Middle School to High School Transition-Part 3

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

High schools are big places compared to middle schools.  Most middle schools run from 300-900 students.  There are a few that are larger, but generally, they run in that area.  Most high schools run from 1200-3000 students or more.  Also, the physical campus is much larger 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 to keep them in school and focused on learning rather than so many other distractions.

To make it more difficult, the upperclassmen can leave campus and so it can get confusing for younger students when there seem to be two standards being upheld.  The location of the high school also makes a big difference in terms of distractions.  What is located around the school?  Are the businesses 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 student in their place of business during school hours.  Pay attention to what is available to your child as you get ready to choose a high school for them.  All of 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 to 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.  In the future, we will discuss how the window of opportunity affects future choices that become available.

Yours for better parenting,

Rich