Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Middle School

Parents Guide to Middle School - Be Ready to Help Your Kids Through School
Elementary school and middle school are vastly different. Somewhere during the summer between elementary school and middle school all of that changes and parents find themselves in need of a parent's guide to middle school.
Parent's Guide to Middle School
Middle school is beginning to prepare students for high school and college. The middle school student is expected to know their schedule and be responsible for getting themselves to class.
Because middle school is preparation for high school, expectations of students are much higher. Most schools have an activity bus for students who stay after school for extracurricular activities and it is up to the students to ensure they are on the appropriate bus.

Homework plays a much more important part in middle school than it did in elementary school. In middle school, grades are submitted on the 4.0 criteria instead of the percentage criteria. A parents guide to middle school is helpful in navigating these years.
Middle School is a bridge and threshold between Elementary School and High School, a time of transition.
Need for Middle School Career Education
Middle school career education lays the groundwork for future career development by helping students achieve the following goals:
Knowledge of personal characteristics, interests, aptitudes, and skills
Understanding of the relationship between school performance and future choices
Development of a positive attitude toward work (Developmental Career Programs 1998)
Without Middle School Career Education, students fail to build a foundation and the connection between high school academic subjects, potential careers, world of work, and post-secondary training. Eventually, some of the students who fail to participate in a career education program drop out of school.
Benefits of Middle School Career Education
Middle School Students who complete career education programs have the following positive outcomes -
Enhanced academic, personal, and teamwork skill development
National Career Development Guidelines - Career Education Model
Teachers and counselors use the National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) to create middle school career education resources, career self assessment tests and tools. Career knowledge, skills, and decision-making processes use the NCDG Guidelines.
Personal Social Development (PS)
Career Management (CM)
Middle school students at the knowledge acquisition stage expand knowledge awareness and build comprehension. Middle school students at the application stage apply acquired knowledge to situations and to self. Middle school students at the reflection stage analyze, synthesize, judge, assess and evaluate knowledge in accord with their own goals, values and beliefs. Key elements of Middle School Education Program
Based upon the National Career Development Guidelines, the key elements of a middle school career education program increase students' awareness of their own interests and help them learn about a wide variety of occupations. The key elements of Middle School Education Program include -
Career exploration resources - Tests, web sites, books, and software
Career portfolios
Career days
Community partnerships
Career Tests
Middle school career tests provide information on the relationship between job interests, key characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities, and related careers. According to research, middle school students use career tests to identify the three high career activity interests, and the three low areas of interest. Career Portfolio
Major career exploration goals and objectives
Three high or low career interest activities and general aptitude areas
Community Partnerships
Community resource speakers
Career awareness fairs
Community events expand the students' understanding of job duties, work place skills, and the relevancy of school subjects. Middle school career education program provide students with awesome opportunities to gain self awareness as well as to explore and understand the world of work. Career exploration resources, career portfolios, community partnerships and career days create invaluable experiences.
It was thought that middle schools would provide a nurturing bridge between the early elementary school experience and high school. Prior to the implementation of middle schools, these grades were either part of the elementary school experience or an expanded high school environment. Kindergarten through Eighth Grade Model
The thought is to use the earlier school experience to extend the nurturing that the middle school model was suppose to provide but hasn't.
The push to integrate the middle schools with the elementary levels is gaining momentum. Many educators are familiar with the middle school struggle to raise achievement levels. Upper Grades Model
Others support the upper grades model of integrating the middle schools with the secondary levels. The largest proponents of this model are the high school teachers, especially those teaching ninth graders. This potential model for the Boston schools emulates some of the elite private and public schools, offering the best opportunity for students from lower income families where college is not generally presumed. The upper grades model is currently gaining more traction than the K-8 for the Boston schools, since some schools are expressing interest in expanding their schools to include both middle and high school grades. Two high schools that are considered to be the better achievers in the Boston District would like to include middle school grades under their roof and control. Additionally, a Boston middle school also has expressed interest in expanding its curriculum to include high school students.
Also, there are three competitive admission exam Boston schools that use the model, offering college preparatory curriculum for Boston's top scoring students. Whatever model is chosen by the Boston schools, the city is ready for the discussion. Last fall, the Boston schools named a 17 member Middle Grades Task Force. The middle school years are very difficult for Boston schools students at such sensitive ages of adjustment from children to young adults.


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