For Parents

Parent and guardian participation is a critical ingredient in the success of every middle school student! Students experience physical, social, intellectual, and emotional changes at the same time that school gets more complicated and choices become more available. 

As a parent, think back to when you taught your child to ride a bike. You didn't just send your child out into the street and say "Good luck. I trust you."  You likely started in a driveway and ran along side while holding on to the bike seat. After a few practice runs, you let go of the seat
but continued running alongside. Then you transitioned to standing outside and watching a bit. The final step was to clarify the riding boundaries as your child went outside to ride alone.

Learning to 'ride' middle school is the same thing. Here are a few suggestions for parents:

1) Have daily discussions about school. Get creative with your questions. How was it? illicits 'fine' and What did you do? often results in 'nothing.' Ask What was surprising about today? What funny things happened today? How did you help somebody today? What was your most interesting class today, and why?   The car and the dinner table are good places for these chats provided that mobile devices are not in use!

2) Attend Open House and Student-Led Conferences.  Make it a point to visit school and meet the teachers in person! If you cannot attend the events, email or call teachers to share information or concerns about your child.

3) Check Harmony regularly. You can see the grade of every assignment in Harmony 3. Check Harmony regularly. And if you choose, set up Push Notifications (at the bottom of your child's Harmony page) to customize the info you want sent to you via text or email.

4) Make a weekly 'date' to look at Canvas.  Ask your child to sit with you and show you his/her Canvas course pages. You can keep up with class activities and assignments, and you can find some great things to talk about with your child. 

5) Create your own Pinwheel account. Pinwheel is our customizable calendar. Be sure to follow SMS Master Calendar and all of the sports and club calendars that cover your kids' events. 

6) Monitor your child on social media. Require your child to share all of his/her social media accounts with you. Follow or friend your child so you can see the content that is being shared. Be sure to check up on instant messaging or other communication options that are often a part of social media programs. 

7) Contact school if you have any concerns or questions about academics or social issues. Early communication about a small problem prevents larger problems!  Contact a teacher, counselor, or administrator is your 'parent radar' is pinging!