Success Begins With Middle School Grades
Olympic athletes spend many years training to accomplish what they set their mind to in their sport. Have you thought about students as academic olympians? If not, we encourage you to think about the goals your child has in mind to complete this year and how your child can put forth the best effort to achieve them. As a parent, you want to make sure that your student is gaining the best possible education and is prepared to manage their learning with the direction of their teachers. Their teachers are constantly teaching students foundational skills that will help your child become more successful in high school and beyond. Outside of school, what can you do to help your child reach their full potential and ultimately become an academic olympian?
Training Starts in School With Middle School Grades
Have you ever dreamt of participating in the Olympics? If so, how long do you think you’d have to train for it? In what ways would you prepare? According to Forbes Magazine, it is common for athletes to spend approximately 8 years training and preparing before making the Olympic Team. Many of these athletes spend half of each day training, if not more! But training is not just for athletes who want to be the best in the world; training is essential for our students as well.
Have you thought of your child as an academic olympian? Students spend a majority of their time in training at school already. They spend countless hours in the classroom learning skills and gaining knowledge that will help them become college and career ready when the time comes. Although they spend so much time training from class to class and from year to year, the time spent in the classroom may be not enough to support the needs of your child. An educational coach would be better suited to build on the training program that schools offer to their students in their care. One-on-one coaching would be an excellent choice to supplement the students’ current training schedule in school and help them develop in areas of weakness all while utilizing their strengths to do so.
Imagine your child is currently in middle school. In a blink of an eye, they are stepping onto a high school campus, hopefully prepared to handle the rigor and pressure that high school present to students. You’ve probably asked yourself: when do grades start to matter?. You may have also heard the rumor that middle school grades do not matter much, and high school is “where it counts” – especially if your student has big goals and dreams. If your child agrees with this motto, they may be on a slippery slope and may not be taking advantage of the time they should be training for their future! Middle school grades do matter and help prepare students for success at the high school level.
7 Questions to Ask Your Child About Their Future
Your child may be starting to figure out their goals and ambitions in life, which can be similar to the idea of making the Olympic Team – like attending a prestigious university, mastering a certain skill, or becoming financially independent. Before they can reach these big goals, they need a plan of action for the micro-steps they will put into practice for the long game. Take some time to think about these questions and discuss them with your child:
- What are their long-term hopes, dreams, and goals? How long will it take them to get there?
- What specific skills, training, and effort will they need to put in to achieve them?
- What is their source of motivation? How can you help them stay focused and motivated?
- What else could you do to support them, and why?
- Do you think your child has utilized their time in school and at home effectively in the past to meet their own goals?
- What changes does your child need to make in their daily habits, attitude, and behavior to make their dreams a reality?
- What challenges might your child face on the path to their goals, and how can they prepare to meet and overcome them?
Middle school is 3 years of your students training program and high school is an additional 4 years. It is important for your child to take their middle school years seriously and to achieve good grades in order to be prepared for the challenges their future presents. Imagine only being invested in training for 4 years instead of 7! Would your child have preferred more time to prepare? Would their results be the same? Would they have to catch up on the ideas and concepts that they missed or even work twice as hard in high school? In the Californian framework (Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards), the curriculum is designed as an upward spiral; topics are revisited from year to year with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning. That is why it is important for students to gain the foundational knowledge in middle school that will help them become more successful in high school and beyond.
What Makes Middle School Grades Really Matter
Students metacognitive abilities are constantly being assessed in school in order for them to become more independent and critical thinkers who can accurately reflect on their own strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and knowledge gained through instruction. Although teachers promote and design instruction that generally focus on higher levels of thinking, students may lack a framework in which to think about themselves. Coaches are prepared to help students’ self-perception by teaching students an executive functioning framework that can help them become more efficient and productive with their time in order to reach their goals and ideal learning outcomes.
Simultaneously, middle school enriches students by aiding them in developing study skills and understanding fundamental concepts in different content areas; all of which will help them do better in high school! Getting good grades in middle school can place them in higher levels of high school classes, which would give your child the opportunity to take AP and college-level classes that help students stand out to colleges and universities that they apply to in the future. High school classes would be easier for them if they can master the ideas they learn from middle school. When you think about it from such a perspective, the question often asked “do middle school grades affect college?” has an immediate answer.
Even though your child may have a vague idea of their identity and who they want to become later in life, it is important as a parent to promote the notion that effort and hard work can get them where and what they want in life. Whatever they want to be when they grow up, it’s important for them to invest their time in middle school as one big training program to help them in their future endeavors. Whether their goal is to become an engineer, scientist, doctor, lawyer, writer, mathematician, marketer, salesman, or artist, it is important for them to learn skills that will help them master time management, planning and prioritization, self-reflection, emotional control, and organization.
There are ways to support your child’s journey through some of the more vital years of their adolescence. Identify the areas needed for growth and get support from your child’s counselors, teachers, and/or instructors here at La Jolla LearningWorks. Engage your child by asking specific questions about their school day, checking to see if they need help with homework, and relating what they are learning to their interests, goals, and ambitions. Try to hold back from putting additional stress on your child, and talk about the challenges they’re facing with a positive mindset, working together to find solutions! Be sure to check in every so often to see how they are progressing. Concentrate on potential problems with a growth mindset and use their strengths to help develop their weaknesses. By doing so, you can help your child become an academic olympian, and really make this school year count!
Need help motivating your child? Here is a tool to help shift their mindset and reach optimum outcomes!
About the Author: Kristopher Arellano is currently earning his M.Ed. in Inspired Teaching and Learning and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Chemistry and Physics. As an aspiring classroom teacher, Kristopher spends his days preparing for his students at La Jolla LearningWorks and designing engaging lessons that are inclusive for all his students no matter their needs. As an instructor, Kristopher promotes self-advocacy, self-reflection, and organization during all his sessions with his students to support them in their learning journey and also to find solutions to become independent and critical thinkers. Kristopher continually approaches teaching and learning with a growth mindset to model positive behaviors to his students! Contact La Jolla LearningWorks to learn more about our educational coaches like Kristopher.