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Prepare Your Child for Differences Between Middle School and High School
The transition from middle school to high school can be a very exciting yet intimidating time for a child. According to a report released by the National High School Center, and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, 9th grade is a critical point in an adolescent’s educational career, and quite often, the education system’s largest point of dropout.
Being aware of some key differences, between middle school and high school can help prepare your student for that important transition.
- The discomfort that accompanies moving into a totally new and unfamiliar environment. Some examples would include: not knowing your schedule or where the next class is taking place; how to find your locker, the bathrooms or the cafeteria; where and when to get your bus for the ride home; how to deal with older students; how to keep track of all the requirements of your courses; how to deal with new kinds of peer pressure; and how to remain safe.
- The need to earn credit in order to receive a diploma at the end of their high school career; there is no such requirement in middle school
- New attendance policies and their relationship to earning credit
- Goal-setting and the decision-making related to attaining their stated goals. An example would be the sequencing of courses in each discipline needed to pursue postsecondary education
- Physical changes (more profound for some than others) and the accompanying feelings of attractiveness and status among their peers
- The many new and different ways students can participate in their school community whether it’s through organized sports or other school-related clubs or organizations
- The need, unlike middle school, to maintain certain grades in order to participate in those sports and activities
- Major differences in the way the school day is carried out which might mean block scheduling or seven or eight period days
- Increased parental expectations - whether real or perceived
- The challenge of finding the right balance between their educational and personal lives
- The demands of added responsibilities like a part-time job, job shadows and internships, dating and the complexities of new and different relationships with significant others, a driver's license and much more
- Learning to advocate for themselves with teachers, coaches and employers