person in his life. Through your involvement in school and extracurricular activities, you can do much to help your child believe in the value and importance of education, be enthusiastic about learning, and achieve academic success.

Here is some good advice for parents of pre-teens:


1.Help your child manage homework time. Encourage her to aim high and always do their best work. Check with teachers to see how much time should be necessary to complete homework. We use agendas to record daily work and behavior.

2. Show interest in his studies by talking with him daily about what he is learning and doing in school (don't take "nothing" for an answer!). GET INVOLVED. . Unfortunately, I've seen parents drop their child off at a band concert and come back two hours later to pick him up, never bothering to watch his performance. This sends a terribly sad message to the child.


3.Make it clear that they must follow school rules and policies. Teach them to respect people as well as property. Help them know right from wrong and what they should do when negative temptations come their way. Help them understand there are consequences to their actions and accept them.


4.Know what’s going on at the school. With your child, read and review the information that the school provides. Be familiar with the progress reports and student handbook, etc. It is never too early to start and to work closely with the school. These will help you and your child successfully weave your way through the maze called middle school.

5.Contact teachers periodically. Find out what your child should be learning, how she is progressing, and how you can help. Be a full partner in your child's education.


6.Be sure that he attends school on a regular basis. Even if he is absent for illness or another valid reason, he needs to keep up with his studies. Call the school if your child will be missing a day, and find out what he needs to do to make up for it. Follow up and ensure your child has received the work they missed.  Excessive absences are a common hindrance to student achievement.  Schedule family vacations and trips during school breaks when possible.