PHOENIX – Going back to school is a big deal, but the thought of a new environment may make your student feel more stressed than excited.
The staff at Madison Park Middle School at 14th Street and Campbell Avenue in Phoenix offered up some suggestions to bring the fun back to the first day of school.
First of, Kendra Mauldin said a parent should understand the key differences that a student will experience when making a transition from elementary school to middle school.
One of those being the schedule adjustment. Students need to get used to having multiple classes with different teachers. That could also mean for more homework than there used to.
"There's a little more responsibility placed on the student whereas in elementary," Mauldin explained. "Maybe the teacher is doing more of that for them."
But, Mauldin said, there are positives beyond just schedules and homework. She hopes that parents can remind students that they will have more opportunity to get involved in electives, sports, clubs and the ability to make new friends.
Mauldin also offered three tips for thriving in a new grade.
The first is to get organized, something Mauldin made sure she did in her own class. She spent plenty of time decorating her space before the first day on August 6.
"If the place is comfortable…. if its appealing… hopefully, they're more engaged in what we're doing in class," Mauldin said.
She suggests creating a similar space at home where a student can go to work on homework and school items. Mauldin said that will help them focus.
She also wants parents to encourage their students to ask for help from teachers, counselors and other school staff.
"Maybe it's a bit more embarrassing to need help," Mauldin said. "They're a little bit more worried about the social aspect."
Finally, Mauldin encourages parents to get involved. Ask your student about what is going on at school, join your local PTA and try and volunteer.
3 Tips for Middle School Success
1. Get organized: Help children choose a digital or paper planner and learn to organize time and assignments.
2. Remind your child to ask for help. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents are all ready to help students succeed.
3. Get involved. Both students and parents benefit from meeting new people and learning new talents after jumping headfirst into all middle school offers. Madison Park welcomes new parents to its PTA, as well as providing numerous other volunteer and tutoring opportunities for parents, caregivers and grandparents.