Middle school is a completely different place than elementary school. Instead of being in one classroom all day long, your student can have up to 7 different teachers and classrooms. Instead of a desk to keep supplies in, they have a locker! Here are some quick tips about how to stay involved as a parent and help you student navigate and stay organized in this new environment:
1. Be familiar with the class syllabus-for each of your student’s 6 classes! What’s a syllabus? Its an informational tool that not only has the teacher’s contact info, but also grading policies and rubrics, classroom expectations, late work policies, homework expectations, teacher website, etc. It will let you know about projects/assignments to expect within that class. If the teacher has a website, many times there are copies of homework assignments and project instructions that can be printed off or downloaded, which can be extremely helpful with forgetful adolescents and messy lockers! ☺
2. Day planner-help your student use it! NPMS provides students with a day planner for a nominal fee. This important tool is vital in helping your student stay organized in their school work. As 6th graders, students will be required to write in their day planner everyday about what they did in each class and any homework they may have, and any tests/projects that are coming up. Be sure to ask your student for their day planner to see what they are doing in class, and if they really are telling the truth about not having homework! ☺ On average, parents should expect 30-60 minutes of homework a night.
3. Know your student’s teachers! Don’t worry-they don’t bite! ☺ Feel free to contact teachers to ask about what’s going on in class, how your student is doing, if they really are turning in that homework, etc. Many times there is “miscommunication” home about whether a student is allowed to make up a project or turn in late homework. Give your kiddo’s teacher a call or email and double check that your student heard the right information.
4. PowerSchool Premier-Did you know you can check your student’s attendance, tardies, missing work and the grade they got on that last test online? PowerSchool is the district’s way of keeping parents in the know 24/7. You can check it out at work during the day or at home late at night. Contact the counseling secretary for your parent ID and password. It’s a great tool for you to sit down with your student and look at their academic progress. Check out PowerSchool at http://premier.k12northstar.org/public/ There is even a great parent user’s guide on our school’s website!
5. Study area-For you student to succeed with school, they are going to have to do (and turn in) homework. This means bringing work home and finding time, motivation, and physical space to do so. Most 6th graders don’t like homework, and struggle to get into a good homework habit. Help your student out by giving them a quiet place free of distractions (including cell phones and TV), and even designate a time to do so (for example, for an hour after dinner). With your assistance, your student will get into a homework routine, and homework will be an easy habit for your child to have and be successful with!