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Information for Middle School Parents

Middle school matters! The path toward high school graduation begins long before 9th grade. 

Every Year Counts. Is Your Student on Track?

Middle school is a critical stage in your child’s educational journey, and it’s essential to stay on the right track. With graduation requirements increasing in Oregon, that is true now more than ever. What is expected of middle school students, both academically and behaviorally, has increased significantly. The skills students build in middle school will be key to their success in high school and beyond — so they can’t afford to not take it seriously. Every year, every class, is preparing them for their future.

Your middle schooler should be developing the academic skills that he or she will need in high school and beyond: successfully completing credits and earning passing grades, completing homework on time and to standards, meeting or exceeding achievement standards on state assessments. If your student is falling behind, or if you have other questions or concerns, don’t wait — talk to your child’s teachers, the school counselor, or the principal.

Prepare Now for High School Success

Your student needs to complete 8th grade ready for the challenges and opportunities offered in high school:

Get ready for credit requirements: The State Board of Education has strengthened requirements in English, math, science, and career and technical skills, making the Oregon high school diploma more rigorous and meaningful.

What does this mean for your student? Students now need to enter high school with the skills they need for rigorous coursework, and stay on track by successfully completing the correct mix of classes each year. In math, students should either take Algebra I for high school credit in middle school or start high school ready for Algebra I, because they must complete three credits of math at this level and above by the end of their senior year.

Get ready to demonstrate essential skills: In order to earn a high school diploma, students must demonstrate proficiency in certain essential skills that are needed for success in college, the workplace, and civic life in the 21st century.

What does this mean for your student? Middle school students should be developing skills in reading, writing and math; meeting standards on state assessments; and becoming familiar with producing quality work samples.

The state tests your student takes in middle school really do matter — they’re an important way to monitor how your child’s learning is progressing. When students perform well on the state tests of reading, writing and math skills in middle school, and stay on track developing skills in these areas, they are more likely to also perform well a few years later on the assessments they need to earn a diploma. When students don’t meet achievement standards on one or more of these middle school assessments, it’s a sign that they may need targeted assistance and extra effort to ensure their skill development is on target to succeed in high school.

Get ready for personalized learning: The personalized learning components of Oregon’s graduation requirements are helping ensure that today’s students graduate from high school with a full toolkit of skills, ready to walk into college or the workplace well-prepared for success. To help prepare for their post-graduation goals, all students now must develop an education plan and profile, participate in career-related learning experiences, and apply and extend their knowledge in new and complex ways.

What does this mean for your student? In the first year of high school, staff will help your student develop an education plan and profile that maps out a path to graduation.

What Your Student is Learning in Middle School:

• Social and emotional growth: Middle school is a crucial time in adolescents’ social development, as they begin to shape who they will be as adults. Social experiences and peer interactions are intensely important to students at this age.

Strong study skills: Teacher expectations are changing. Middle schoolers are learning independent study skills, responsibility, initiative, and how to be accountable for deadlines on their own, without prompting from adults.

Grades and credits: Middle school is the first time students encounter grades and credits, which will be vital to their success in high school and college.

Literacy development: By middle school, students should be reading to learn, not learning to read. Students who are not reading at grade level find it harder to learn new concepts and content, and may need extra help to improve their reading skills.

Math and science: Students at this stage are learning about scientific inquiry and math concepts that will prepare them for high school–level courses.

Critical thinking: Students these days aren’t just expected to learn facts and figures. They learn critical thinking, analysis and synthesis — how to put it all together and come up with a conclusion.

Research skills: In middle school and beyond, students need to know how to research, verify, and factcheck.

Integrating technology: Students nowadays learn how to gain skills and demonstrate knowledge using technological tools.

How You Can Help:

Stay involved! Middle schoolers may become less welcoming of parent involvement, but it’s important not to disengage.

Keep communicating. The best way of knowing what is going on with your students is to talk to them.

Work with your student to track assignments. Many teachers post course material and assignments online; others use a paper syllabus. Using these tools and talking to the teacher or other parents can help you stay aware of what coursework your student should be completing. If your child says he or she doesn’t have any homework, probe further.

Stay in touch with teachers. Take advantage of parent nights and parent–teacher conferences. Schedule one-on-one appointments with individual teachers as needed to talk about your student’s progress.

Know your student’s grades and test scores. All middle schools send progress reports. If your student is falling behind, there are opportunities to get extra help before the term is over.

Ask for help. Talk to the teacher, counselor or principal right away if you believe your student may need extra support.

Set boundaries. You can help your student learn important time management and study skills by setting and sticking to rules for homework completion, television and other screen time, and so on.

Learn about how they’re learning. In the 21st century classroom, there is less focus on memorizing facts and figures, and more focus on synthesizing and applying knowledge.

Volunteer. It’s a great way to stay connected to your school.

Take every opportunity you can to learn more and communicate with your school.

If you have questions or concerns about your student’s progress, we can help. 
Please contact your school’s counselor or principal. 

For more information about how you can help your child prepare for the future, visit: