Middle School to High School Transition-Part 3

So far in this series, we have discussed the more demanding academic standards that middle face when they move to high school and the increased competition that takes place.  In this final installment of this series, we will look at the distractions that are a part of most high school campuses during this critical transition time.

High schools are prominent places compared to middle schools.  Most middle schools run from 300-900 students.  A few are more significant, but generally, they run in that area.  Most high schools run from 1200-3000 students or more.  Also, the physical campus is much more significant because of the increased curriculum offerings and extra-curricular activities.  So the facilities can be overwhelming.  In middle school students generally, are required to stay on campus and have some time in and around the campus during lunch.  In high school, depending on the school, they can leave campus.

Many high schools have found ways to keep ninth-graders on campus, which has helped keep them in school and focused on learning rather than so many other distractions.

The upperclassmen can leave campus, and so it can get confusing for younger students when there seem to be two standards upheld.  The high school location also makes a big difference in terms of distractions.  Be aware of the types of businesses located around the school?  Are the companies the type of places you would want your child entering?  If not, how do you enforce that?  Is the school any help in this area?  Sometimes schools will work with businesses to restrict or even disallow students in their place of business during school hours.

Please pay attention to what is available to your child as you get ready to choose a high school for them.  These factors serve to distract students from their job number one, doing their best in school.

As parents, it becomes more important than ever to work with your child in advance to understand your expectations.  How can you help them focus on school instead of the distractions that a high school campus inherently provides?  Take time to discuss choices, personal standards for behavior, why they are important, why they will pay off.  We will discuss how the window of opportunity affects future choices that become available in the future.

If you missed Part 1 in this series, here is the link for that, Middle School to High School Transition-Part 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Click here for Part 2 in this series, Middle School to High School Transition-Part 2 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

The National Parent Center has a post and a video regarding Middle & High School Transition Planning here, Middle & High School Transition Planning – National Parent Center on Transition and Employment (


Yours for better parenting,